The Legacy Of ‘The Office’ In The British Workplace Culture



Since ‘The Office’ first aired in 2001, staff in the workplace often hark back to the antics between the characters in the programme with fondness. Who cannot love David Brent’s (Ricky Gervais) ability to make a complete idiot of himself in the most awkward of situations; Gareth Keenan’s (Mackenzie Crook) ridiculous questions (“will there ever be a boy born, who can swim faster than a shark?”) and Keith Bishop’s (Ewen MacIntosh) emotionless face as he munches through a scotch egg. The following list pin-points the top most borrowed shenanigans in the series. Are you guilty of any of this tomfoolery in your workplace?

1) “It’s only a trifling matter, Gareth.”
There are hundreds of YouTube videos depicting Tim’s stapler in the jelly joke, showing just how much of a positive response it garnered. David sums up the ultimate underlying theme of the joke when he says, “Ah, you see. You show him your weakness, he pounces.” It’s almost human psychology that if someone reveals their pet hate or annoyance, someone will want to exploit that for a gag- especially if the employees concerned don’t get on that well.

2) Gluing the Phone
Let’s face it. Ringing phones are annoying- especially when they are incessantly chirping away all morning and afternoon, giving you a headache. Tim found a way of breaking the tedium by gluing Gareth’s phone together and calling him, making him fumble and look like an idiot, only to pick up the phone to a pointless message from Tim. Though I suspect this would be a risky thing to do if there are a lot of glass panels around the desk.

3) The Office Partition
After Gareth becomes too much of an annoyance, Tim decides to build makeshift partition panels by stacking several box files in between the two of them on their conjoined desks. Tim makes Gareth phone him to ask about a problem he has, then just walks off whilst Gareth details his problem. Of course, this will only work if the panels are boards. Otherwise you’ll still be able to see the face of that annoying colleague through glass!

4) The Brent Dance
This list just wouldn’t be complete without that classic moment where David is goaded into doing his dance routine which “fuses Flash Dance with MC Hammer”. The rhythmic claps soon fade to cricket claps, and then silence as the bemused staff watch David prance around whilst grunting with his bottom lip behind his front teeth. If any boss, or colleague, were to attempt this, I suspect it would get a similar mystified reaction by the staff.

Got any funny office pranks or stories you want to share? Comment below and share the laughs.

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James Duval works in an office as an IT Support manager whilst blogging for Applied Workplace, to which he finds a refreshing respite in the daily routine by writing about his interests.

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