Say you need to step out of work for twenty minutes and catch a quick smoke break, but your coworkers aren’t exactly the type that can appreciate you’ve got something righteously dank stashed away, waiting to be smoked. Your approach is everything. By making a plan (or really, just going for it) you can step out of work for a few—and have a tight alibi, if anyone notices.
The Stealth Approach
This is so sneaky they’ll never see it coming. Have a clean-cut friend show up at your work with “just a few questions about your whereabouts on January 17th.” You’ll obviously need some privacy for your “interrogation.” When you return, feel free to act somber and sport a pair of sunglasses. Your neighbor hasn’t been seen in a few weeks and people are starting to ask questions. Chances are one of your neighbors is a shut-in anyway, so bonus points for not exactly lying.
Create a Scene
Look. I’m not telling you to pull the fire alarm (don’t do that) but you know the sort of thing that might get your office in an uproar. Maybe you had to bring your kid’s class pet to work, for instance. Pick something that will cause a stir, but stop short of evacuating the building. Conveniently at 4:10, the animal escapes. In the scramble to find the reptile or whatever, you can step out for a few. When you return, triumphantly waving a paper sack and exclaiming that everything is under control, you’ll hear a collective sigh. You’ve given the office something exciting to talk about and bought yourself a few minutes to step out. If someone asks to see the pet, just tell them that “it’s had enough excitement for one day.” Bonus points for saving the day, and being the kind of parent that takes care of the classroom pet.
If you’re ok with a little strategic vandalism, then this next one is for you. Find that one weird item that’s absolutely necessary for your workspace, but so small and random that there isn’t a backup stashed away. Then apply just enough (too much) pressure. Oops! You feel terrible and won’t hear having someone else race out to the supply store. You insist. Head out to buy a metric temperature gauge and take the scenic route. When you return with the appropriate widget, you can effectively encourage them to ignore you by waving a receipt around for $0.47 and asking about being reimbursed. Bonus points if you bought a backup just so you can pull this trick again in a week or two.
Creating a plan to steal twenty minutes can take the whole morning, but for that precious bit of free time, it’s worth it. Identifying that perfect window of time is all you need to slip under the laser beams and step out for a few. Try to set up a few distractions. Crank the thermostat up, intentionally jam the printer, mention that you saw someone’s ex in the parking lot. Then drop some donuts in a communal space and spread the word on your way out the side exit. Leave a few decoy donut crumbs on your desk. If anyone asks, you were there the whole time. Bonus points for having munchies on deck when you return.
Even with nosey coworkers keeping tabs on your every move, you should be able to pull any of the above off without breaking a sweat. Have your piece packed and ready to go, and stash an edible in your bag just in case your plan fails miserably. Happy planning!