10 Office Tips From ‘The Office’

If you observe well enough, you’ll always find a way to learn something from the sitcoms you watch. Those laughter-inducing episodes don’t just contain jokes and pranks. They also display important lessons that all of us can learn from. Talking about tv shows we can learn from one that I’d like to think of is The Office, the American adaptation of it. The show gives us a look at the Dunder-Mifflin clan and their day-to-day workings of the corporate world. It’s funny, it’s awkward, it has subtle yet offensive undertones, and it’s overall a brilliant portrayal of how things work in a small corporate branch of a huge paper company. Here’s a list of 10 tips from ‘The Office’ that you need to learn from.

The Office

1. Respect Your Sub-Ordinates

Unless that intern in your office sets the office on fire the way Ryan did, or even then, make sure you respect the interns and sub-ordinates at your workplace. Their duties may not be as huge as yours, but they still have an important job to complete minor tasks that then allow you to work on your big projects.

Remember that time Jim and Dwight forgot to attend Kelly’s America’s Got Talent Finale Party, she reciprocated by giving them bad reviews that got them in trouble. You do not want that to happen to you! Treat everyone with equal respect, whether they’re below or above your position at work, even if you’re not friends with them.

Respect Your Sub-Ordinates

2. Nothing Good Will Happen from Office Gossip

So you saw one of your colleagues do something and you want to discuss it with someone at work. Hmm? Take it from me, nothing good will come out of that discussion. Don’t do it. This is basically my life motto when it comes to talking about something risky with someone risky. Unless the person you’re talking to is(are) sibling(s) you’re really close to, everything risky or on the same lines as gossip should better be left alone and never brought up again. Office gossip gives rise to office politics, office politics leads to much more drama. And that is not in any way productive or healthy!

Michael spread the gossip

Just think about that time Michael spread the gossip on how Stanley is cheating on his wife, and that leads to an entire episode on Michael trying to spread more rumours and lies to divert attention from Stanley. It’s just dirty, useless nonsense that you don’t need at your workplace.

3. Have Each Other’s Backs

Have Each Other’s Backs

Always known for his selfish and cold outlook, Dwight was a real softie inside if you ever paid attention, especially when it came to Pam. Although everyone loves to put Jim and Dwight’s relationship in the spotlight, mainly because of their arch-rivalry throughout the series, my main focus has always been the subtle yet obvious way how Dwight and Pam’s bond has been one of the most wholesome relationships show on tv. From the way Dwight, a character portrayed to not have emotions, always took care of Pam’s feelings like one would a little sister’s even if he’s wrong about what hurt her to bring her ice cream and to taking care of her and Jim’s baby when she wouldn’t stop crying. Not only this, but Pam always proved to be a worthy friend of Dwight’s especially that time when he had a concussion and she kept helping him out.

This is the kind of friendship we all crave in our lives, subtle, undemanding yet always there when we need it most. And that’s the way we need to look out for each other in our workplace. To be a team, we need to be there for each other in person rather than just on paper.

4. Accept Punishment

Accept Punishment

You’re bound to make mistakes at your office, and you’re bound to get punished for it. So you better accept it, apologize, learn from the criticism and move on. You don’t need to make a show of it neither do you have to make it unbearably difficult for your boss or colleagues to talk to you. This is something you need to learn by observing Michael Scott’s behaviour and then do what he doesn’t!

5. Take the Credit You Receive

Take the Credit You Recieve

Not everyone gets recognized for their individual contribution to teamwork, but at the off-chance that you do, just take it without fuss. You don’t have to make a big deal out of being modest, you don’t have to shy away from the appreciation you obviously deserve. Just take what you’re getting without turning into an awkward moment for you and your colleagues. We witness something similar when David Wallace calls Michael to New York and asks him what it is that he’s doing right because the Scranton Branch is thriving in business and Michael starts a sentence without an end and without any logic. Now you definitely won’t behave like Michael Scott, but in case you were thinking of something along these lines, don’t do it. Just take credit where it’s due and deal with the problems later.

