Office Space Guidelines

Overview

The Office Space Guidelines enable General Fund administrative and academic units to decide more effectively how to assign and use office space when planning renovations and new construction or responding to pressing space needs. The guidelines provide space-per-person recommendations by position type, which are based on recent construction projects at the University and guidelines used by other universities and in the private sector.

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Office Space Guidelines (pdf)

FAQs

Do these guidelines apply to all areas of the University?

The Office Space Guidelines apply to Ann Arbor campus General Fund academic and administrative units only, though other units at the University are welcome to use the guidelines.

Why do we need campus-wide office space guidelines?

As stewards of the University's physical resources, we need to ensure that our use of all space, including offices, supports the University's academic and research missions. These guidelines provide a more consistent approach to overall space planning and assignments that supports this core mission.

How are the guidelines to be used?

For new buildings and renovations: Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) refers to the guidelines when working with units and architects in designing office space.

For existing buildings: Units may use these guidelines to bring office space allocations and assignments in line with campus norms and new construction. Units are encouraged to refer to the guidelines when pressing office space needs arise.

How were the square footage recommendations calculated?

The square footage recommendations are based on recent construction projects at the University and guidelines used by other universities and in the private sector.

Can my unit have its own set of office space guidelines?

Yes, units are encouraged to have space guidelines that are tailored to specific buildings; however, unit-level office space policies or guidelines should align with the campus-wide Office Space Guidelines.

My office is smaller than the recommended square footage. Can I use these guidelines to get a bigger office?

Given the varying ages and architectural designs of our buildings, not all offices will fit in the recommended square footage ranges. Each unit must work within the constraints of current campus buildings when allocating office space.

The guidelines recommend that some positions require 30 square feet. How is that possible?

The recommended square footages for shared spaces specify the total amount of office space that should be dedicated to any one person. It does not necessarily mean the actual size of the office or cubicle will be 6 feet by 5 feet. For example, a department should designate a cumulative 120 square feet for four temporary employees (30 square feet per person); this space may or may not accommodate all four persons simultaneously.

I am in a private office, but according to the guidelines I should be in a shared space. Does that mean I must share my space?

All office space allocations and assignments are made at the unit or department level. Units and departments with pressing office space needs are encouraged to refer to these guidelines to help resolve issues and bring their allocations in line with campus norms while working within the constraints of current campus buildings. If an issue arises, a unit or department may decide, when appropriate, to place two people in an office that previously housed only one person.

Do the types of positions listed in the guidelines reflect official U-M job titles or classifications?

No. The types of positions listed in the guidelines do not reflect official U-M job titles or classifications. They are listed strictly for the purpose of showing the relationship between role, space type, and net assignable square feet. The information is only to be used when making office space-related decisions.

Who reviewed and approved these guidelines?

The guidelines were developed with input and approval from:

  • Budget administrators from various academic and administrative units
  • Facilities managers from various academic and administrative units
  • Space Planning & Utilization Steering Committee
  • Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Office of the Vice President and General Counsel
  • Office of the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations
  • Architecture, Engineering and Construction
  • University Human Resources

For More Information

For more information on the Office Space Guidelines or Space Planning & Utilization within the Provost's Office, contact space.utilization@umich.edu.

 

Last reviewed: May 2017