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1. Email is your savior.
"Faking office work is all about crafting the illusion of a digital presence," writes Amanda Hess at Slate. "Maintain a green Gmail dot and a permanent residence in the office chat room, and it doesn’t matter if you're fielding chats from the desktop or the local dive. Install the Google Hangouts app on your phone (or the Campfire app, if that's how your office spitballs), then choose your poison."
Hess also suggests setting up a few automated emails to go out at regular intervals during the day, to make it look like you're hard at work. Just make sure you're not too specific about your messages: you don't want to ask a question that's been answered earlier in the day, or refer to a policy that's been changed at the last minute.
2. Turn up the volume.
If you're near your computer, but not on it, make sure your messenger system of choice is turned way, way up. We know someone who used to be able to get away with taking two-hour naps during work-at-home days, because he'd trained himself to awake immediately upon hearing his message alert go off.
3. Don't go too far.
Your scam is over if you can't hop to it when an actual response is required. While many questions can be answered on your smartphone, anything that requires actually being able to access your work systems will probably require a full-sized screen and perhaps more secure access than your phone can offer. Don't count on being able to fake a full day of work without access to your computer.
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