No one should have to work in an office environment. Open floor plans and cubicles are inhumane. Fortunately I've come up with some tips that may help you though the day with your sanity.
Never learn how to use your phone (beyond the physical picking up of the unit). Need to transfer a call? Tell the person on the line who you're transferring them to, put the phone down on your desk, count to 7, and hang up the phone. Odds are, they'll call the person you were transferring them to, thinking you made an error. If they do happen to call you back, disconnect your phone. This will lend more credibility to there being an actual problem.
Hand it over to Johnson. When one of the head muckity mucks asks for this or that, say you handed it over to Johnson for some additional feedback. This should keep the big-wigs happy for a while. And it doesn't matter if your company has a Johnson; your boss doesn't know. They probably don't know your name.
Look busy. You don't need to do actual work everyday, but you need to look busy everyday. Have a desk with some files and reports on it. Don't have computer programs maximized on your screen, instead keep at least three programs open and overlapping each other, so it looks like you're "multi-tasking". Occasionally print things out. It doesn't matter what, but make sure it's work related. It never hurts to make the occasional copy of something.
A key part of looking busy is not looking like you're screwing around. Don't leave your internet email open on the screen. Instead, compose your emails in a text editor and send them off during lunch. Don't make many personal phone calls. And if you're standing around chatting with someone, have a coffee cup in one hand and a notepad in the other (see number four).
Busy people have their hands full – literally. Carry folders and a notepad everywhere you go (multi-colored folders make it look like you're well organized). Even if you're getting a cup of water or heading to lunch, have some folders in your hand. People will see this and assume you're doing something important.
Keep your desk neatly cluttered. Just as you want to have your computer screen look busy, keep your desk up to appearances as well. Make sure you rearrange the clutter every so often so it looks like you're working hard. Keep several pen cups full with multi-colored pens and hi-lighters. Have several binders full of paper around (make sure something is on the paper). Keep some vertical files on the side of your desk with full folders in them (remember multi-colored folders make you look organized and efficient). The more you can neatly surround yourself with work materials the better.
Your mental outlook is important. Hang out in the bathroom, the supply closet, or the loading dock sometimes - you're getting paid just the same. Try to time it so it consumes 10 minutes before the end of work or some other fun event. Find a window in the office where and when no one else is around – enjoy the view. Take ten or fifteen extra minutes on either side of your lunch. Keep your mind clear, that's the important thing. Because when you have to do real work a clear mind will help it go more quickly.
This is the most important of them all. Resist Faking. These tips are designed to make others ASSUME that you're working hard. Don't make others suspicious by boasting or faking work. Don't set your email system to send emails to co-workers three hours after you leave. Don't elude to working long hours. Don't refuse work saying that you are too busy to do it. Don't take credit for the work of others. Look busy, let others assume you're too busy to be given any work, and you may be lucky enough to spend weeks or months doing nothing.