The Future of Post Pandemic ‘Work Space’ Planning: Tri-Campus Working Group

From: Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships
Date: July 9, 2021
Re: The Future of Post Pandemic ‘Work Space’ Planning: Tri-Campus Working Group

The Future of Post Pandemic ‘Work Space’ Planning: Tri-Campus Working Group has been formed to develop guidelines and best practices that will help direct the University in future decision-making on the type(s) of new space(s) to build, renovate, and rehabilitate that will be most beneficial to the broader institution.

In the short-term, the Group will provide 2021-22 tri-campus guidance on space accommodation, recognizing that much will be learned during the full academic year, and that adjustments will need to be made along the way.  To that end, the Group will periodically provide a guidelines and best practices document.  The focus thus far has been exclusively on the University’s central administrative offices and support areas.  The initial guidelines are summarized below and can be read in the first Institutional Guidelines and Best Practices document. 

Guidelines and Best Practices

  1. In order to ensure that each campus is vibrant, actively supports student life and reflective of the University’s standing as an engaging, diverse, inclusive, and accessible academic environment, fully remote work arrangements will not normally be approved by University administration.
  2. Provided the delivery of services is not compromised, hybrid working arrangements where-in staff work out of the office on an agreed upon ratio will normally be approved by University administration. 
  3. When working remotely it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure an ergonomic work space and sufficient network capacity to fully function with the rest of the team.
  4. To promote the efficient and optimal use of University space, staff transitioning into a hybrid working arrangement will normally be expected to share space (both workstations and private offices, as applicable) while in the office. The type of sharing arrangement will be determined at a departmental and divisional level. 
  5. The institution will consider exceptions to guideline (4) above in the event that:
  • service conducted by a staff member would be compromised should they not be provided with a dedicated space (examples include confidentiality, document security, etc); and/or,
  • a staff member requires dedicated space to ensure equity, diversity, and inclusion in the execution of services.
  • a staff member requires accommodation due to a medical condition.

Local adaptation and innovation are expected and the Group members will continue to share lessons learned: What works?  What does not?  How can we improve and learn from each other, and be nimble?  Ultimately, the Group will look to create a toolkit that images new environments based on best forward-thinking practices to assist in the transition of various groups navigating into hybrid or fluid post pandemic working environments, with differing specific needs, accommodations, and solutions.

Topics the Group will continue to explore through 2021-22 include, but are not limited to:

  1. Different way of working: a spectrum
  2. Re-imaging Spaces
  3. Systems Support
  4. Transition support
  5. Ongoing monitoring, measuring, and improvement

Working Group Membership:

  • Scott Mabury, Vice-President Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (OREP) (co-Chair)
  • Christine Burke, Assistant Vice-President, University Planning, OREP (co-Chair)
  • Tom St. Ivany, Director, Facilities and Infrastructure, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
  • Vince Tropepe, Vice-Dean, Research, Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Mary Lyne, Chief Administrative Officer, Rotman of School of Management
  • Dev Chopra, Chief Administrative Officer, Faculty of Medicine
  • Helen Huang, Chief Administrative Officer, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
  • Aldo DiMarcantonio, Chief Administrative Officer, Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Chief Administrative Officer, UTM (TBC)
  • Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, UTSC
  • Heather Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life
  • Ron Saporta, Chief Operating Officer, OREP
  • Trevor Rodgers, AVP, Planning & Budget
  • Bo Wandschneider, Chief Information Officer, OREP
  • Sean Suleman, Executive Director, CAHRS & Workplace Investigations