What Not to Do in an Office According to ‘The Office’

“The Office’’ is an HR person’s nightmare. NBC UNIVERSAL

It has been nearly two years since NBC’s “The Office’’ left us without a weekly dose of workplace antics.

But just because the show is over, doesn’t mean there aren’t “Office’’ lessons to be learned — especially what not to do in the workplace. spoke with Michelle Roccia, executive vice president of employee engagement at WinterWyman, about how to avoid the things that make folks in human resources cringe.

1. Casual Friday, shockingly, does not mean birthday suit Friday.

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Roccia: “You should never go in and bare as much skin as this lovely lady is. With casual Friday it depends on your environment. It depends on what is good for your particular company, but certainly not tube tops too short to bend over and pick up copy paper.’’

2. “That’s what she said’’ is not okay to yell across the office.

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Roccia: “This is offensive. You may have a friendly relationship with someone but you have to be mindful of the people around you. You have to be thoughtful so you aren’t saying it in a public place that could be offensive to someone else. You don’t know other peoples’ sense of humor. If you don’t know the person that well or if someone is in earshot — when it doubt keep it out.’’

3. If your significant other also works in your office, public displays of affection (PDA) are extremely inappropriate.

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Roccia: “Romance is going to happen in the office especially if you hire great people that are smart and hardworking and similar to you. Keep PDA outside of the office. It’s okay that people know.’’


4. Don’t tell a coworker to “take a letter opener and stick it into your skull.’’

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Roccia: “Not only is it inappropriate, its illegal. We are not going to like everyone that we work with, but never appropriate to threaten someone. There is no place for that in the office.’’

5. The office definitely is not the best place to tell a co-worker you are pregnant in order to get him/her to date you.

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Roccia: “Not appropriate to bring it into the office. They are within earshot of other people and it puts people in an awkward position. Think about the other people involved. It is also distracting.’’

6. Thinking of stereotypes is not a good way to celebrate “diversity day.’’

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Roccia: “We wouldn’t play this. There is definitely diversity training but its really about sensitivity training. We have discrimination laws in the work place where it wouldn’t be appropriate to do diversity training like this.’’

7. Setting a fire drill to get people to understand fire safety is not an option.

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Roccia: “I am all about leading by example, but this is a little overkill. This isn’t the way we do it. There are multiple ways to train people, but certainly not setting a fire. Also some laws make this particular example illegal as well.’’

Have you ever been in an awkward position at work? Fill us in via the comments section below.

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