Office Space


Office Space

Written by 
Mike Judge

Director Mike Judge
Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, Stephen Root, Gary Cole

Category    Ceasing Employment,Communication,Emotional Intelligence/ Emotions at workplace,Employee Feedback,Ethics,Job Satisfaction,Management,Motivation& Recognition,Organizational Culture      


20th Century Fox



Language English
89 min

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Office Space is a cult classic 1999 American comedy film satirizing work life in a typical 1990s software company. Written and directed by Mike Judge the film stars Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, the protagonist, Jennifer Aniston as Peter’s new love interest, Stephen Root, as Milton Waddams and Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh among others.

This hilarious movie is like the Bible on how to be a horrible boss / employer! There are a number of wrong policies and practices the company in this film implements which cultivate such a demoralising culture. Employees were given no challenge or motivation to perform their daily tasks. There was no recognition for going the extra mile. People were asked to work on weekends without some sort of reward or even acknowledgement.

Employees were suffocating and felt that they are not meant to sit in cubicles and watch screens all day, it was a motivation killer. But as long as staff were clocking in on time, managers were not interested in what they were doing during their working day.

More bad examples of a horrible corporate culture and bad practices follow: There was complete lack of clarity with regards to hierarchy levels. As the main movie character mentions at some point, he has 8 different bosses who tell him what to do! Who could work with so much accountability confusion! There was an employee who was fired five years earlier and nobody bothered to inform him and remove him from payroll!

On one occasion, one of the most annoying bosses, Bill Lumbergh, ignored the company rules by parking his Porche at the disabled car parking space when another employee took his spot. The bosses’ overall attitude towards their employees was annoying, their management style, their attitude, even their tone of voice when talking was patronising.

When a team of Consultants came in to do a restructure/efficiency exercise in the company, everyone felt threatened and insecure they will lose their jobs, which proved to be true. During the consultants’ private interviews with staff those who felt the pressure had extreme reactions, like one who was yelling at the consultants trying to prove that he has people skills without seeing the irony behind his words/action! The consultants did downsize by deciding to fire some employees and promoting and paying more money to others. This created a feeling of injustice among the affected staff that lost all respect to the company. Some of those affected even went to the extreme of deciding to harm their employer for personal gain using illegal means.

In the end, it is the disgruntled employee Milton, who had been fired 5 years earlier but hadn’t been notified who puts an end to everyone’s corporate misery. He sets fire to the building and our main character, Peter finds himself working in the office debris, as a construction worker doing manual labour but loving it because he finally sees some meaning to what he does!

If not for the bags of laughs this entertaining comedy has to offer, it definitely has some good examples of what to avoid if you don’t want your employees demoralised, demotivated and disengaged.

Contributed by: Yota Tsiokri, Kiki Kallis