Assessment of Workplace Settings
Staff & Office Space Needs Assessment
University vice presidents and unit heads are required to designate an assessment of unit operations to determine:
- On-campus staffing levels required to effectively and efficiently accomplish the unit’s work when the Fall semester begins and;
- Determine needed adjustments to physical spaces to comply with safety protocols related to distancing and room occupancy in the Fall semester.
- This information must be submitted in writing to the appropriate vice president.
Assessment of required on-campus staffing levels
Consider how many and which employees will be needed in the on-campus workspace during Fall semester to effectively and efficiently accomplish necessary tasks and roles. In doing so, determine:
- Which employees can effectively and efficiently continue to work from home indefinitely;
- How to reasonably accommodate employees who qualify as an individual at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if they request accommodation;
- How many of the remaining employees can occupy the workspace within occupancy limits and distancing protocols; and then
- Designate employee assignments to work from home indefinitely or report to campus to work as necessary.
After determining the number of employees physically needed in the on-campus setting at the same time (as described above), determine if current workstations and configurations fit the necessary criteria for distancing and occupancy limits.
- A distance of 6 feet from others must be maintained in open spaces. In open spaces, this requires 36 square feet per person. In spaces marked for fire code occupancy, a good rule of thumb is to divide the fire code occupancy in half for the new occupancy limit. Please note that this 6-foot rule applies to open spaces between people but does not apply if a barrier is in place. Thus, employees can be less than six feet apart if an office wall or other appropriate barrier is between them to effectively stop the spread of droplets.
- Please note that office cubicle spaces are not engineered to prevent the spread of disease or other agents. As such, cubicle walls are not an effective tool in isolating individuals. As a result, the requirement related to 6 feet of physical distancing should be determined without regard to the presence of a cublicle wall. To assist in physical distancing where cubicles are present, it may be necessary to consider occupying every other cubicle in order to maintain effective distancing.
- UC Planning, Design + Construction can assist with determining compliant occupancy restrictions as well as any changes needed in terms of appropriate signage. Floor plans for campus locations and space dimensions for such planning purposes can be found at https://space.uc.edu/. Point of contact for questions or consultation is Jamie Accurso, Director of Planning, at email@example.com
- No assessment is needed if employees have a private workspace, such as an enclosed office.
- If employees will be needed in the workspace and if the current space is not compliant with required distancing, this can be resolved with adaptations such as:
- Rearrangement of workstations, desks, etc.
- Staggered shifts among the employees, combined with daily cleaning and sanitizing by employees on such staggered shifts within a shared spaced.
Please note that COVID-19 physical space modifications cannot violate existing fire code regulations. Examples would include compliance with ingress/egress requirements, unimpeded sprinkler coverage, continued integrity of firewalls, etc. UC Public Safety can assist with compliance questions related to fire code considerations. Point of contact is K. Rob Schrand, Fire Safety Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prioritization of workplace assessments
University workspace assessments should be performed in a prioritized manner, with areas to be occupied soonest assessed first. Deadline for completing any needed assement of general office, general gathering spaces and classrooms / workplace settings would be the end of June, prior to any phased return of employees beginning on July 1 (as outlined in the president's message of May 20).
- Research work settings: Faculty, staff and students will begin returning to research spaces on June 1, though some critical research has continued on site throughout the remote work period. Those labs and studios that have been in continuous use and those to be reoccupied first should be assessed first.
- General offices needed to support operations: Any office space currently in use by essential personnel or intended for use at any time during the Summer semester will require assessment.
- General gathering spaces, lobbies and common areas: Spaces that may be used for on-campus activities during Summer semester will require assessment before use.
- Classrooms: Before Fall semester use, primary assessment of classrooms will be performed by UC Planning, Design + Construction, with subsequent faculty input to determine final adjustments based on teaching preferences.
- Other: Any additional space not needed during Summer semester but intended for use in Fall semester will require assessment.