June 3rd 2013 | Comments

How to waste time in the office

At some stage in his life, the aspiring gentleman may find himself employed in the most soul-crushing and mentally sapping pursuit ever devised by the human species – working in an office.

You may console yourself that this may only be a temporary state of affairs as you progress toward your true calling of gentleman adventurer, Guards officer, or lion tamer. This, however, does not address the immediate need, which is to pass the time as quickly and painlessly as possible with the minimum effort.

waste time in the office

The true gentleman or gentlewoman does not defraud their employer (unless his employer is involved in illegal activity himself, then fill your boots), so the onus is on you to ensure that your duties are fulfilled with all due diligence and accuracy. Once these first fifteen minutes of your working day are complete, there is the problem of how to fill the other eight hours without being caught lolly-gagging.

In our long experience of working in Her Majesty’s Civil Service (it was only five months, but it appeared to last decades) we have perfected these work avoidance schemes:

1. Look out of the window. There’s an old civil service joke that goes “Why don’t civil servants look out of the windows in the morning? To give them something to do in the afternoon.” Our office overlooked a car park, and we spent fruitful afternoons graphing which were the most popular colours. It was blue. We worked for the Ministry of Agriculture.

2. Toilet breaks. You can spend hours on the toilet, but beware the rustling of the newspaper, or snoring. Other dangers include leaving a big red circle on your bottom from the seat.

3. Visit the “other office”. If your organisation is based in more than one building, take advantage of this fact to do a bit of shopping. Smart workers will arrange an exchange scheme with an employee on the other site, so you can take turns to visit each other. Eventually you will marry, and after twenty or so years, get a divorce.

4. Hold a meeting. Meetings are the biggest time-waster in the history of the planet, so it is your duty to hold these as often as possible. Make sure that people have plenty to do, so bring in games.

5. Surf the internet. Odds are that you are a bored office employee reading this during working hours. Well done. Don’t get caught.

6. Cigarette breaks. Falling out of fashion now it has emerged that smoking can actually kill you TO DEATH. Non-smokers dislike the fact that their nicotine-stained colleagues get to spend hours of their day puffing in a clapped out and reeking old bus shelter when they should be working. Convince your boss that as a former smoker yourself, you need to stand outside for an hour every day as part of your rehab.

7. Make tea. In Tom Baker’s autobiography he revealed his mother would drink 33 cups of tea every day “One for each year of Jesus’s life”. The lightweight. If you are not constantly making tea, you should be in the nearby convenience store buying tea supplies and biscuits and cake, otherwise you are doing it wrong.

8. Lunch break. From 11am to 3pm.

We think that covers all the bases. Good luck in your future career!