Team Report: The Office
For better or for worse, the average American spends more time with their coworkers at their job than they do with their family or friends. Fun fact, the average American will spend 90,000 hours of their life in the office (that’s the equivalent of watching 180,000 broadcast episodes of The Office.) Who we work with shapes us and our environment—it’s extremely important to be in a healthy, supportive one.
So, always looking for a reason to watch re-runs of The Office we want to introduce our newest blog series: the Team Report, where we look at how teams in pop culture function, and decide whether it's a healthy or not so healthy environment.
Fact: The Office is one of the most beloved American sitcoms of the last 20 years (based on an equally beloved yet not as long-running British sitcom of the same name), and unless you’re an alien in a human’s disguise, you already know the set up so we’ll be brief. (Zrrrsgyk, if you have questions about the show, email us and we’ll fill you in, just please stop asking us the best way to get into Area 51, it’s getting weird, and we already told you to take the 375.)
Fact: The Office is set in an office, with the premise that a film crew is following around the regular members of the workplace documenting their lives.
Fact: Dwight Schrute can raise and lower his cholesterol at will.
Fact: Dwight Schrute was the Assistant (to the) Regional Manager, Michael Scott.
The Manager: Michael Scott
Look, you can’t talk about The Office without bringing up Michael Scott, the manager of the whole crew for most of the show’s run. Despite his very unorthodox managerial methods, he’s surprisingly effective at leading his branch, as it’s frequently mentioned that Scranton is the most profitable branch of the parent organization, Dunder Mifflin.
Where he falls flat is having acceptable boundaries with the other members of the branch.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t invite some coworkers over to your home, share intimate details of your relationship with them, have your girlfriend be a bit tipsy and try to sell them a piece of her homemade candle business, and then your girlfriend throws a trophy at your tv in front of everyone…wait, we are saying that. Never do that, especially for anyone you manage.
Michael is probably a bit too involved in the personal lives of the people he’s responsible for, and yes, there are many HR violations throughout the series (probably why he hates Toby Flenderson so so so very much) but overall, the crew seems to enjoy his wacky presence, and actively participate in his proposal to his girlfriend, Holly towards the end of the series (we assume they were willing, it’s a grey area to ask anyone you manage to participate, let alone the entire office, but just go with it.)
Having a manager who makes your life unpleasant is a large factor in why many people don’t enjoy their jobs. While Michael’s methods are unorthodox (and weird), throughout the run of the series, very few people quit their jobs at his branch, so he’s clearly doing something right, and fostering a good environment for his team. As we all know, a leader sets the tone for everyone to follow, and Michael’s may be a bit off key, but still a popular tune!
Fact: Jim pranks Dwight, a lot.
Fact: Dwight occasionally pranks Jim back.
Fact: Beets are the best crop to plant.
These are all facts.
Pranking in the workplace puts you in a tricky position because the line of acceptability can be crossed easily; and also that line can change depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes the pranks did go too far, and sitcom hilarity turns into what would be real-life assault:
There’s a clear difference between the two, and Jim crossed a line above—we’re going to revert to our Mom’s rules here, and point out that anything that draws blood is bad, okay?
Everything was fine by the next episode, but that clip above demonstrates how out of control the pranks can get.
While it’s important to be able to blow off steam, and no one works 100% of the time while they’re at the office, there is a fine, fine line between team building and getting into a prank war like Jim and Dwight did.
Luckily the pranks were mostly left between Jim and Dwight, so the damage was minimal to the psyche of the office, but you have to wonder how much of an impact their shenanigans had on everyone else, and how much productivity was lost because of their tomfoolery.
In our opinion, what makes The Office stand out is the camaraderie between everyone. Despite being thrown together through happenstance by the mere fact they work together, the office forms a cohesive unit that supports, protects, and watches out for each other. They work together for a common goal, and for the most part watch each other’s backs to make sure they’re ok.
They share each other’s life experiences, are there when they get married, have babies, and even get divorced.
That’s how a real-life office operates. We get invited to coworker’s weddings, throw baby showers at lunch, and are privy to the sadder things that happen in their lives when they feel comfortable sharing that with us.
Yeah, sure, *some* of the things that happened in the Office would have had us screaming and running for the hills (let’s not forget the time Dwight set a real fire in the building to teach a lesson about fire safety) but ultimately the reason why the show is so beloved still is that at its core, the Office is about a group of people who care for, and look out for, each other.
Isn’t that what all of us want? A place to come to every day, where you belong, where you know you’ll laugh a little bit, and that your coworkers want what’s best for you?