I think that thumb and fore-finger are the two most used fingers on keyboard – especially of those who indulge in moonlighting or activities not intended to be carried out during office timings. Don’t you switch the screen to Outlook or some meaningful screen when you are playing games or updating resume or buying/selling shares online at office and someone passes by? You would have possibly planned what that ‘meaningful screen’ would be. The moment someone passes by, your fore-finger and thumb perform this impromptu activity! I wonder if fingers of such people grow muscles on them by doing this work out! Perhaps, after a while, the only keys that would work on his keyboard would be Alt and Tab:-). Is yours an Alt+Taber personality? Read on to find out…
I have observed this in almost all organizations and wonder why people work on things that they are not supposed to during office hours. You pass an aisle and you can hear the thumbs and fore-fingers working out instantly, the screens being switched and the folks pretending to wear a fake workaholic expression on face.
I think that such people display a downgraded productivity since they are not able to focus properly on the work. First, it gets difficult to think of the work when a thought of ‘other’ work is on the mind. Secondly, such people are more tuned to avoid getting caught rather than focussing on work. Net result? They end up doing a poor job on both the activities. Also, as a side effect, since other people do understand that the screen has been switched, they find these Alt+Tab people as less trustworthy.
One also finds similar category of folks on conference calls. They would have put their phone on mute and would be carrying on activities/tasks not related with the call topic. When asked with a question, the standard response is – “I am sorry, can you repeat the question again?”. The more standard shameless response from those people without understanding the context is “Yes, I agree” 🙂
Off late, in the smart phone era, one could also find the Alt+Tab folks grossly engaged on their mobiles either unnecessarily replying to a mail or playing games during an important conversation. There goes a joke – What if you are in a group and have held your head high while rest of them have their heads down? Simple, you don’t have a Blackberry or an iPhone!
I understand that some organizations have managers to work in open cubicles rather than closed cabins/offices. It becomes slightly difficult to keep working on confidential data during appraisals. Yes, switching screens is indeed meaningful in those scenarios. However, I think that one must not be a regular Alt+Taber as most of the time is spent on keeping your screens hidden than working.
Switch to productivity, not to stares of disgruntled colleagues by avoiding unnecessary switching of screens!