What to do When There’s Nothing to Do at Work

Bored young businesswoman pulling a face and pouting as she rests her chin on her hands and peers over her computer at the camera

Lulls in work happen from time to time, but it’s hard to keep momentum when they do. It’s very tempting to start lollygagging and stop doing your work, especially if you’re experiencing technical difficulties or other roadblocks. However, this can make you not want to go back to work and can come across to some employers as unprofessional. A body in motion stays in motion, so here are some activities you can do to keep your mind on track and set you apart from your coworkers.


Double Check All Your Work is Done

When you’ve finished your work, you need to be 100% sure your work is done. Make sure all your reports are in, your data has been entered, your voicemail has been emptied, your inbox has no emails needing attention, that sort of thing. If systems are down, then everything else should be done to the best of your ability. You want to exhaust all your options before you start diverting from your duties.


Clean Your Workspace

Whether you have a desk, cubicle, or office, breaks in work can be a great opportunity to clean up your space. From disposing of old, unneeded documents, clearing out your drawers of any trash, organizing your food stash (if you have one), it’s an easy way to keep busy. And keeping a clean and organized space can help you be more focused and productive. So not only does it keep you focused while on the clock, but it benefits you in the long run.


Ask for More Responsibilities

If you have no work, you can always ask for work, whether that be new responsibilities or to assist others with their work. This shows you are a go-getter and are willing to go above and beyond. However, don’t ask for too much extra work or else you won’t be able to do your own. It’s good to help, but don’t help so much you start working outside of your pay grade. That is, unless they give you a raise (wink wink).


Meet with Coworkers and Project Managers

If work is done in the office, you might as well spend some time with your coworkers. Use this time to get more insight into what needs to be done in the office, discuss details of current projects, or brainstorm new ones. Keeping on top of office affairs distinguishes you as a dependable and engaged employee, and shows you are ready for more responsibilities.


Read Up on your Industry

When all else fails, read up on your industry. Whether that be through scientific journals, business magazines, or trade blogs, you can take this opportunity to learn what is happening in your field. This can help you refuel your creative juices and give you ideas on what to do next. Or, if you’re currently working on a proposal or a project, this could give you some extra information you’d need for a presentation.


Downtime normally contains itself in short bursts, but occasionally it can last for hours at a time. Finding something to do during those long stretches can become quite an undertaking. Sitting around being bored is an option, but usually not anyone’s first choice for killing time. Besides, keeping busy keeps the ball rolling, and it helps you stand out from the crowd.


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