An employee has just completed all the tasks his boss gave him, and his colleague is asking him (as he was pretty fast in completing them even before deadline) :

A: "Why are you having such a long break, not doing anything and still in the office?"

B: "I have completed all the tasks our boss gave me and I have nothing to do for now."

It's true that there is no other task left his boss assigned him), but is it appropriate to say that in the office? Is it better to say something like this

I have completed all the tasks ... I am thinking about the plan for next project.

  • 2
    It depends how much time is at stake, the nature of the work, and whether you're part of a team who can be easily assisted. It may not be inappropriate to be idle occasionally (especially if it correlates with an adequate amount of work that is visibly well done - you are taking a breather or collecting your thoughts after a good effort), but usually the only time I'd have a conversation about being idle is when I'm underworked and expecting more work to be provided (either for myself or by assisting others with theirs).
    – Steve
    Jun 13, 2020 at 15:59
  • Does this answer your question? what should I do when there is nothing to do in office
    – gnat
    Jun 13, 2020 at 16:35
  • @Steve From the Cambridge Dictionary,"at stake" means "If something that is valuable is at stake, it is in a situation where it might be lost". Does "at stake" in your comment go with that meaning?
    – PutBere
    Jun 13, 2020 at 21:52
  • 1
    @PutBere, no I'd say I'm using it in the more generic sense of "at issue" or "in question", but with the saving of a syllable. I suppose the idle time concerned is at risk of being "lost" (to management intervention or colleague complaints), but I don't recall having that aspect specifically in mind when I first wrote.
    – Steve
    Jun 13, 2020 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


It's not a good move, because it lets people question whether you are doing your job. You job is not only to do what you were told, but also to report back and ask what to do next once you are done.

You should do that. Report you are done and ask what to do next.

When you did, you can say "I have completed all the tasks. I told our supervisor I'm ready for more, but until I get more, I have nothing to do. Can I help you with something?" And that should be perfectly fine.

  • Alternatively, if you’ve got a backlog of tasks that haven’t been assigned yet, you might consider just picking the top one of the list and getting started on it - and let your boss know that you’ve done so, and why.
    – nick012000
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:12

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