Workspace and Office Guidelines

Workspace

Workspaces are going to look and feel different from before because of physical distancing requirements and minimizing touchpoints. Distance between people and workspaces must be kept 6 feet apart at a minimum. While developing your workspace plan, please remember that safety and fire codes still apply. The following guidance is for your department areas only. Facilities management, in cooperation with FDCB and Space Management, is managing common building areas including elevators, stairwells, restrooms, and building entrances and exits. Please do not modify these areas or post additional signage in these common areas

COVID-19 Site Supervisor

A site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor shall be designated by the program at every location to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 location safety plan. They must keep the plan current with changes to COVID-19 guidelines. A designated COVID-19 Supervisor must be available at all times during work and class activities.There can be more than one Site Supervisor designated for your area so long as they are all familiar with the procedures.

Visual Inventory

Taking an inventory of your space is a good first step. You can find all floor plans on Western’s website. If you must visit the campus in person to inventory your space, make sure you have the proper authorization. Pay particular attention to areas where people tend to gather (e.g. open workspaces, public interaction areas like reception desks, etc.) and think through how you might implement these guidelines for a safe workspace.

Take inventory of your workspace:

  • For employees to maintain proper physical distancing, it is a minimum of 28 square-foot (i.e. a circular area with a 3-foot radius surrounding each person) allotment per person. Take your square footage and divide by 28. The answer is the maximum amount of people you can safely accommodate. Here’s an example:

280 sq. ft. of office space ÷ 28 = No more than 10 people in the space at once, distanced

  • How many offices do you have?
  • How many “open work areas” (i.e. shared tables with workstations) do you have?
  • What options do you have for creating isolated workstations?  This could mean repurposing a conference room with work stations distanced 6 feet apart.

Physical Distancing

To support a 6 feet apart office environment (Note: each office setup is unique so filter this with what will apply to your area).

  • Fill out a Transport Services e-form to get help moving workstations 6 feet apart.
  • Eliminate any work areas where employees sit face-to-face, or put a barrier between them.
  • If partitions are needed, fill out a ReADY request, as it may require an interior design plan.
  • Designate every other workstation as an active workstation and mark others as “do not use”.
  • Mark “do not use” on extra chairs and tables. This includes spaces like lobbies or waiting areas.
  • Consider adding traffic flow arrows or 6 feet apart markers on the floor to help physical distancing in areas like hallways and commonly used equipment, e.g. copiers.

Conference Rooms

  • Conference rooms could be repurposed as workspaces if 6 feet between them can be maintained. First, identify the unit managing the conference room and plan accordingly based on that information.
  • In-person meetings should be avoided. Conference rooms should only be used for meetings when necessary and if 6 feet of distance can be maintained between all meeting participants. Follow the same rule for the use of office space, and allow for movement: On average, a 4 – 6 person conference room will be reduced by 50% to 2 – 3 people in order to comply with physical distancing.
  • Remove all loose objects such as markers, pens and erasers. Put a container of disinfectant wipes in the room to wipe down remote controls.
  • Furniture in conference rooms should be rearranged to meet the 6 feet apart requirement, removed, or marked “do not use”.

Break Rooms, Small Kitchens and Vending Machines

  • Furniture in break rooms should be rearranged, removed or marked “do not use” to meet the 6 feet apart requirement.
  • Small kitchens and food preparation areas should be evaluated to eliminate or minimize the sharing of tools and equipment.
  • Food should not be shared between co-workers or left out/open for public consumption, i.e. no potlucks; no unpackaged goodies left out for people to take.
  • The Custodial staff regularly disinfect vending machines. However, it is highly recommended that you use the surface of a tool like a pencil or pen to push buttons while using the vending machine.

Workspace Cleaning

Western’s custodial teams clean public spaces, general use and departmental classrooms regularly. Individual workspaces are not regularly cleaned or disinfected by custodial staff. Employees are encouraged to regularly clean/disinfect their own work areas. 

  • Obtain cleaning products through the Western Marketplace. Please note that basic cleaners will kill COVID-19 on hard surfaces.
  • Sanitize public or frequently used touchpoints, e.g. credit card machines and kiosks regularly.
  • Wipe down and disinfect surfaces used at the end of every day.
  • Sanitize equipment that passes through hands (e.g. department checkout keys, staplers).
  • Remove items from the office such as magazines and common pens.
  • Designate a Department Supply Coordinator to act as a point of contact for understanding current workspace cleaning recommendations, receiving and distributing supplies received from Facilities Management, and making requests for further supplies, considering supplies are limited.

Office Equipment

If there is office equipment that your staff uses on a regular basis, you will want to factor in how to use it while also practicing physical distancing and proper disinfecting protocol.

  • Check in with employees who are working remotely to ensure they have appropriate equipment for their workspace.
  • Equipment should fit into the “6 feet apart” workspace guideline.
  • If the equipment is not fixed or secured and can safely be moved to promote better physical distancing, that should be done.
  • Eliminate, as much as possible, shared use of equipment or work tools, e.g. headphones, phones, computers, laptops, or mechanical tools.
  • Equipment that must be shared should have their touch surfaces sanitized after each use.
  • Support purchase of equipment that will allow continued virtual meetings. Webcams allowing you to see the other people in a meeting provides a greater social connection that many people rely on in the workplace.

Visual aids/Posters

Additional signage will be provided to you for posting in your department areas to remind people about the important safety measures and precautions being taken.

Supplies

Procurement and Facilities Management have developed a checklist for departments to determine which products they may require upon return to campus. Please purchase any supplies through the Western Marketplace using the COVID-19 Catalog.

During COVID-19 certain products are often delayed or unavailable. Procurement is working hard to secure supply of essential products using a centralized approach to ensure security of supply and control of price.

Additional notes

  • If the area has windows that open, consider opening them when weather permits.
  • Natural light is considered beneficial as it has a negative effect on the virus, so open blinds if possible.
  • As a supervisor, you may face questions about why these changes have been implemented. Discuss these changes openly with your staff and encourage them to be actively involved in the process to maintain a safe workspace. You may also need to remind your staff about the importance of not changing things like the layout of workstations, signage, etc.

Resources

Please continue to encourage frequent hand washing and ask your staff to follow these practices