As we enter the dog days of summer, things in your office may seem to be markedly slowing down a bit as many of your coworkers begin drifting away – physically and mentally – to long planned summer vacations. Even on days when the office is fully staffed, there may be times when you’re on a roll and you zoom through all the work that’s been assigned to you that day – so effectively, in fact, that you still have time on the clock.
But before you’re tempted to pull out your phone and update your Facebook status or Snapchat your summer crush – and in the process risk earning the ill favor of your boss and coworkers, take a moment to regroup and consider these do’s and don’ts that will help you make the most of your downtime.
It’s there. In your pocket or on your desk. And there’s that little voice in your head saying, “What’s the harm if I quickly check my feed?” In fact, there’s real risk here. Even if you are done with your work, having someone catch you on your phone makes you look very unprofessional. Remember, you’re still on work time. So save things that should be done on your time for when you’re off the clock (lunch is a good time to check your status/feed). To help resist this temptation, consider turning it off and putting it you bag.
If you make the executive decision to head early because you think you’re all finished for the day, this isn’t likely to endear you to your supervisor. In response, your boss may ask you to double-check your work or task you will tidying up the copy room or other busy work. Remember, that this a j-o-b and that you made a commitment to be your workplace for a certain amount of time. Honor that commitment. Not only will this show your coworkers and boss that you’re dependable but it’s also great experience for the “real” job world and will help show future employers that you meet your responsibilities.
You may have completed your tasks for the day but your neighbor in the adjoining cubicle might still be up to her neck in deadlines. So, while it may be fun to chat with your colleagues and blow off a little steam, make sure you aren’t distracting them from doing their work. Also, you don’t want to be caught chatting about your latest Netflix binge as your supervisor comes by. Even though your desk may be clear, they might assume your slacking off, a label you definitely don’t want.
You landed this internship based on your skills and drive. So, if you’ve completed your tasks for the day, think about other things that could be done – for example task that may be slated for later in the week – and then take the initiative and start doing them. You may also consider reaching out to others in your department to see if anyone needs help with projects or other assistance. By grabbing the bull by the horns, you’ll likely get earn the good graces of your supervisor and coworkers which will help you get an excellent recommendation when the internship wraps up.
Pour over your organization’s website, social media channels, and reports. Do a little digging and figure out who is your company following on Twitter/friending on Facebook and who, in turn, is following/friending them. Begin following any relevant organizations or people who they follow. Additionally, look at how they interact with their followers on these sites and how frequently they post. Also, read your organization’s annual report, strategic plan, and any other relevant articles and documents that will allow you to knowledgeably contribute to “the big” conversations with coworkers and supervisor.
When you find yourself with a lull in the action, this is a great time to enhance or learn new skills that could be put to use by your current and future employers. From YouTube to Lynda.com to Udemy, there’s a universe of instructional sites online where you learn everything from web design to video editing to search engine optimization. By immersing yourself and becoming an expert in Excel, for example, you’ll not only be positioned to take on new duties at your job but you’ve also added a new bullet to your resume.