insight magazine

IN Play | Summer 2017

Adventures in an Open Office

The open-office concept is all the rage again.
Sarah Herrmann ICPAS Assistant Director, Member Outreach

The open-office concept is all the rage again. I see more and more firms and companies making the move as I make site visits. Looking to inspire more collaboration and freshen up our office, the Illinois CPA Society staff workspace recently underwent renovations to achieve a more open-office look and feel, too.

At first, I was excited to find out about the coming renovation. Then, admittedly, I was unsure. What would I do with all the giveaways and event materials crammed in my large filing cabinets? After six years in the same cubicle, it felt like home. Would I like my new space and location? I had to take a tip from our Young Professionals’ Leadership Conference: Evolve—I had to embrace flexibility.

So, in preparation for the big move, I put on my game face, found a new place to stash my giveaways, cleared out a ton of old, unnecessary files, and discovered I have a tendency to hoard Post-It pads (but that’s a story for a different day).

Honestly, it’s been liberating to let go of so much clutter. I also learned a few other things— take note if an open-office is coming your way:

Inside voices are always appreciated. Whether you’re on the phone or chatting with a coworker, noise travels much further in an open office—and it’s easier to be distracting or get distracted.

Smelly lunch food should stay in the staff lounge. I’m an eat-at-my-desk kind of girl, so I’ve been made more aware of the smells I’m introducing to the office—sorry!

Privacy is still precious. No walls or low cube walls might make it tempting to pop your head into your neighbor’s space: resist! Constantly interrupting coworkers because it’s convenient is annoying. On the flip side, some conversations happen more naturally because of closer proximities. I urge you to be sensitive to everyone’s space and need for privacy.

Overall, having a funky, updated environment definitely makes me feel energized, and the newfound sunlight stretching into our office is refreshing, too. The renovation has been a good lesson in embracing change.

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