WORKPLACE / SEP. 06, 2015
version 11, draft 11

What Do You Do When the Internet is Down at Work?

It’s 2:15 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon and the Internet has shut down. Don’t panic! The IT department is working hard to ensure you return to your normal routine and complete your assignments for the day. You roll your eyes when you’re assured by your supervisor you won’t be heading home two or three hours earlier. Oh great! 

See Also5 Ways the Internet Could Be Killing You 

Although you have the hope that the office will close for the remainder of the day, in most cases the IT guys are quick to resolve the outage. Due to this incredible confidence in the tech department, you will still be sitting at your desk waiting to be instructed on what to do or staring at the clock daydreaming. 

Between now and 5 p.m., you will have to do something other than browse the Internet. Perhaps you will have to do the unthinkable: talk to your colleagues. Or worse, stand up from your chair. But don’t worry! There are plenty of things to do at the office when you’re offline; some of them fun, while some of them are, well, not so fun. Whatever you do, don’t panic. Sit back, take a deep breath and realize you’ll be able to access Facebook at home in a few hours. 

Here are 10 things you can do when the Internet is down at work: 

1. Embrace Your Creative Side

Creative woman

Here’s a question: when was the last time you embraced your creative side? Back in high school, you’d write poetry about the guy or gal you were infatuated with. During your college days, you’d draw sketches making fun of your professors. Or in your spare time, you would write plays about your life (that sucked but wrote them anyway).

When the Internet is down, you can take advantage of the free time and start to draw, sketch, write or any other creative, artistic endeavor. We all know you won’t do this when you get home because Netflix is waiting for you, so embrace this opportunity.

2. Drink (More) Coffee

Too much caffeine
Shutterstock

Have you already had four cups of coffee since you arrived at the office a few hours ago? Well, why not have another? You’re going to have to stay awake anyway considering that you’re about to have that 2 o’clock feeling soon. Besides, think about all of the health benefits of coffee consumption, besides excessive gabbing and being hyper! 

3. Start a Conversation With Your Co-Workers

Chatting by the water cooler
istock

In today’s office landscape, we often don’t communicate with our colleagues. It can sometimes be like a morgue at the office. How come we don’t talk with each other? We have emails, Facebook, instant messengers, smartphones, tablets and any other device that takes away from physical and verbal communication. 

With the Internet being down, go up to some of your co-workers and initiate a conversation. It doesn’t matter what the topic is; it can be about work, movies, books, current events, coffee and anything else. This could turn into quality time for you and your co-workers to catch up. 

4. Read a Newspaper, Document or Any Piece of Paper

Thanks to tablets and the Internet, it’s quite rare people read a physical copy of a newspaper or skim through office documents. As a matter of fact, we hardly even touch pieces of paper anymore (which is good for the trees). However, without the Internet, this is a prime opportunity to actually touch a paper - any type of paper - and read a newspaper, document, magazine or any other kind of reading material. 

5. Clean and Organize Your Workstation

If your cubicle, office or workstation is a warzone then take the next few minutes to clean it up, organize and disinfect it. Nobody likes to see coffee stains on desks, nobody likes to smell foul odors and nobody likes to touch a keyboard that hasn’t been cleaned since the George W. Bush administration. You’ll feel better after this, trust me.

6. Clean and Organize Your Computer

clean workstation
myinkblog

Are you finished cleaning your work area? Well, why not take the time to clean and organize your computer? Over the days, weeks, months and years, our computer compiles more garbage than an election campaign trail. Our computers have useless documents, pornographic images (you thought that was a secret?) and unnecessary applications that are just taking up valuable storage on your computer. 

7. Perform a Workout Session

Here’s a bit of advice: if you’re starting to feel like a vegetable then it’s because you are probably are, so get up and stretch. Sitting at work can be as bad as six hours of binge-watching, due to the fact that your legs are not getting any sort of circulation. Now, you don’t have to workout like Richard Simmons or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, but stretching, walking around and relaxing your muscles are imperative to a healthy career. 

8. Make a to-do List for Tomorrow

disorganized person
shutterstock

So, it’s 4:30 p.m. - 30 minutes before you make your triumphant exit - and there still isn’t any Internet? With this final bit of time, create a to-do list for the coming day. Write down what tasks you have to complete, what phone calls you have to make, what emails you have to send out and the list will likely go on. This to-do list will prove very valuable tomorrow. 

Oh wait...the Internet is back on? But you’re leaving in 20 minutes!Noooo! 

9. Improve Your Handwriting

Akin to embracing your creative element and touching paper, perhaps you should grab that pen and paper and start to write things down. How come? In this time of just using a keyboard, your handwriting has likely become very poor. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. For the next little while, just write down anything so you can get the hang of writing with your hand again. 

10. Learn, Learn and Learn

Finally, spend your moments not working on the Internet to learn something new. Remember, you don’t need a website or a mobile app to learn a new skill or knowledge. You can easily purchase a book to help you understand something new. For instance, you can still buy those "Dummies Guides" books to learn about computer programming, Egyptian history, psychoanalysis and anything else. Free downtime will equal an investment in education. 

See AlsoIs the Internet Destroying Our Intellect? 

The normal will return tomorrow. You don’t have to worry about that. Just as the sun rises and coffee is brewed,  the Internet will come back online and you can complete the necessary work, or just browse around social media and play vintage Nintendo games- you can do anything you want, I am not your boss.

This should serve as a reminder that it is still important to have tasks to complete offline at the office. Despite the prevalence of the Internet, BYOD and Wi-Fi, offices should be prepared for online outages so things should still get done in the event of downtime- because the work will have to get done sometime and nobody wants to stay until 8 p.m. or work a Saturday to play catch up.

What’s unfortunate is that we have become so addicted to the Internet that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves should such a scenario unfold. 

What do you do when the Internet is down at work? Let us know in the comments section below... 

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