6. Always Have an Exit Plan Prepared

Always Have an Exit Plan Prepared

I’m not asking you to quit your job, no. I’m only suggesting that always have a plan prepared for what you must do next in case things fall apart unexpectedly. Especially with the way how the world can change drastically in a matter of days, the way Covid-19 has taught us, you need to always have a backup plan prepared. Take a look back at how Michael, Pam, and Ryan quit Dunder-Mifflin and started Michael Scott Paper Company. Well, I know that one was never a good entrepreneurship example but in the end, it did help the 3 to get rehired at Dunder-Mifflin. It’s always good to have alternatives and backups planned out in advance to beat whatever odds you may end up facing.

7. Don’t Be a Toby!!!

Don’t Be a Toby

You heard it. Loud and clear. Don’t, for any reason, for any purpose, for any proper logical explanation, be a Toby. No one needs to hear the story of that one time you did something important in your entire life, no one wants to be sitting near you if you’re going to make them feel uncomfortable or awkward, and no one needs to hear your dull boring opinions that make no sense what-so-ever.

8. Don’t Invite Your Coworkers at Home

Don’t Invite Your Coworkers at Home

If you’re an avid fan of The Office, you’d know exactly what I’m referring to, or maybe you don’t. Honestly, there have been too many episodes of inviting coworkers at home in the show that turned out to be straight out of your awkward-social-anxiety-induced nightmares. That time Jim invited everyone except Michael and Michael showed up anyway, that time Gabe invited everyone to his house that was a nightmare on its own. That time Robert California invited everyone to his huge mansion that was no less than an awkward adventure to witness. And can any of us forget the iconic ‘Dinner Party’ that marked the end of Michael and Jan’s relationship?

Dinner Party’

Do not invite your office colleagues to your house. You’ll never invite all of them, and you don’t owe answers to those you’re not inviting, and yet it will end up putting you in a position you never wanted to be in. Just avoid it. Occasional friend hangouts for movies, etc are another story. You don’t need the added stress of looking at the same faces you stare at 5 days a week for 8 continuous hours the entire year. Your house is where you get an escape from work, keep it that way!

9. Those Little Celebrations Matter

Yes, your work comes first but that doesn’t mean you can’t take an occasional break and celebrate little things; whether it’s a birthday or a national event, celebrating gives you not only a way to enjoy and take a break from the busy schedule but it also gives you a chance to do fun activities with the entire team. One of the best things about The Office was the little parties they held on Birthdays, during Christmas and on other occasions to celebrate each other. Albeit the planning that went into those were quite disastrous, to say the least, but in the end, it was all done with good intentions to make a person feel special.

Those Little Celebrations Matter

One of the best memories of the show comes from Michael Scott’s farewell party, a scene where the entire cast started to sing for Steve Carell who’d done so much to carry the show for 7 seasons. It was truly an emotional goodbye not just to the boss from his employees but to the actor himself from his cast members, as the actor didn’t know this was going to happen, and Michael’s reaction was literally Carell’s reaction to the scene.

10. Remember to Have Fun!

Remember to Have Fun

Despite their differences and their conflicts and competitions, the characters in The Office always made sure to take a good time and make the best out of it. The little celebrations, the enjoying of the smell of freshly printed paper, hanging a painting of the office building outside Michael’s door, and perhaps the highlight of the entire show i.e. the little too big pranks Jim and Dwight played on each other throughout the show’s 9 seasons. The dance and song routines, everything in this show was taken to the next level through the way each character made sure to enjoy the moment they’re living in. And this is something we all need to learn from and apply to our own life and workplace. Those competitions and conflicts and disagreements will always exist, but in the end, what will make the team successful is how everyone interacts and enjoys the little things we’re a part of.

dance and song

If you have watched The Office, good. If you haven’t, even better because now you have every reason to watch this show from the beginning. And no, watching the first episode and never returning again is not an option. You need to go through a few seasons to become capable of judging the show. It provides a good break from your routine, while also giving you a walk through a chaotic, hilarious, and pretty relatable corporate experience. So get to watching the show and tell us what it is that you’ve learned from it!

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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