Office Spaces

Private Offices

Private offices are those offices assigned to exclusively one person. The following health and safety guidelines apply:  

  1. Employees alone in their private offices with the door closed do not need to wear a face covering.
  2. Individuals must not step enter private offices unannounced. We recommend that employees place a sign on the office entrance reminding visitors to announce themselves at the door and not step into the office, so the person in the office can don a face covering before talking.
  3. Ithaca College strongly encourages virtual meetings or phone conversations rather than face-to-face meeting. If a meeting must occur in a private office, the space must be big enough to maintain 6 feet of physical distance when meeting. Face coverings must be worn while meeting and hand sanitizer must be accessible in case needed.   
  4. The person assigned to the office must use an EPA-approved disinfectant to clean surfaces used after the meeting.
  5. Cleaning of private offices will be greatly reduced during the pandemic, occurring on a monthly basis. Before leaving for the day, please:
    • Disinfect your workstation and desk surface area.
    • Place the trash and recycling bins outside of the office door when leaving for the day, or empty into receptacles that are located in public spaces. 

Shared Workspaces and Reception Areas

This section provides health and safety guidelines for shared workspaces and reception areas. We recommend that frequent reminders about office protocols are provided as behaviors tend to relax over time. 

Shared Workspaces

A shared workspace can be an office in which two or more people are assigned to work concurrently or a workstation used regularly by multiple people during different shifts. Also included here are reception areas with a steady flow of people throughout hours of operation. The following health and safety guidelines apply:  

  1. Always use face coverings in shared spaces, and especially where 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.  
  2. Meetings should occur remotely unless absolutely necessary. 
  3. Maintain clean offices, storing all non-essential items stored in drawers or cabinets, rather than on desks for easy cleaning. If any assistance is needed to move equipment or furniture to meet safety guidelines, please contact the Office of Facilities through Maintenance Direct.   
  4. Use reminders about office protocols as behaviors tend to relax overtime, particularly as threat perception declines. 

 Shared offices where people work concurrently: 

  1. Whenever possible, use alternative work schedules or staggered work schedules to reduce the number of people at a time in a shared space. 
  2. Reconfigure the office so employee areas and desks are 6 feet apart in all directions. When possible, configure workspaces so that individuals are not facing each other. 
  3. Use barriers for workstations (e.g., plexiglass) where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for a consultation if needed. 

Shared workstations or desks: 

  1. Clean and disinfected regularly before and after each user (create shared work schedules assigning one person to a workstation at a time). 
  2. Place an emphasis on self-service technology to limit the need for face-to-face interactions.  

Reception or customer-facing areas: 

  1. Use tape on the floor (and/or signs) to indicate where to stand, maintaining 6 feet of physical distance while in line and in front of service and reception desk. 
  2. Add a clear plexiglass barrier between the staff desk and public with a receiving window at reception desks. Hand sanitizer should always be available.  
  3. Obstruct sides of desks to divert public to the barrier side. 
  4. Remove unnecessary items (e.g., decorations, brochures, and candy dishes) from these desks to allow for more thorough cleaning.  
  5. Implement staggered schedules to reduce unnecessary staff on desks. 
  6. Limit the number of people in common department areas or units at one time. 
  7. Consider the use of virtual logs for areas that require written logs (e.g. using personal phone or other devices) or provide a way to disinfect writing utensils in between uses.   

Post appropriate signage in areas that require disinfectant procedures.  

Cleaning and Disinfecting Personal Workspaces

Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces is critical to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on campus. The Office of Facilities will clean “high touch” areas within academic buildings on a regular basis, but we recommend that employees routinely clean and disinfect their personal work areas and commonly touched to supplement these efforts. The College will provide EPA-approved disinfectant supplies for general use.

The following should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and after use:  

  1. Personal work areas, including desks, chairs, keyboards and mice, and telephones. 
  2. Frequently touched surfaces in offices, including but not limited to: door handles, light switches, tables, chairs and desks.
  3. Conference room tables and chairs.  
  4. Shared office equipment and supplies including: touch pads on copiers, phones, staplers, and hole punches. 

How to clean and disinfect: 

  1. If surfaces are visually dirty, clean with soap and water prior to disinfectant application. 
  2. Spray or wipe the area with an EPA-approved disinfecting product. 
  3. Adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended contact time for the disinfectant to know how long the surface should remain wet for the disinfectant to be effective. 
  4. When cleaning keyboards, copiers and electronic equipment, do not spray disinfectant directly onto the equipment; spray the disinfectant onto a paper towel or use a disinfecting wipe. 
  5. Throw away towels or wipes used for cleaning after each use. 
  6. Wash hands immediately after cleaning and disinfecting.