How productive would The Office and other iconic TV office sets be in real life?

From ‘The Office UK’ to ‘Suits’, ‘Succession’ and ‘The IT Crowd’, it’s interesting to imagine living and working in a fictional world from our favourite TV shows.

With this in mind and following a 1300% increase in interest for the term ‘office redesign’ since pre-pandemic¹, office design and fit-out specialists, Opus 4 developed a new ranking of the top ten best office TV shows and analysed video clips and images from the fictional office spaces to suggest how they could improve employee productivity and wellbeing with office design.

The new ranking² reveals the top ten most popular office-based TV shows are:

  1. Succession
  2. Madmen
  3. The Office US
  4. Peep Show
  5. The Office UK
  6. Parks and Recreation
  7. Severance
  8. Suits
  9. Call my agent 
  10. The IT crowd

When analysing the office design and environment, Alison Rowbottom, Senior Interior Designer at Opus 4, highlights three main themes; lack of greenery and natural lighting, chaotic clutter and lack of collaboration and breakout areas.

Alison commented that both ‘Suits’ and ‘Succession’ – shows based in busy cities – would benefit from biophilic design to enhance air quality and overall employee wellbeing: “Over the years, research has increasingly shown that incorporating greenery in the workplace can help decrease stress and increase productivity, creativity and attention span.” Similarly, simply adding more greenery and branding to ‘The Office US’ workspace would make the office seem more appealing and encourage employees to spend more time in the office.

“Being chained to a desk space all day is unlikely to produce productive employees in real life. Alison explained how offices like the one in ‘Suits’ and ‘Madmen’ should incorporate breakout spaces: “Creating less of a divide between management and employees to encourage more face-to-face interactions will improve employee confidence and productivity. Implementing break-out spaces where employees can relax, brainstorm and simply chat would also encourage staff to collaborate and be more productive”. 

Many shows in the top ten had chaotic environments filled with clutter, whether it be overflowing drawers or untidy desks. Alison advises how to minimise mess in the office: “A clean desk policy and more storage is a necessity. Simple things like computer screens on monitor arms and personal locker areas to put belongings will reduce clutter on desks. Wall-to-floor organisational storage would also be a neat and modern way to keep offices tidy and regulated.”

Employee-focused office design is critical in the current climate. Sarah Rose Haigh, Head of Design at Opus 4, summarises: “There is much evidence that a positive and well-designed workplace increases employee retention, productivity and wellbeing. With the development of hybrid working, employees pay more attention to the benefits and drawbacks of office surroundings when they aren’t working from home.  

“It’s crucial that as an employer, you consider the physical working environment of employees. High-quality and well-thought-out office design can lead to a less stressful and more productive atmosphere where employees feel comfortable and calm to produce their best work.”

You can find a breakdown of each fictional office design here: https://opus-4.com/blog/office-design-experts-rate-the-fictional-office-spaces-of-the-ten-most-popular-office-based-tv-shows/ 

Author: Editorial Team

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