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5 Times NBC’s ‘The Office’ Could Have Used a Virtual PBX

With classic scenes that still make us laugh nearly fifteen years later, there’s no doubt NBC’s “The Office” stood the test of time. However, we noticed a few spots when the mid-2000s office space could have used modern VoIP technology. From helping Pam answer the phones to avoiding the general mayhem we came to expect from our favorite Dunder Mifflin branch, here are some instances when “The Office” could have benefited from a modern business phone system. 

  1. Every Time Pam Answers the Phone

Pam from The Office could have benefitted from a virtual PBX

If the Dunder Mifflin office had a virtual PBX, Pam could have spent less time answering phones and more time learning graphic design or building her sales career. In fact, with VoIP, she wouldn’t have had to answer the phones at all.

With a VoIP-powered office phone system, auto-attendants can automatically answer and route all calls through a hosted PBX – incoming calls reach their destinations without a human receptionist.

Managers can also set and change recorded introduction messages and menu options easily with VoIP IVR (which would have spared Pam from memorizing and reciting Michael’s ridiculous greetings to callers).

  1. When Ryan Issues Company Cell Phones

The team at Dunder Mifflin weren’t happy about a new company policy that required them to use office-issued cell phones. In reality, who can blame them? Consumers do a fair bit of research before purchasing a personal phone; why would they want to have to use a different one for work? Does the policy require them to carry two phones around all the time?

Instead of juggling multiple phones, business VoIP solutions enable employees to make and receive calls with their work number on their own device. Many VoIP companies provide apps employees can download on their desktop, laptop or cell phone that gives them full VoIP capabilities on the device of their choice – including voicemail, texting and real-time alerts.

  1. When Kevin Can’t Transfer Calls

During Kevin’s brief time as Dunder Mifflin’s receptionist, he seems to botch every call he answers and resorts to yelling across the office to avoid transferring calls. When he does try to transfer them, he sends them to the wrong recipient, and the entire office comes together to coach him through a successful transfer.

Kevin from The Office could have used a VoIP PBX to transfer calls.

Here, a VoIP PBX system could have saved the day (and several calls) with automatic forwarding capabilities. If callers opt to talk to a live representative instead of choosing an IVR menu option, managers can have their calls automatically forward to an answering service, which can initiate a transfer if necessary.

Call groups also ease the forwarding process: Dunder Mifflin’s sales, accounting and administrative teams could have had their own separate call groups, and the auto-attendant could have forwarded incoming calls to the next available employee in the applicable call group.

  1. When Employees Miss Calls During Mandatory Meetings

Michael’s famous conference room meetings often didn’t allow employees to leave to take calls at their desk. Instead of missing business leads and sales calls, a cloud PBX system would have enabled employees to receive calls to their cell phone or shoot callers a quick text to schedule a callback for after the meeting.

  1. When Jim Faxes Dwight ‘From the Future’

During Jim’s time at Dunder Mifflin’s Stamford branch, he pranks Dwight by sending him faxes from “Future Dwight” – including one warning that the coffee’s been poisoned.

While we all love a good Dwight prank, we think Jim worked harder than he needed to for this one. If his office had VoIP, Jim could have electronically faxed Dwight, using his email to scan and send the documents directly to Dwight’s email address. Aside from the easy execution and quick delivery, the more modern technology would have made faxes from the future a little more believable.

Transform Your Office with VoIP Solutions

Michael Scott from The Office promotes office communication - a priority for VoIP PBX solutions.

While we don’t recommend pranking coworkers or circulating home-made rap videos to employees, there’s a lot to learn from “The Office.” Most importantly, communication is key – and business VoIP solutions connect employees and clients, modernize offices and improve team efficiency. Check out more of the benefits of 4Voice’s VoIP solutions in our infographic.


Amruth Laxman

About the Author

Amruth Laxman

25+ years of telecom experience, specializing in high availability software and systems, I’ve seen the transformative impact they have on businesses. As the founding partner of 4Voice, I deliver customized, reliable phone solutions and can’t wait to share my insights with you in this blog.

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