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Phyllis Smith Admits She Was 'Oddly' Territorial About Her Space On The Office

It's funny how a person's workstation can become, in a way, like a second home to them. After all, for many people, this is the spot where they usually spend about eight hours a day for five days a week — and it's important that it feels as comfortable as possible. Whether it's a workstation in an office or at home, setting up a desk that helps get a person get through the long hours is imperative to stay sane and level. For Phyllis Smith, who plays Phyllis Vance on NBC's "The Office," these important desk details helped her feel comfortable, and she became very protective of that space.

Smith, playing a main character from the very first episode — as well as being the show's assistant casting director — had her own carved-out spot, just like the rest of the Dunder Mifflin employees featured on the series. Smith's character, Phyllis, was portrayed as a soft-spoken pushover who often fell victim to her boss Michael Scott's (Steve Carell) hilarious, self-serving antics.

From the start of the series, each employee of "The Office" had their own workstation and desk, which fans grew plenty familiar with. As the series moved from season to season, other offices in other locations came into play, but the Scranton spot was the one where the cast and viewers felt the most at home. For Smith, that workspace within the Dunder Mifflin office was the space that she considered hers alone.

Like in a real office, the actors claimed their own spaces

Fans of "The Office" who can draw an accurate map of the characters' office layout know that Pam's (Jenna Fischer) front desk is the first to be seen from the door, with Jim (John Krasinski) and Dwight's (Rainn Wilson) tandem desk just off to the left. With Michael's enclosed office overseeing the entire landscape, each individual character has their own spot in the background. One of these spots is for Phyllis, and as actress Phyllis Smith explained, even when the cameras weren't rolling, she still considered this her own personal workstation.

When chatting with Movie Web, Smith talked about her territorial protection over her fictional spot — and how she wasn't the only one on set who felt this way. "[It's] funny. We take ownership of that little space," she admitted. She went on to explain how they would even plant their flag on the desk's most important accessory. "Oddly, in real life, we go, 'Um, would you mind ... Getting out of that chair ... ' Because every chair has its own feel to it. I have become very territorial about my space there," Smith said. 

She also explained how she had a special bond with the people whose desks were connected to hers, making what she referred to as a "clump." "You don't talk to your manager the same way you talk to your desk clump person," she said.

She wasn't the only one who became attached to her space. It seems that each actor on "The Office" made their desk space a personal one. When showing off the set to MSNBC, Angela Kinsey pointed out details of Dwight's desk, including personal photos of the actor. "These are real pictures of Rainn's family," she said.