When the cat is away the mice will play.
This famous saying suggests that when a person in authority is not present, the people under his rule will enjoy their freedom. However; this should not be the case. The employee should be relied upon to get work done that was assigned as well as conduct themselves professionally and with dignity. “Farting Around”, should not occur. There is always something to be done in every organization. Push a broom, re-index a database, setup a new help desk system, sort papers, refill the toner in a printer. Even researching a new technology or idea can be beneficial.
We as paid workers with self worth, should be keeping a log when the boss is away of our daily activities. This log should include all interruptions, lunch, breaks, and tasks. Do not spend a lot of time, but spend enough time to make yourself look productive. The activity log could be in the form of a blog or a text file and should be easily printed in a readable format.
There is two main reasons for the log. It keeps you as the employee focused on activities that require your focus and it keeps the bosses informed.
If done on a daily basis it can show the boss weakness and strengths in the team that he/she is responsible for. It can help allocate tasks to those who are best suited for the task. It can also point out where time is being spent, which can be either allocated to someone else or reviewed closer. It is mostly about following trends in the logs in which we can extrapolate productivity value.
For the employee, it should be considered a review of one’s self worth within the organization. Even if the boss never sees it; review it yourself and see what you have done. I would bet you have been doing more than you had thought. Often it can be used to improve your resume, your feeling about the work you can do. I know myself I sometimes think I should have gotten things done faster, but in review of my day, it makes sense why I did not.
I believe every employee should want to do this at least on a part time bases, and every boss should want to have the ability to review the work logs weekly of their employees.