There have been some truly great movies and TV shows set in office spaces of all shapes and sizes. Some are such fun, attractive, dynamic executive suites they make you wish you were a staff member. Who didn’t want to work from the Runway Magazine offices in the Devil Wears Prada, the Google offices from the Internship or the futuristic space in Minority Report? Others are such terrible, oppressive, dull settings they make you grateful for the workplace you currently inhabit. These office settings are so evocative of the experience of working life that they become a character of their own.

The use of office spaces as a mood-setter speaks to the importance of the atmosphere in a workplace. Choosing a positive, visually-pleasing space for your workplace can have a serious impact on the productivity and morale of employees. If you’re setting up a new office here are some prime examples of what not to do.

The Cubicle Farm

The first offender on the list is the dreaded “cubicle farm” office space. These are the most common, lambasted office settings in the white-collar world today. First portrayed in full dismay in films like the Apartment and Working Girl, this office suite is a cold, boxy, open space with hideous fluorescent lighting, zero personality, and cubicles as far as the eye can see. There is no escape from prying coworkers, the grating voice of the nearby receptionist, or the boss looking for unpaid overtime. One of the most famous and soul-crushing examples can be seen in the classic workplace comedy Office Space.

The Hectic Newsroom

In gripping newsroom dramas the hustle and bustle of digging up an exclusive story is heightened by the brash, messy chaos of its office setting. The newsrooms featured in classics All the President’s Men and the Absence of Malice typified the genre with harshly-lit fluorescent ceilings, messy, cluttered cubicles and a general lack of colour. The Washington Herald office in House of Cards, and Washington Globe in State of Play show that little has changed in the way Hollywood portrays the grind of the newsroom.

The Unkempt Basement Office

When Jen joins the team at Reynholm Industries she’s dismayed to discover she’s been delegated to the IT department in the basement of the building. As she descends conditions worsen until she finally arrives, forcing her way out of the elevator and into one of the worst offices in television history. With co-workers Moss and Roy, the IT team on hilarious British sitcom the IT Crowd, make the best of it, adding their own personal touch. But the dingy basement setting clearly demonstrates the lack of value placed on the IT department at Reynholm Industries.

The apex of terrible offices goes to poor Milton, relocated for the umpteenth time to the cockroach-infested basement in Office Space. It’s no wonder that when his beloved stapler goes missing Milton declares “that’s the last straw”, with disastrous results for the office building.

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