When the writers of The Office were creating the show, they studied how people interacted in actual offices. Based on their research, they created Dunder Mifflin’s regional manager Michael Scott, whose off-color comments offend many of his peers and employees, and assistant manager Jim Halpert, who plays pranks on coworker Dwight Schrute. While funny onscreen, we know Michael’s and Jim’s behaviors would be considered bad behavior in our own workplaces. Still, many of us may be unsure of the boundaries for acceptable office conduct. For instance, is joking with a coworker appropriate? Or, is it okay for a colleague to repeatedly borrow your office supplies?
Fueling the uncertainty are changes in the work environment, including open office floor plans, greater diversity among our officemates, and flatter corporate hierarchies. While some etiquette basics still apply — dressing according to company norms, keeping your workspace tidy, and using office-appropriate language — we need to do more as leaders and team members to ensure our office behavior stays within the appropriate bounds...
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