VP, Public Relations
Sodexo North America
The Office, NBC’s hit comedy that aired from 2005 to 2013, led to millions of viewers laughing on a week to week basis. It was one of my favorite shows and even all these years later, it still makes me laugh…and rings true of what goes on in most office environments, albeit a little exaggerated. The show documents the life of a rather dysfunctional office and their daily antics. While as a whole, the extreme personalities of The Office, lead to an incongruous environment, there are traits from each of the characters that can be quite beneficial when applied in the workplace.
Michael Scott – Narcissistic, disorganized and inappropriate, there don’t seem to be many redeeming qualities about Michael Scott. However, where Michael falls short on management, he makes up for with his commitment to his employees. Michael knows every detail about his team (perhaps too many) and makes a conscious effort to interact with them. Creating relationships with fellow employees can lead to a more positive work environment as well as a more productive one. Even a friendly “hello” every morning to your fellow cubicle mate can go a long way.
Jim Halpert – While Jim might be the goofball of The Office, He is also highly productive. Organized and efficient, Jim always has his work completed at the end of the day, if not far earlier. This has led him to become one of the top salesmen of Dunder Mifflin. Being an efficient employee is vital, as it allows for more time for work to be reviewed and revised, leading to a more refined final product.
Dwight Schrute – While a passion for beet farming might not be necessary in the workplace, Dwight’s overall passion is key. Dwight knows everything there is to know about paper and he uses that knowledge to make his sales. Being passionate about the work you do is vital to your productivity and your happiness. The enthusiasm and interest you put into your work will influence your coworkers, leading to a highly improved work environment.
Ryan Howard – From Temp, to Vice President, to jail, Ryan Howard has seen it all at Dunder Mifflin. While I wouldn’t suggest committing fraud, I do believe Ryan Howard is a great example of a creative thinker. Always brainstorming new ideas and taking initiative, Ryan constantly worked to improve and modernize Dunder Mifflin. Applying Ryan’s creative problem-solving can lead to innovative solutions and modernizing the overall way an office runs. Even if it’s something as small as revamping the organization system, a small bit of creativity can lead to drastic improvements in productivity.
Pam Beesly – One of the most down-to-earth characters on The Office, Pam excels at being patient with her fellow co-workers. Whether it’s steering Michael clear of a disaster or calming down an angry Dwight, Pam can always do so in a calm and compassionate manner. The truth is we’re all bound to face difficult co-workers. However, interacting with difficult co-workers in a more positive manner will lighten your mood as well as theirs, and hopefully will lead to more positive interactions in the future.
The Office may be the perfect example of how not to manage an office, but it was not completely unrealistic either. Who hasn’t worked with a Pam or a Dwight? In fact in many ways the show was an over the top reflection of contemporary work culture. And isn’t it fun to watch a parody of your work, to relax after work?
Sodexo is committed to improving performance and enhancing quality of life for the individuals, organizations and communities we serve. How does your office environment compare to The Office? Share some ideas in the comment section.
Steve Cox leads Public Relations for Sodexo North America with $9B in annual revenue, 125,000 employees, 9,000 operating sites and 15 million consumers served daily.