January: officially the worst month of the year. It all starts with having to go back to work after a long and glorious Christmas holiday, but making that leap from being horizontal and inhaling chocolates to being vertical and paying attention is a tricky one at the best of times. Check out the complete S1-9 box set of The Office: An American Workplace, available now on demand, to give you some inspiration on why going back to work doesn't always have to be taxing.
1. A good prank will pass the time
Take some advice from Jim: pranking makes the day go faster. As long as there's an unwilling subject – say, the office brown-noser – and as long as the prank doesn't venture in that grey area marked "criminal damage" then prank way. Stick a stapler in some jelly! Cover a desk in tin-foil! As long as one of you is laughing then it's all in the name of fun!
2. Your boss is so unfunny it's actually quite amusing
Work can be tough and humour can be a great way to shake off the shackles of the working day, even if just for a minute – it's such a shame that your manager is a complete and total humour vacuum. His office is a black hole of comedy: it's where jokes go to die. Yet in its own way, having a third-rate knock-off Brighton Pier comedian as a boss has its upsides – watching his jokes crash and burn always makes you smile.
3. An empty warehouse makes for a stress-free zone
Returning to work after the Christmas break can be a stressful time. You know what always helps to relieve stress? Dance! Also a long holiday. But mainly dance! Do what Andy Bernard does and find a free moment in your office's warehouse, then kick off your Sunday shoes, pump up the Kenny Loggins and dance like nobody's watching (although obviously the warehouse CCTV will be watched and laughed at by the warehouse staff).
4. The office policy on outdoor activities is healthy
Management don't want you sat on your gluteus maximus staring at a screen all day – you're no good to them with slipped discs and carpal tunnel syndrome. Go outside! Get some exercise in your lunch break! Go for a run, or perhaps join up with some of the lads in the office for some free-running! Get the blood pumping sufficiently so you can come back inside, sit down at your desk and continue your sedentary lifestyle.
5. Office chores can be fun!
So Janine in HR is always on your case about properly rinsing your mug and there's almost always a passive aggressive note taped to the microwave about cleaning it, but there's no reason keeping the office tidy has to be hard work. Take a leaf out of Pam's book and create a chore wheel to fairly distribute all the menial tasks to everyone – in a fun way! If you keep using the word "fun", people might eventually think it's fun!
6. Those internet fads? Your office is all over them
The Mannequin Challenge. The Harlem Shuffle. Lip Dubs. Planking. The Ice Bucket Challenge. If there's a semi-annoying internet fad that everyone else is doing on social media, then chances are your office has to be involved too. And despite your grumpy cynicism, you begrudgingly kinda like being involved – as long as you can subvert the fad from within.
7. There might be a motivational speaker
Nothing livens up a dull day at the office like a motivational speaker. Maybe it's a guy who's here to unlock the mysterious secrets of Microsoft Excel. Maybe it's the building owner coming in tell you about changes to parking regulations. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get someone in an advisory role, like Prison Mike here. Either way, it sure beats sitting staring at your screen.
8. Office relationships can be incredibly fulfilling
Sandra in Analytics has been giving you the eye for months now – and you're pretty sure the joke she makes every time you ask her if she takes sugar in her tea (she's sweet enough!) is for your ears only. Why not go all in and ask her out? Just imagine the convenience: the office is where your work is and also where your girlfriend is! There is literally no downside to this whatsoever! Just make sure you're a Jim and not a Ryan.
9. The banter is off the hook
Nobby in Sales gets it. Pete Muntford in Mobile gets it. That new guy with the mole on his lip, he gets it. Workplaces are all about banter. When energy is low in the afternoon and the office legends get together, el banter will flow. Think of it as a positive service for the rest of the office – a morale boost, if you will. There's no bants quite like office bants. Ayyy!
10. Fire drills can be a form of entertainment
What's that sound? The rare thrill of a fire drill. Get your coat! Leave your stuff! Head for the fire exit! Not that one, that one! Goodness, there sure are a lot of people on the stairs! If this wasn't a drill surely the hundreds of people trapped here would die! Still, as long as your fire marshall isn't an evil genius in the Dwight Schrute mold, you should all get out of his harmless fire safety drill alive.
11. If meetings are boring, you can always ditch them
If you feel your eyes starting to droop due to the incessant droning coming from the speaker in the room, chances are the meeting has hit rock bottom. There is only one course of action – escape! Take inspiration from Pam and Jim: there is no boring lecture or afternoon meeting that cannot be ditched (although it does help if you are pregnant).
12. Dress-down Fridays let you be you
When you can hear that weekend calling you, you don't want to be strangled by your suit and tie. Slide into Saturday via Casual Friday, and head to the office wearing a relaxed (yet appropriate) outfit. Things to consider: bermuda shorts are a no no; shirts are definitely required; if you are a woman, like Meredith here, either show cleavage or leg but not both. Actually, even if you are not a woman, this still applies.
13. The office dunce always makes you feel better about yourself
Every office has one. The idiot. The punchbag. The dunce. You'd feel bad for them if they weren't so consistently inept. How do they still have a job? They must be on some sort of special "help in the community" programme. The dunce in your office makes Kevin from Accounts look like Employee Of The Month, but at least the fact he sits next to you makes you look better by comparison.
14. Those mandatory health and safety seminars can occasionally be interesting
You might think you already know the correct way to bend your knees and lift something heavy, but do you know how to deal with a homicidal maniac who has broken into your office and stolen someone's face? Dwight wants to ensure that all of his colleagues are prepared for any eventuality, and so should you be.
15. Remember: there's no feeling quite like quitting time
Sure, work kinda sucks and your colleagues make you crazy and your annoying boss is going to drive you to an early grave, but when that clock ticks over to 5.30pm, there's no better feeling. If you're lucky, maybe your office has a leaving ritual like Dunder Mifflin under Andy Bernard's leadership. Or maybe you just slip out before the clock has even hit 5.31pm. You did it! You survived!
Find The Office complete seasons 1-9 box set in On Demand > Box Sets > Comedy
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