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How to Make It Look Like You're Working From Home (When You're Actually ⛱️🍻🚵‍♂️ 🛌)

How to Make It Look Like You're Working From Home (When You're Actually ⛱️🍻🚵‍♂️ 🛌)

If you are reading this, you've likely embraced the digital nomad lifestyle and are a remote worker. Perhaps you're work remotely from a warm country halfway across the world and have decided that the beach is calling you today, or maybe you are working from an unforgiving timezone and just need a few extra hours of sleep.

Whatever your reason, this brief guide will teach you how to make it look like you're engaged in work from home when you are actually doing remotely anything but working.

Tip 1: Always Keep Slack Active

The biggest tip you need to hear that unites all of us remote workers is learning how to keep Slack active (or whatever messaging app you use), ensuring your slack active status doesn't give away your absence.

So let's go into a few cases and ways to keep Slack always active.

Note: these tricks are all made for those that use Apple products

Case 1 (Easy): I want to go to the beach for the day and just need my Slack to stay active

If you are trying to figure out the easiest way of how to look busy at work while doing nothing, this solution is the simplest and most fool-proof, and all it requires is having Slack installed on your iPhone to keep slack always active.

1) Make sure your phone does not auto-lock

The first order of business is to adjust the screen timeout settings to turn off the screen lock on an iPhone.

Be careful with this trick, as if you are not careful with your phone screen, and it gets stolen in this unlocked state, all of your data will be accessible. I would recommend turning on auto-lock after each time you do this trick.

You can follow the steps in the screenshots on your iPhone to disable the lock screen:

An iPhone search bar within the 'Settings' app, displaying 'Display & Brightness' among the search results, for articles on tweaking display settings while 'pretending to work'

Head to Display & Brightness in your settings

Settings menu on an iPhone highlighting 'Auto-Lock' set to 'Never' in the 'Display & Brightness' section, showcasing how to disable automatic screen lock. Suitable for articles about staying online while 'pretending to work.'

Scroll down to Auto-Lock

Screenshot of an iPhone Auto-Lock setting screen, with 'Never' selected, preventing the phone from locking automatically. Perfect for online content on how to keep your device on while 'pretending to work.'

Select Never

2) Open Slack

Now just open the Slack app and leave it open for the duration of how long you need to be online. By doing so, you'll ensure that Slack always stays active on your phone, without the need for scrolling or any other interaction.

If you do leave the app, you will no longer be set as active, so try not to use your mobile app so much while you're enjoying the beach 😉. Alternatively, have another cheap phone handy that is solely for this purpose, and you can just leave at home.

Case 2 (More Difficult): I am working from a weird timezone and need Slack to auto-open, so I can sleep a few hours longer. Discover how to keep Slack always active on desktop, even when working across time zones.

Let's say you work remotely and your job is in Europe, but you are in Mexico, escaping the brutal winters. You are working on European timezones, but do not want to wake up in the middle of the night to get online. You want to sleep a few more hours and have Slack auto-open and stay active.

Well you could just set an alarm at an ungodly hour and do the trick from Case 1 and then fall back to sleep, but if you'd rather not disturb your sleep, here's how to keep Slack active all the time by preparing the night before you lie in:

1) Download the Amphetamine app and turn it on

Amphetamine, a cleverly named desktop app, can keep Slack active on your Mac for whatever specified amount of time you need. You can download it from the App Store.

After it is downloaded, and you go through the installation instructions and have opened it, you should have it up in the top toolbar.

Click the little pill and choose 'Indefinitely' to keep your screen on indefinitely (overnight in your case).

A dropdown menu from the 'Amphetamine' app showing options for 'Start New Session' with 'Indefinitely' selected, surrounded by other options like 'Minutes,' 'Hours,' and 'Quick Settings.' Ideal for blog posts discussing productivity hacks with a humorous twist on 'pretending to work.'

2) Create a Calendar event to open Slack automatically

Now you need to open that probably underused desktop Calendar app native to Apple products and use it for its greatest power: to automatically launch an app based on a time you give it.

  1. From Calendar in Mac OS X, create a new event.

You will want this to be at the time you are supposed to start work (i.e. European 9 am in the example above)

A light blue event block titled 'New Event' scheduled from 2:00 AM on a calendar view for January 2, 2024—ideal for demonstrating scheduling functionality in time management apps.
  1. Select the time on the right panel to open the Alerts menu
Simplified event creation screen in an iCal app with the date 'Tuesday 2 Jan' and a time slot from '02:00 to 03:00' highlighted—great for content focusing on basic event scheduling.

You can also change the time of the event here. Usually it automatically makes it one hour, but that is a bit irrelevant when opening up an app, so feel free to keep it to an hour's length.

  1. Set 'repeat' to 'Every Day' if you want to make this happen on a daily basis
Dropdown menu within an event detail in iCal showing 'None' checked with options including 'Every Day' in red, indicating a selection for repeating an event—excellent for tutorials on setting recurring events.
  1. Configure the 'alert' section to trigger the opening of Slack at this time

Select 'Open file'

Alert customization menu in an iCal event showing 'Open file' selected with other options including 'Email' and 'Message with sound'—useful for articles on customizing event notifications.

Select 'other'

Custom alert settings window for an iCal event showing options for opening a file, with 'Other...' highlighted in red for setting a custom alert time—perfect for posts on advanced event notification settings.

Choose Slack in Finder

Custom alert dialog box with 'Slack' pre-selected and a field to set a reminder '15 minutes before' the event—ideal for demonstrating integration between calendar and communication platforms.

Choose 'At time of event' and click 'OK' - This will launch Slack at the start of the event, effectively showing you how to keep your Slack status active.

Custom alert dialog in an iCal event showing an open file action linked to Slack, with 'At time of event' highlighted in red as the selected alert time—ideal for demonstrating alert options in tutorials on calendar event notifications.

Feel free to test out this flow using a time you are awake to make sure it works.

3) Keep Slack active

The problem with desktop Slack is that after 10 minutes, it will go inactive, so you need to learn how to keep Slack online by finding something to keep your cursor moving.

If you have an optical mouse with a laser, you could use an undetectable mouse jiggler to solve the issue.

Alternatively, you could use an app like Jiggler to keep your slack desktop app active, although this is a bit more possible to detect if your employer got incredibly nosy 🐽, which they probably won't be.

Tip 2: Occasionally interact on Slack

If you are really trying to make it seem like you are an overachiever and stay active on Slack, pop into your already active slack sometimes and interact.

You can do this by:

  1. Adding slackmojis to public messages in channels. Everyone loves a good emoji.

  2. Scheduling messages to be delivered at certain times.

Rather than needing to send messages now, schedule them throughout the day to keep your Slack status active, so that it seems like you are consistently working rather than just sipping cocktails or hiking a mountain -- which are obviously way better activities.

You can do this easily using the screenshot as guidance below:

Screenshot of a Slack 'Schedule message' modal window showing options to set the date for 'Today' and the time at '11:30 PM' with buttons for 'Cancel' and 'Schedule Message'—suitable for illustrating features in articles about workplace communication tools.

I prefer to select random times like 11:32, as it seems more genuine.

Of course, this guide only covers keeping Slack active in the end, but it is a remote work hack many of us remote workers have to deal with when you need to know how to make it look like you’re working from home when you are actually doing something much better.

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