Intern ‘pretends’ to work sparks productivity debate

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An intern’s viral video of looking busy when she has no work to do has sparked a debate among commentators about online productivity.

The video, which has amassed over a million views, was posted by TikTok user @leciakeys21. Viewers responded, and while some wrote that she should look for more work, others wrote that they were in the same position and found themselves with no work to do.

A study compiled by Zippia in April found that only 7% of employees feel they are productive in their workplace.

“Which correlates to employees only being productive for an average of 2 hours and 53 minutes per day,” the organization’s article states. “It’s likely that most employees feel unproductive because they spend the majority of their workday distracted.”

If an employee is distracted, Zippia reported that it takes about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus.

A TikTok video of a woman explaining how she had to pretend to work until given tasks to complete has gone viral and sparked a conversation among commenters about productivity.
jacoblund/iStock

In her video, @leciakeys21 is seen typing on her computer.

“Me pretending to work on my internship because they haven’t given me enough to do yet,” the text of the video reads.

@leciakeys21 said Newsweek in an email that she recently started working on as part of her marketing strategy internship last month and filmed the video on a slower work day.

“I’ve never really had a problem with work since I’ve only been there a week and my boss has been very transparent in telling me that she knows I don’t have much to do yet but that ‘they were working behind the scenes for my project,” @leciakeys21 explained. “I had a moment of boredom and decided to create a TikTok, not knowing it would explode so much!”

This isn’t her first internship, and @leciakeys21 said her previous internship was similar in that she had more downtime in the first two weeks.

TikTokers weigh in

Some viewers encouraged @leciakeys21 to ask for work to be done.

“They hope [you] be proactive and keep asking for tasks,” one viewer wrote.

“Girl, make sure they teach you stuff or you’re gonna be sitting in your cube all summer,” another commented. “Trust me.”

@leciakeys21 replied and noted that she just started her internship this week and said she thought she would have more work to do.

However, many viewers shared that they were in a similar position.

“TikTok knows I’m at my desk [right now] do this,” wrote one viewer.

“Just click tabs repeatedly until the right time to tell them I’m done,” another commented.

A viewer shared that they decided to return to waitressing after working in an office, claiming that time passed too slowly and they were bored.

Some wrote that @leciakeys21 should take advantage of the downtime while she can.

“I’m really enjoying it because it’s only slowly but surely picking up,” one commented.

The LinkedIn-verified TikTok account even commented on the video, writing that @leciakeys21 should, “Cherish this time.”

After reading the comments, @leciakeys21 said she thought a lot of them were funny and noticed others found the video “relatable”.

“I thought the amount of career advice in the comments was hilarious,” she said.

Other Viral Moments

Other people online shared their work experiences in viral posts.

A woman took to TikTok last month to discuss her frustration at a job interview in which she said the interviewer told her she wanted to hire someone who is motivated by more than just ‘silver.

Meanwhile, in late May, a man received support from other Reddit users after he said he refused to train the person who had been hired for the same job he himself had applied for.

Additionally, another man posted a tweet last week that has since gone viral claiming his manager doesn’t believe in remote work. As a result, employees had to return to the office.

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