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I work for a engineering company that commisions automation software for industrial plants. Employees are often sent around the world to install and setup the control systems.

I have been sent abroad to iFAT (Internal Factory Acceptance Test) electrical panels. These tests can last for an hour or up to several, depending on the size of the panel. However, before and after testing a panel there is not much for me to do. I want to stay productive during the few hours of downtime I have each day.

How can I handle idle time on site?

What activities can I do to benefit the company, myself or the clients?

I have already exhausted the following activities:

  • Full preperation for the next iFAT

  • Updating my site diary

  • Filling out expenses forms


I do have reliable Internet access.

I am not qualified (or allowed) to assist the clients with building the panels.

I am not willing to clean toilets etc...

marked as duplicate by gnat, Chris E, Michael Grubey, Draken, Mister Positive Jun 28 '17 at 11:45

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  • Is there any policy stating that you can't do other activities, such as read a book, study for certifications, write a novel? Do they expect you to devote all of your attention to these tests for the full time? – curt1893 Jun 27 '17 at 10:04
  • No. However, I would like to keep a professional image of myself. If I am seen reading a book or doing something non work related, then at a later time I am the cause of a hold up I feel that I would be cast in a bad light. – Will Jun 27 '17 at 10:21
  • 1
    I think in that particular line of work, idle time is simply part of the job. Get a game on your phone. Level up your runescape account or something. – DCON Jun 27 '17 at 10:44
  • Sit around and browse SO. Also, provide answers on SO. – Fattie Jun 27 '17 at 13:46
  • Are you a junior person with an engineering degree? Then study for for PE (professional Engineer) test (or EIT (Engineer in Training) if you need that first). Yes it may take some time before you have enough experience to take the actual test, but the more you study, the easier it is to prep when it is time. – HLGEM Jun 27 '17 at 22:36

Being from an IT field I sometimes have quite a good amount of time between 2 projects, which are nothing short of an opportunity to enhance your knowledge further. You can try some of the things listed below:

  • Find blogs that interest you. Starting from technical to fashion, you have thousands of blogs that can be explored and not only will they interest you, but you’ll also be able to learn a lot.

  • Start browsing videos of a course/subject you want to learn. For example, if you’re planning to pursue an MBA in the near future, you could start browsing channels and videos about MBA in finance, marketing or HR, just to get a deeper insight about the course and career opportunities.

  • Read useful online content. Internet is so useful now to browse, blog, interact and learn. Don’t waste your time by watching movies or gaming. Try finding articles that interest you and keep reading them consistently. Certificate courses. There are so many courses that you could complete online (free or paid) instead of just sitting idle. Find a course that you always wanted to do or something that’ll be useful for you.

  • Exercise. Exercising is a great way to feel active and energetic. Find youtube workout videos of your best interest and make goals to complete it. Go for a jog and explore the city. Enjoy nature and enjoy peace.

  • Work on your passion. Apart from college work or corporate work, you could work on your hobby or passion. For example if you love cooking, then learn a different recipe or try baking. If you like fashion, then start your own blog and create look-book pictures/videos. Never leave your passions behind. In the end, all I want to say is don’t be idle. Keep working on something. Even sleeping and resting is better than just sitting idle. Knowledge is power. Use your idle time to do some productive or useful work, or to gain knowledge. Have a nice day!

In the end, you can say that you're not idle. Keep working on something. Even sleeping and resting is better than just sitting idle. Knowledge is power. Use your idle time to do some productive or useful work, or to gain knowledge. Have a nice day!

  • Welcs, happy to help as always :-) – rshah4u Jun 27 '17 at 11:43

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