10 Workplace Lessons to Learn from “The Office”
Self-proclaimed “World’s Best Boss”, Michael Scott, is the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. Throughout the mockumentary on this medium-sized paper company, members of the office engage with each other in creating absurd but wholesome scenarios.
Like the typical office, but with a splash of hyperbole, there’s a lot to be learned from these normal but beloved characters. Guess there is an excuse for watching “The Office” during office hours after all.
1. Treat Employees like Family
Season 3, Episode 16: "Business School"
Treating employees genuinely and equally is what makes good leaders great. Employees will in turn trust you and as shown in the show, office employees have always helped Michael out in inconvenient situations.
2. Promote Diversity...Correctly
Season 1, Episode 2: "Diversity Day"
Acknowledging diversity is important, but don't stick a card with a race or nationality on people's foreheads. While it shows something about stereotypes and makes for a funny comedy sketch, don’t think to emulate it in reality. Instead, promote diversity by creating diversity-friendly policies, and don't feel immediately inclined to not hire someone just because they're not like everyone else on the team.
3. Creative Meetings for Better Engagement
Season 4, Episode 5/6: "Launch Party"
When the screensaver is more interesting than the meeting itself, you know something is wrong. You don’t want your meetings to be you versus the environment.
A lesson to learn here is to remove all distracting things from the meeting room: a ticking clock, a screensaver, patterned walls... or just make your meetings more captivating with a well-prepared presentation (and your charisma, of course).
4. Take Work Seriously, But Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Season 2, Episode 21: "Conflict Resolution"
Every office has an office prankster. They can spice up boring office life if you are open to their jokes. But if you're the serious one at work and often find yourself at odds with the prankster, maybe loosen up a bit and get in on the fun. Life is not all about serious work - you actually can merge work and play together.
5. Recognize Efforts
Season 2, Episode 1: "The Dundies"
The office’s reactions to Dunder Mifflin’s Dundie awards are how we all feel when watching Michael rap horribly to that backtrack. However, it teaches us that it is important to recognize employee's efforts for better engagement at work. Michael’s awards were foolishly funny on purpose for the show, so obviously, don’t give out a “Don’t go in there after me award” for smelliest bowel movement (please).
6. Be a People Person
Season 2, Episode 7: "The Client"
People-centric selling is what gets people interested. Instead of building transactional connections, build friendships. Have your prospect feel like you care about helping them before you make your pitch. No one likes an invasive salesman.
7. Never Accept the First Offer
Season 5, Episode 25: "Broke"
If you know that you have the upper hand in a business negotiation, never accept their first offer. Instead, try presenting them with arguments and questions to test the waters, you don't want to be dealt with the shorter end of the stick.
“Wouldn’t you rather have a fishing pole than a fish?” - Michael Scott
Think long-term, and as an experienced professional, use your expertise and play it to your advantage.
8. Active Learning > Passive Learning
Season 5, Episode 14/15: "Stress Relief"
Active learning does work better than passive learning, but do NOT start something dangerous just to teach a lesson. Experience is indeed the best teacher, however, starting a fire is not the way to teach fire safety.
Have employees get hands-on experience with tasks, whether it’s with decision making, meeting with clients, etc. That way, they'll learn more and gain more experience too.
9. Importance of Team Building
Season 3, Episode 3: "The Coup"
Team building is important for better teamwork, as shown in Dunder Mifflin Stamford's frequent “Call of Duty” playoffs. Employees get to bond with one another through these holistic activities, and it often reflects positively on their work.
10. Marketing Greatness
Season 5, Episode 19: "Golden Ticket"
Golden ticket ideas can help you achieve immense success, but not every idea is a golden one. These fun and innovative marketing ideas either make it or break it, so the important lesson here is to evaluate the execution of the idea, not just the theory.
Giving away free things is a great marketing strategy, but do it wisely, not like how Michael “Willy Wonka” Scott did it.
BONUS: Fake it till you Make it
Season 6, Episode 14: "The Banker"
Not exactly the approach you’ll want to take constantly, but the law of attraction does suggest to be whatever you want to manifest. Be what your goal is and chances are, you'll eventually achieve it with that focused mindset. However, fake it realistically, not hiring stand-ins like Michael did to make your office "look better".
Get Your Office with BOOQED
A lot of the successes that goes on in Dunder Mifflin are due to the employees, and by getting people together. Collaborating, being innovative, engaging, being people-focused, etc. Coworking spaces are great in promoting collaboration and widening networks, and BOOQED can get you the best coworking spaces in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The first step in making new connections is to meet them. Conveniently, we also provide meeting rooms and coffee meeting spots for those important discussions. Or just a casual coffee chat with a prospective client - that's how Michael landed that deal anyway.