The University of Cincinnati Workspace Area Social Distancing
Assessment Tool
COVID-19 Office Space Safety Guidance and Smart Practices
Departmental Approval Process
Each unit is responsible for developing a physical workspace area assessment to meet mandated
workplace social distancing requirements. All areas should be modified using existing facilities
and equipment coupled with changes to daily, weekly, and/or other staffing assignments. All
changes and/or modifications to staffing schedules and workspace areas must be approved by
the respective Vice President or their designee. Note: the goal for every workspace assessment
is unit operations efficiency while prioritizing employee health and safety which includes
minimizing the number of employees returning to campus.
Responsible Protocols
The Ohio Department of Health has launched Responsible Restart Ohio based on five protocols
for all businesses that included sector specific operating requirements.
Five Protocols for all Businesses:
1. Require facial coverings for all employees and clients/customers at all times.
The University of Cincinnati requires that all employees wear facial coverings, except for
the following exceptions and/or as determined by UC Human Resources:
Facial coverings in the work setting are prohibited by law or regulation
Facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards
Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons
Facial coverings are in violation of the business’s documented safety policies
Facial coverings are not required when the employee works alone in an assigned
work area or vehicle
There is a functional (practical) reason for an employee not to wear a facial
covering in the workplace
2. Employees will conduct daily self-administered wellness checks.
Prior to coming to work each day, all employees should self-monitor for COVID-19
symptoms, including for a temperature equal to/greater than 100.4 F. Please view the
Center for Disease Control’s list of symptoms.
3. Maintain good hygiene at all times including handwashing, area sanitizing, and social
4. Clean and sanitize work spaces throughout the workday and between shifts.
Cleaning common areas by UC Facilities personnel will take place throughout the day.
However, units are required to wipe down high touch surfaces in their assigned office
areas on a regular basis.
5. Limit capacity to approved social distancing guidelines. Each work unit will perform an
internal workspace assessment to determine what modifications (space and staff) need
to be made to attain Ohio Department of Health (ODH) mandated acceptable workplace
social distancing. Schedule modifications for all staff will be considered as part of this
workspace assessment. Note: Minimize the number of employees returning to campus
while maintaining unit operational efficiency.
Other Considerations
All staff responsibilities that can be performed remotely (e.g. work from home) should continue
to be completed in a remote work environment. Those returning to campus will be required to
successfully complete an online COVID 19 related quiz via Human Resources Success Factors.
This will help employees to remain aware of Center for Disease Control and Ohio Department of
Health C19 guidelines.
Plan Your Return
1. First to return: Describe area(s) considered most critical to return and the minimum
number of employees required for efficient operations. Include number-of and percent-
of total employees. Create a schedule to ensure that a minimum number of employees
will be in a unit at any given time.
2. Phased Return: List areas/employees that can return through a series of phases in order
of priority.
3. Change to Operations: Describe changes to be made from previous routine operations,
such as office hours, schedule changes, staggered shifts, or workdays. Consider weekly
rotations for employees performing office responsibilities.
4. Student Employees: List modifications that need to be made for student employees
when returning. Consider social distancing requirements and schedule modifications.
Physical Workspace Changes
1. Layout: Identify changes that may need to be made to the layout of a workspace to
ensure proper social distancing of 6’ between employees. For example, employees with
a shared office space or workspaces less than six feet apart should be assigned alternate
workspaces or be placed on alternate schedules. Cubicle walls are not effective barriers
against the spread of COVID 19, therefore, employees need to ensure that staff in
cubicles are a minimum of six feet apart. If your unit has a waiting area, furniture may
need to be rearranged/removed or consider marking chairs with signs to discourage
people from using. Consider eliminating common seating areas (e.g. kitchens) or
rearranging space to discourage people from gathering in groups.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
2. Flow: The flow through your workspace may need to be reassessed to limit contact.
Close common areas like breakrooms/kitchens or strictly limit the number of employees
that may use those areas at one time. Be certain to require regular cleaning of high
touch surfaces. Remove or distance chairs to ensure six feet of separation. Close areas
of your facility that are not in use. Note: do not physically barricade or obstruct exits in
violation of building safety and fire codes.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
3. Queue: If students, faculty, staff or visitors need to wait in lines, mark the floor every six
feet to maintain proper social distancing.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
4. Barriers: If approved by the respective VP, use sturdy, clear plastic barriers to separate
customers and public-facing/stationary employees which will block possible droplets
moving from one person to another. Plastic barriers (where approved) and facial
coverings combined with social distancing are an effective combination minimizing but
not eliminating COVID-19 spread.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
5. Signage: Use clearly worded signage to educate/inform customers and employees
regarding expected behaviors and processes. Don’t assume that people understand
what you mean over-communicate to help ensure employee/visitor health and safety.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
Service Delivery and Workflow Changes
1. Student Facing Units (e.g. colleges, PPAC, Admissions, Financial Aid, Honors, etc.) will
evaluate service delivery and student/employee interactions. Consider social distancing
queues such as floor markings and ingress/egress signage, and waiting area
configurations for example. Require all who are interacting business in such areas to
wear facial coverings. Consider the installation of physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass) to
minimize direct contacts as much as possible when business requires ‘violation’ of social
distance barriers (e.g. credit card transactions). Note: physical barrier modifications are
a last resort and must be approved the respective VP.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
2. Go Digital: Replace hand-written forms with electronic devices that can be wiped clean
between users; or use forms that can be digitally completed and submitted ahead of
time. Whenever possible, offer services online, by phone or by video conferencing.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
3. Schedule: Schedule visitors (students, faculty, staff and outside customers/guests)
whenever possible to cut down time spent waiting in lines, and to reduce the number of
people in your facility at any given time.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
4. Delivery: Add delivery and curbside pickup options.
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
5. Hours of Operation: Consider offering services outside of your normal hours to reduce
the number of people in your space, or offer hours specifically for vulnerable
No Change Necessary
Change Necessary
Additional information, comments, concerns, etc.