The iconic red stapler coveted by Milton was created for the film by the prop department. They needed a bright enough color to be seen on film and chose red. After the film was released, Swingline began to receive requests from customers for red staplers. Having stopped offering red a number of years before, they made the decision to start offering the color once more.
A square peg in a round hole is an idiomatic expression which describes the unusual individualist who could not fit into a niche of his or her society. The company, Initech, had a statue at the entrance of a square peg in a round hole.
After poor box office, the movie gained cult status on video. Mike Judge has said more people talk to him about this movie than any project he has ever worked on. Judge was offered a chance to make a sequel "Office Space 2: Still Renting," but said that he had been through enough anguish over the first one that he didn't want to put himself through the experience again.
The directory that the bank software virus is stored on is "C:/LR427/Virus_CDEF" CDEF is a virus that dates back to 1990 and affected Macintoshes. It infects desktop files and can cause system crashes, anomalous behavior, and printing problems. It is obsolete now and was mostly harmless. It should be noted that "C:" relates to MS-DOS and MS-Windows.
Milton was actually based on an old co-worker that Mike Judge worked with during his days as an engineer. One day, Judge went to the man and asked him how he was doing, and the worker began talking about how he was going to quit his job because he was forced to move his desk around too many times.
Chotchkie's is a take-off on the popular T.G.I. Friday's restaurant chain. The T.G.I. Friday's waiting staff wear striped shirts and suspenders adorned with buttons and name tags. The restaurants themselves are frequently decorated with assorted knick-knacks and memorabilia. A reference is made to T.G.I. Friday's when someone mentions "Thank God it's Friday" while at the restaurant.
The infamous "PC Load Letter" error that confounded Michael Bolton is a message that the printer was out of, or not recognizing the refill of Letter-sized (8.5x11 inches) paper. "PC" stands for "Paper Cartridge". Older model HP Laserjet printers commonly display this error. This error also occurs when attempting to print a non-letter-sized project onto letter-sized paper.
In one memorable scene, Michael Bolton laments having the same name as the singer, calling him a "no-talent ass-clown." In 2015, the real Michael Bolton appeared in a Funny or Die video in which he was digitally inserted into several scenes from the movie, replacing his namesake character. He repeated the lines verbatim with one exception: he called himself an "extremely talented ass-clown."
Peter mentions that he (and presumably the other programmers) are working on fixing the "year 2000 problem" in Initech's banking software. This issue, often referred to as "Y2K" or the "millennium bug", was a real problem dealt with by many companies in the late 1990s. Peter accurately describes the issue as being related to a space-saving shortcut used by programmers (mostly in the 1960s-70s) where the year portion of date-related data was stored as two digits (e.g. "75" instead of "1975"). The expectation was that software written in such a way would fail -- perhaps catastrophically -- when the year changed from 1999 ("99") to 2000 ("00"). However, largely thanks to a massive effort on the part of the software and financial industries, most of the issues were resolved before the deadline, and the millennium change occurred with few issues.
Mike Judge has quoted "It seems like every city now has these identical office parks with identical adjoining chain restaurants." The specific adjoining restaurants in the movie, Chotchkie's, Chili's and Flingers were directly inspired by the three restaurants that used to be at the corner of O'Connor Blvd and Hwy 114 in Irving, TX: Bennigans, Chili's and Frijoles (all closed in 2007). This intersection is in the dead center of the Las Colinas business complex and is the epitome of Corporate America.
The abbreviation TPS (as referenced in the infamous "TPS Report") is undefined in the final cut of the film. TPS is used in the software industry to stand for "Test Procedure Specification", which is a set of steps used by quality assurance testers to follow in testing a given software feature; given this meaning, however, a "TPS Report" would make little sense. Director/creator Mike Judge has said (after innumerable queries from fans) that he meant the abbreviation to stand for "Test Program Set".
One of the promotions for this film invited people in certain cities to watch and participate in the bashing of office equipment. There was also an Internet campaign that linked to a web site where people could expose their bad bosses.
According to Richard Riehle, his first day on set as Tom Smykowski, was in the character's full body cast. Riehle said the production didn't have a special effects coordinator on set, which meant an EMT had to help Riehle put on the full body cast. Riehle said it was a two hour process to put on and an hour to take off.
On Peter's personnel file, his address is shown to be 191 N. Lamar, Flander, IL 77070. (77070 is actually the zip code for Houston, Texas. N. Lamar is a major thoroughfare in Austin, TX where The Alligator Grille (filming location for Chotchkie's) was located.) His mother's name is Suzi Gibbons and lives at 11004 Marble Rd., Erie, NY 05452 (actually a Vermont zip code).
While in the car to Tom's party, Peter, played by Ron Livingston mentions to Joanna that the Nazis had "pieces of flair" they made Jews wear. In Band of Brothers (2001), Livingston's character of Lewis Nixon assists in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp.
The scene where the trio smash up the printer in a field was parodied by Family Guy S7 E2 "I dream of Jesus" where Brian and Stewie, sick of the Surfin' Bird song, steal Peter's copy and smash it to pieces.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Milton reveals his intentions to burn down the building 19 minutes into the movie. During his and Peter's phone conversation as Peter is trying to clean up his desk to leave, Milton tells him that "if they take my stapler, I'll have to...I'll set the building on fire."
During Smykowski's car mauling scene, Richard Riehle said the shot took six times, contingent on a tree and a windy day. The shoot depended on the tree not blowing in the wind, as the final shot contained the tree being still.