So, Are You Working This Week?

Steve Boese Audacious Ideas, HR, Steve Boese

Last week on Friday was possibly the slowest official work day I think I have had in 2015.

I think I had one meeting, took maybe one call, and received probably the fewest number of emails in a day since the end-of-year holidays. It was refreshing and kind of unnerving at the same time.

Why was it so quiet? Am I missing out on something important? And more than that, I wondered to myself if I shouldn’t be making more of all of this “free” time that I really wasn’t anticipating,

I am writing this on a Sunday, so I am sort of guessing here, and quite possibly might be mistaken, but it seems to me like this week—the week that leads up to the Labor Day holiday in the US—might be the slowest week in terms of activity and productivity in most workplaces, short of that no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Everyone is out. Everyone is on vacation or tied up with getting kids prepped for school or just trying to push off the “OMG, the end of the year is bearing down and I have so much still to get done” feeling for a few more days.

So to sum up, I think this week is going to be the nicer weather version of that holiday week when only the lowest folks on the totem pole (or the ones who smartly took their holidays in the summer) are in the office, much less getting anything done. But if you are actually on the grind this week, what’s the best advice for getting the most out of it, or, for taking a week off while you still have to work?

Here are three quick ideas:

  1. Bring some “surprise” donuts or bagels or, if you work in the kind of workplace where this is acceptable, some beers. So even though it may seem like it, you are probably not the only sucker in the office this week. These people are also suckers, but they are also your potential allies and co-conspirators. And the best way to win over anyone in any kind of workplace is via free food. So surprise the crew one day with some nosh… could be bagels, donuts, or anything really. The key is it won’t cost you that much since there are not that many folks around and you will need the support of these people come Friday when you pull a “never-came-back-from-lunch” move to get Labor Day weekend started early. No one will blow you in if you just dropped some free grub on them the day before.
  1. Send two emails to the “right” people this week—one early, and one late. If you are actually working you have to, you know, at least fake some actual work. And the best way to do that is through some strategically-timed-but-completely-non-committal-in-terms-of-actually-doing-anything emails. There are only two keys to remember here. One, make sure a few of the “right” people are copied on these emails (your boss, their boss, the boss in the other department you are trying to impress). And two, that you send at least one of them very early in the morning, like 7:20AM, and one after hours… something like 9:15 should do. This shows while everyone else was out trying to see Straight Outta Compton before the end of summer, you were actually holding down whatever it is people expect you to hold down back at work.
  1. Get your resume/LinkedIn profile topped off for the 4th quarter. Look, grinding it out on this last week of summer when the rest of the office is getting their tans on might be the very last straw for you. If all of the “important” people are off who knows where and you are still sweating and making it to your desk by 8:30AM today then it very well might be time for a reevaluation. And this is the best time for that. You can spend some quality time doctoring up some recent “accomplishments;” make sure (however one does this) your LinkedIn profile is up to speed, and get ready to hit the post Labor Day period hard—ready for whatever comes next. Whatever you end up doing, one thing’s for sure: You don’t want to be the lone loser in the office on December 26 – 31 this year, right?

Have fun this week. Try and keep out of trouble if you can. And squeeze in just a little bit of time in the sun if you can.