This week marked the series finale of beloved show “The Office.” For the past nine seasons, we have watched all the antics that went on at Dunder Mifflin, a fictional paper company and this ending has lead me to think about just what I’ve learned about business from watching the show.
Working from home can get lonely, especially when watching a fun work environment like the one on “The Office.” While the show was fictional, it had many situations that harkened to real life in an office environment. Sure you miss having co-workers occasionally but the show constantly reminded how much your productivity is boosted when working from home. Here are 5 business lessons we can take away from our favorite quirky workplace comedy.
1. Productivity = Every Man for Himself
A lot of time is wasted in a corporate office. Whether it’s from surfing the web, taking a longer than necessary lunch break, or workers being hungover. As we saw on The Office, sometimes your boss can be the reason for lack of productivity. Michael Scott was an exaggerated version of getting in the way of productivity. He would call meetings to get advice on his love life or other inappropriate topics. Warehouse worker Darryl put it best when Michael asked him his biggest fear and he responded, “that someone would distract me from getting my shipments out.
In SEO, you are the only one in charge of your productivity. If I take a longer than normal lunch break it only means I’ll have to make up for my hours later. My work is only about my results and the hours I put in to each client. If I allow distractions, I am taking away from the quality of my work and how much I get done in my allotted hours.
2. Keep it Casual to Win Clients
Though Michael Scott was not the best at keeping his office productive, it turned out he knew a thing or two about business and we can all learn something about how to close a deal and get the client. Your clients want to feel that they are important and building a personal relationship before closing the business deal can be helpful in securing the client. While playing Truth or Dare at Chili’s with a potential client like Michael Scott may not be the best way to land the deal, he played it right in talking about talking about a subject other than business before closing the deal. This puts the client at ease and having a more personal relationship with the client can help secure their business.
3. Forge Your Own Path
In business, the only way to move up is to push your way to the top. You should never be satisfied with where you’re at currently. By never being satisfied, you will continue to push yourself in order to get to the top. On “The Office,” though the rest of the employees underestimated Ryan, the temp, he secured a position in corporate. This is because he never stopped learning and developing new business ideas. In SEO, we can never stop learning and striving for new clients.
If you are working for an SEO company prove yourself by getting more links than expected. If you are the owner of an SEO company keep pushing your company to be the best at what you do. Continuing to learn and create your own SEO techniques is the best way to get ahead.
4. Find Something You Love
Many people don’t get to do their dream job. As Pam said “I don’t think it’s many little girls’ dream to be a receptionist.” On “The Office,” the employees all found something they loved about their job. Whether it was an office romance, or someone to pull pranks on, we can always find something we love in the career we have fallen in to.
We are lucky in SEO, because it’s not something you necessarily fall in to unless you love some aspect of it. Whether it’s the writing, the ability to make your own hours, or interacting with interesting clients, we can find something we love and something that makes the job worthwhile.
5. Separate Your Private Life From Your Work Life
Okay, it did work for Jim and Pam to have their private life and work life as one but it doesn’t work for everyone. On “The Office,” having the private life and work life collide created a lot of unnecessary drama and distraction. When you are working from home there is even more room to have your private life and working life collide. It is a good idea to take breaks throughout the day to get out of your home office to see friends or get lunch. Friends and family should be aware, however, that just because you are working from home it does not mean you aren’t working. You need to be distraction free to boost your productivity in order to spend time with loved ones after your work is finished.
I’ve learned a lot about business from the fictional friends at Dunder Mifflin and am sad to say goodbye following the final episode. At least we can always look back…and get a little bit of that Office feel while working sans co-workers from home!