Dalrymple, writing from first hand experience, describes government work:
The first thing to note is that in many instances, activity is mistaken for work. Activity, in this context, may be defined as doing things for pay that one would not do unless paid to do them but which conduce to no useful end except filling time and giving the appearance of busyness to superiors. That is why bureaucrats don’t saunter down corridors, they scurry. And there is no doubt, I think, that an awful lot of what goes on in offices (and not just in the public sector) is activity in this technical sense rather than work. It is designed to give a false impression and to fill an existential void.