Are workers working or just foolin’ you?

Employees do the darnedest things to impress you. Most times, they do real work. Other times it’s feigned. The trick is to know the difference.

Hey, it’s competitive out on that office floor, and workers are looking for promotions and raises, and trying to avoid more work dumped on them.

Here are several tactics workers tell me they use to make their bosses and their co-workers believe they’re packed with Evereadys:

Walk fast with file folder. Going to see Tim down the hall to rub in the beating his fantasy football team got over the weekend? Grab a file, stuff it with random paper and pick up your gait as you head to find Tim. “Important meeting,” co-workers think.

Generate an email over the weekend. “Got some thoughts on that project,” you email your boss and cc six other co-workers on a Saturday afternoon while you’re browsing in Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Let’s talk Monday.” Wow! Seven birds with one send.

Arrive at work seven minutes before anyone else. Just enough time to flip on your desk lamp, boot the PC and look settled in. It’s an illusion. From co-workers’ perspectives, you were there a lot earlier. You come across as industrious for just a 35-minute investment per week.

Bring your laptop to the office in a nifty shoulder bag. With all the “work” you do, you need two screens. Heck, it looks like you’re interfacing the work you did at home with what you do in the office. In reality, there’s nothing on that second screen you need. It works. The shoulder bag? Nothing but theater on the way out the door. It’s strung over one shoulder to suggest I’m not done working tonight; no way! Too much to do!

Schedule a meeting. Use the handy Outlook meeting scheduler to round up a few of your co-workers to go over the progress of something, anything. It needn’t be long. The important thing is you called it. Productive and team-oriented people call meetings.

Complain that you’re not feeling well. “I’ve got a whopper of a headache and I’m feeling chilled,” you lie to several co-workers plus your boss toward the end of the day. But then tomorrow you come in.

Seven minutes early.