We’ve put some distance between us and the September 2008 financial crisis, but unemployment – and tension the workplace – is still high. There’s plenty of anxiety over whether people appear to be working hard enough, because it’s safe to assume that the budgets being allocated or raises and bonuses are unlikely to be generous. So, in the quest to appear productive, employees need more tools. Thankfully, we have social media: use it wisely, and you can look wholly dedicated to your company and your job while you’re on vacation.
The trick, of course, is to look productive. Work through your vacation, and you give up an opportunity to relax … and risk annoying the friends or family traveling with you. I’ve written about tools you can use to look like you’re working even when you’re not, but the proliferation of social media options gives you new ways to snow your boss.1. Plan your lies
While you’re waiting at the gate or sitting on the plane, write out the tweets and Facebook status updates that make it look like you’re thinking about the office. Use brief mentions of activities that could look like work, such as “Taking quick look @ document before heading to pool”. Write enough so you have three or four a day (you don’t want to overdo it).
2. Schedule your tweets and status updates
Since you don’t want to give up vacation time to even the appearance of working, schedule your tweets and Facebook status updates. HootSuite’s my favorite, but there are other tools you can use, as well. I prefer HootSuite because I can hit Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from the same place and schedule updates for each. Twitter may say you’re “taking quick look @ contract” but you’ll really be sipping something delightful on the sand.
3. “Favorite” tweets for @replying or retweeting later
Unfortunately, this requires that you actually do something while you’re on vacation, but it’s not as hard as it sounds (as long as you use a smartphone). While you’re waiting in line or running off to the bathroom, use a Twitter application (I use UberTwitter) to scan your stream and see if there is anything work- or business-related that you can retweet. Do some immediately, but mark most of the interesting tweets as favorites. When you get back to your hotel room, schedule the retweets over time, so it looks like you’re continually thinking about work.
4. Check in (with the office, that is)
Again, you can’t schedule this sort of behavior, but you can still fake it. During your flurries of @ replying and retweeting, dash off a few direct messages to key people at the office (peers are better than bosses, because I will seem more like real work) just to see how things are going and if anybody needs some help. The only risk is that you could get dragged into a conversation (or worse) if someone really does need a hnd.
5. Hire a helper
Find an unemployed liberal arts grad who’s willing to tweet and post for you for a few days. Pay him or her with access to your garage while you’re out of town and a hot meal when you get back. Hire a psych or philosophy major, and you can probably get away with cold pizza.