As an actively disengaged member of the work force, I often find myself on the Internet searching for anything to make the day go by.  As a result, I’m constantly searching for ways to hide the fact that I spend the better part of my day surfing the web.  The eight methods below will help prevent wandering eyes in your own office from discovering your affection for the interweb:

1. 3M privacy filters
Although effective, the 3M privacy filter is like slapping a Post-It note (also 3M) on your back that says “I might surf for porn today”.  Unless you truly are surfing porn while at work, you might want to avoid this option.

Reducing the brightness level of your monitorA more inconspicuous option than the privacy filter, adjusting the brightness level of your monitor can be very effective.  You can usually adjust it to a point where others walking by can’t catch a good glimpse and it buys you a couple extra seconds if someone does enter your cube.

3. Find the optimal “private angle” of your laptop or monitor – Every laptop or monitor has a sweet spot where, if you lean back in your own chair, you can still see your monitor just fine.  It’s nearly impossible for others to view your screen if used in combination with the brightness level adjustment.

4. Minimize windows and view within confines of often used work software – There are many who lovingly use the minimized window technique.  Yet, nearly 76% of them fail to follow through on the most important and logical second step which is to move that minimized window within the confines of software you use for work.  For example, sliding your minimized browser into the Microsoft Outlook email preview pane is an effective method of taking a minimized screen to the next level.  When coworkers or managers stop by, you simply click on an email from the top of the screen and the browser is relegated to the back seat.  Your cube guest has no idea you were browsing the web within Outlook.

5. Physical location of your monitor within your cube – If you are allowed to reposition your monitor or laptop within your cube, don’t just accept its default placement.  It is more than likely that you can significantly reduce any chance of others viewing your screen by finding a more appropriate place for your monitor.  However, placing your screen in the back corner of the cube facing away from all traffic might be a bigger red flag than 3M privacy film.  Reposition wisely.

6. Perfecting the Alt-Tab technique – Well known among the effective slackers in the office, the Alt-Tab technique within windows allows you to quickly switch windows without the use of a mouse.  The key to this technique is for your previous window to always be work related.  This ensures your Alt-Tab maneuver gives off the appearance that you’re working.  There is nothing more disastrous than an Alt-Tab scenario that brings up a Flickr page of a guy dressed like an Army figurine.  Perhaps there are scenarios worse than that, but I can’t provide those links.

7. The buddy system – Using your work posse to help warn you of incoming managers and coworkers is an effective method to combat wandering eyes.  Whether it’s an audible “ca-caw”, or perhaps an instant message online, it’s important to devise a bulletproof method for quickly signaling an infiltration.

8. Fisheye security mirror – If it works to curb theft in convenient stores, it can also work wonders for your private web surfing.  Placing a fisheye mirror in your cube can be effective as long as your able to keep it on the down low.  Make sure to hide it within your cube so others aren’t aware of its presence.  This is easier said than done.  One downfall to the fisheye mirror is frequent false alarms.  You’ll be Alt-Tabbing all day long.

By Dudley B. Dawson of Minneapolis Life in the Cubicle Examiner