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Remote Working for the Characters from ‘The Office’

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

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Here's a wild thought: what if the characters of 'The Office (US)' worked remotely and the show was a remote workplace comedy? Hear me out for a second.So it all started when a couple of months ago. John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) started a fun, light-hearted channel called 'Some Good News'. Weekly episodes are coming out, and I recommend checking them out if you're looking for some short, feel-good video clips.In one of the episodes, he managed to pull together a surprise and an extraordinary reunion of the old The Office US cast. Now, I LOVE The Office, having seen the entirety of the series on two separate occasions (not including the last two seasons without Steve Carrell's character, Michael Scott who is the heart and soul of the show) it was pretty special to see them come together so many years.Watching the reunion and seeing them appear in The Brady Bunch Zoom format (below) it gave me a crazy thought, but how would the staff of Dunder Mifflin function if in a work-from-home or entirely remote working setup? Would it work? What would the Slack channels of the Dunder Mifflin, Scranton branch look like? One thing is for sure- it would be utter, comedic chaos!And since writing this article, I've discovered that there's already a remote workplace comedy in the works from two former EP's of 'The Office.'Here's how I think it would play out-

1. Michael Scott- Infuriating on Water-cooler Channels

Michael ScottA virtual water cooler is an arena where colleagues can chat about things other than work. Generally, on a separate communications stream (on Slack or other team collaboration tools as a different channel), they are often a much-needed break from non-stop work conversations.In saying that, Michael Scott would be an absolute menace on virtual water cooler channels. A procrastinator and major attention seeker, Michael will do anything to remain the center of attention. And in a remote working setup, the Virtual Water Cooler channel will be his place to shine! Whether it would be sending constant 'that's what she said jokes' or crude and inappropriate memes, he would go to the nth degree to find ways to annoy everyone.

2. Jim and Pam- Finally, an End to their Awkward Cringe Banter

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I HATED the will-they-won't-they love saga between Jim and Pam. And one of the main reasons is their cringe across office interactions throughout the earlier seasons. It's a relationship that was forced and received more airtime than it should have.In saying that, in a remote working setup, none of that would be possible! No more weird smirks from Jim and no more eye-stares every time Dwight does something funny/stupid. If they want to interact, they can message or call each-other and communicate like rational human beings.

3. Dwight - A Nightmare on Zoom Meetings

Dwight's lack of social skills would be hilarious (and extremely frustrating) to see play out in a work-from-home setup. Think of the annoying guy in your team that has poor remote-communication etiquette, multiply their behaviour by ten and only then will you come somewhere close to Dwight's levels of ineptitude.On a Zoom conference call, Dwight would be the guy who is bound to drive you crazy by:Constantly typing loudly throughout the call (possibly with a hammer?) Having loud and painfully echoey background noises, which he doesn't seem to hear. Talking over everyone due to network lag.

4. Dwight- The Remote Team Micromanager

Micromanagement is an issue that plagues a lot of newly transitioned remote team setups. To build a more independent and fluid environment, a culture of support and trust is a must. And unfortunately, Dwight Schrute has very little of it.Whether incessantly following up for documents on Slack, or setting up Zoom calls for action statuses in which emails would suffice, Dwight would struggle not to be able to breathe down the neck of his coworkers. In saying that, it would also open a whole new arena of pranks that Jim could pull on him!

5. Meredith- Zoom Happy Hour Mayhem

We all know a coworker that always gets a little too wild at office events who drinks a little too much and generally makes an ass of themselves. That person in Dunder Mifflin, Scranton, is Meredith Palmer. Meredith is often alluded to be an alcoholic, often arriving to work hungover and  the most intoxicated at office parties.But how would she be able to handle working from home? Not well. Being cooped up at home, away from her favorite bars and clubs, Zoom happy hours would end up being her primary outlet to let her hair down a little - the dismay of most of her coworkers.

6. Conclusion

I would love for a reunion special for 'The Office' cast to play out the above. 'The Office' always did an impeccable job in reflecting workplace dynamics and their everyday quirks and seeing a 2020 version of them on how they would work during lockdown would be hilarious.Are there other characters you think would act differently or ones you think I've missed? I would love to hear your thoughts and update this post with your ideas!
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