Ever stolen a moment in the company stairwell to see the big moment from last night’s show? Ever caught a few minutes to stream a show while your date is in the restroom? Yeah, we’re not proud. We’re not about to apologize, either.
We get it — waiting a full work day before catching up on the new show can be a challenge. If you’re willing to skirt the rules, however, you don’t have to wait. These 7 tips will get you caught up on your favorite show long before you have free time. Just don’t hold us responsible if you get caught…
Sneaky TV Tip One: The Fake Bathroom Break
Where in your office do you have complete, unrestricted freedom from prying eyes? The bathroom, of course. Just grab a stall, pull out your phone and fire up a clip (or even a full episode, if you’re truly daring). While the fake bathroom break might seem obvious, it’s very easy to screw up and very rewarding to master. How do the true professionals handle the fake bathroom break?
First, scout your building for the bathroom with the least traffic. Second, you’ve got to bring headphones. If your neighbor can hear your audio, you’re giving yourself away. Third, you’ve got to look the part. Keeping your pants around your ankles may be uncomfortable, but if your lower legs are visible, this will show that you’re in there “on business”. Last, if you’re going to go for the full episode, leave a bottle of Pepto-Bismol on your desk. If someone questions your latency, you’ve got an excuse already in place. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but this isn’t child’s play.
Suggested Fake Bathroom Break Show: Empire
Sneaky TV Tip Two: The Tablet in a Note Pad Trick
In some environments, computers and tablets (and even mobile phones) are prohibited. We can learn from these old-fashioned lecture environments and take this learning to the rest of our sneaky lives. When you really need to steal a few minutes when you should be listening to a speaker, you can always use the binder of a notebook to conceal an iPad. This way, you and a friend can catch up on a show without alerting the rest of the class to your mobile device.
If you’re going to pull this off, you’ll want to snake an earbud through your sleeve and out of your collar. You may need to secure your tablet to the notebook, so make sure you have that covered before the class begins. Last, don’t be too obvious — and if you need to, pretend to jot down some notes on the “notebook”.
Suggested Tablet in a Note Pad Show: Brooklyn Nine Nine
Sneaky TV Tip Three: The Impromptu “Office Meeting”
The best way to look productive at work is to join a group. With the right props and the right location, any small group can look like an asset to the company — even though your group is anything but.
The first step is finding a few co-workers who love the same show you do. They’ll also need to know how to keep a secret. Then you need to find a safe meeting room, preferably one with a screen that faces away from the entry door. Beyond these basics, you’ll want to get a little creative about the scene. Bring props along, like printed spreadsheets and other relevant documents, then work on a few boilerplate talking points to quickly shift to if someone walks in the door. Develop a code word if someone is nearing the entry door, and beware the micro-managing “cool boss” who wants to be a part of every group conversation.
Suggest Impromptu “Office Meeting” Show: Difficult People
Sneaky TV Tip Four: Stairwell Solo Session
Stairwells and indoor fire escapes usually see the lowest amount of traffic in your typical office building. In my experience, the stairwells are used for private phone calls and unapproved smoke breaks by employees. If you think about it, this is the perfect place to stream a quick show. Anyone else who wanders into the stairwell is usually doing something they shouldn’t on company time, and if they see you and don’t see your screen, they’ll assume you’re working. It’s an easy escape from the office environment, and it’s typically just a short stroll away from your desk.
Suggested Stairwell Solo Session show: Last Man on Earth
Sneaky TV Tip Five: Date Night Stolen Moment
So the work day is over, but there are still obligations that will keep you away from streaming freely. The after-work date can happen at inopportune times, and sometimes you can’t reschedule. If you can’t burn any time to use the fake bathroom break option, there’s no reason you can’t pull out your mobile device when your date is in the bathroom. Go ahead. Be that guy/girl. Let them judge you.
The trick here is to conceal what you’re doing from anyone who might ask, especially your date. Say you’ve got a late-arriving work email you needed to read. Don’t pull out your phone and start streaming with this excuse though. Wait for your date to hit the bathroom, then use this excuse if they return to the table while you’re still streaming.
Also, if it’s your first date, just don’t do this at all. If it’s your last date, stream on.
Suggested Date Night Stolen Moment Show: The Mindy Project
Sneaky TV Tip Six: The Desktop Daredevil
If you truly have no fear, you could just go for a full episode directly at your desk. In some open office environments, this can be suicide. In others, this can be a walk in the park — provided you’re prepared.
Your first step is to get a sense of what IT restrictions are in place at your office. If you’re not friendly with the IT staff, you’ve got bigger priorities than watching TV at work. Seriously. They have access to your every move at work, so you want to treat them like the awesome, under-appreciated people they usually are.
Once you’ve got your digital footprint figured out, you’re going to want to look for sight lines to your desk. Where can your monitor be seen? Adjust your monitor’s position as it relates to these sight lines. You can even add a privacy screen of some sort, even the types that obscure any view of your screen unless you’re viewing it from a parallel perspective.
Last, you always want to prepare an escape route. In this case, see if you can assign a hotkey to a window that will cover your monitor quickly. Pull up work related documents, assign that app to a hotkey, then tap it if someone approaches or steps in to a sight line. If you can’t always see them coming, you can always place a small mirror on your desk or to the corner of your monitor.
Suggested Desktop Daredevil Show: Black-Ish
Sneaky TV Tip Seven: Blue Collar Bonus
Say you’re not a desk jockey, and you prefer to work with your hands. My friend, there are a world of sneaky TV opportunities for you that no one else has. Here are just a few:
- If you’re an auto mechanic, you can secure a tablet or phone to the underside of a vehicle and roll under for a quick break from time to time. Just bring some tools and be aware of a nearby boss.
- If you work in a custodial capacity and have access to an “out of order” sign, then any room or elevator of your choice can be an impromptu private theater.
- If you often work on a scissor lift or cherry picker, just lift yourself out of view and pull out your mobile device. The same technique can be used for window cleaners or just about anyone else with an elevated work space.
Suggested Blue Collar Bonus Show: Modern Family
Thanks for reading, friends. If you’re going to be sneaky, be safe about it. The last thing you need is to jeopardize a job or a friendship for a quick fix of TV. If you’re daring and smart about it, there’s no reason you have to wait until you get home to catch up on a favorite show. If you are looking for some awesome fall shows to catch up on, check out our feature article about 7 Can’t Miss TV Debuts for Your Viewing Party Calendar.