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Office atmosphere should be frenetic, fluid

New York magazine has a feature on the offices of prominent New Yorkers, from Martha Stewart to Michael Bloomberg. Martha’s was devoid of anything remotely resembling work, which perhaps indicates how much of it she gets done. (No word on where the insider trading occurred.)

But it was Bloomberg’s that really impressed me, because he doesn’t technically have an office. He eschewed Giuliani’s former digs and instead filled a large room with low-walled cubicles and called it “the Bullpen”.

The enormous, newsroom-style office houses 50 of his senior staff and aides. “I’ve never understood why anyone would want to seal himself off from the rest of the organization. In the Bullpen, there are no walls, no gatekeepers, and no communication barriers,” explains Bloomberg.

This is the ideal situation in my opinion, and it’s like that at a lot of accounting firms. We even call our version of that room the bullpen as well, so I hope Bloomberg doesn’t consider the name original. The problem with my firm’s office is the walls around everyone’s desks are too high. You have to stand up to see the desk beside you.

Having an office like this is good because you see everyone more and although noise may occasionally be a problem, that can easily be overcome by having some actual offices available for individuals or groups to set up in to have a more secluded session. For general use, the bullpen is best.

What are other accounting firms’ setups like? Do we all have bullpens? Is this the best way to organize an office to enhance communication between colleagues, or does it just hinder productivity? Tell me in the comments!

(Via kottke.)