How to Look Good at Work (Without Actually Working)

Working hard and doing a great job are both excellent ways to get ahead at work. But that’s a tough charade to keep up. It’s quite literally hard work.

So if you’re struggling for inspiration or enthusiasm, here are four ways to continue to look good at work, without actually working.

Know the shortcuts and respond rapidly

There’s nothing like an Office shortcut to look like you know what you’re doing. CTRL-Nailed-It. SHIFT-Gone-And-Done-It. It’s like the secret code of productive people.

You can double that impression up with some quick email responses, even if you have nothing to say. Just a few lines straight out of the blocks commending an idea or dropping a few vague lines that suggest you’re on top of it, without committing to anything.

These two skills take some learning, but like riding a bike, will make you go faster.

Look stressed and walk quickly

Try coupling a frown with an occasional curse under your breath to look like you’re taking one for the team. This one’s borrowed from the George Costanza playbook.

The boss can only assume those frustrated facials mean you have your nose to the grindstone. To really drive this team-playing impression home, whenever you get up to ask someone a question or head into a meeting, do so at pace.

You’ll seem like a busy person, and should probably be rewarded as such.


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Fire up the iron and arrive early

If you look like you can do anything, the boss will assume you can, so make the effort to appear prepared. That means getting the iron out each morning and arriving early.

This sort of profile polishing is the single best way to establish a sharp image and instil confidence that you’re the man for the job. And by simply being well presented and at the office, you’re more likely to get invited into easy meetings and make opportunistic greetings.

You don’t even need to do anything once you’re dressed and on deck, it’s that good a move.

Drop a few facts and pump up tyres

You look intelligent when you speak with confidence, even more so if what you say is relevant and true. So spend five minutes a day perusing the industry news so you can drop a few timely facts.

Your colleagues will regard you as a valuable resource and the boss will want to engage you in high level conversations, which are both good news for your future employment.

It’ll be made even better if you maintain some modesty and spend the rest of your day highlighting the good work of others. This way you’ll look smart and be a pleasure to be around, so get the pump out and keep it positive.

Make these four tricks part of your everyday performance, and you’ll soon forget what hard work looks like.