“Busywork” is work that keeps someone busy but has little value in itself – it makes you look busy, or actually keeps you busy, and passes the time despite being essentially pointless.
Source: busywork @ Oxford Dictionaries
- Busy work @ Wikipedia
Excerpt: Busy work (also referred to as make-work and busywork) can refer to activity that is undertaken to pass time and stay busy but in and of itself has no actual value. Busy work also occurs in business, military and other settings, in situations where people may be required to be present but may lack the opportunities, skills or need to do something more productive. People may engage in busy work to maintain an appearance of activity, in order to avoid criticism of being inactive or idle.
- busywork @ Dictionary.com
Excerpt: “work assigned for the sake of looking or keeping busy.”