Guidelines for Office Space

View a PDF version of the Office Space Guidelines

Overview

Optimizing the allocation of building space ensures that, as an institution, we use our physical resources effectively.

These guidelines are intended to help departments and units manage their office space in an efficient and effective manner, providing guidance for space planning in both current and future buildings.  Academic and Space Planning (ASP) staff are available for consultation on the use of these guidelines as well as any other space related issue.

NOTE: Academic and administrative units with internal space policies or guidelines should ensure that their guidelines align with the information provided in this document.

Space-per-Person Recommendations

The following tables show the recommended assignable square footage for a person by position type. These guidelines are not a guarantee that an employee or affiliate of the University will receive a specific office type or amount of square feet, but rather defines the recommended range of assignable square feet (ASF) a person in a specific role should be assigned. (Assignable square feet is defined as the area of a building suitable for occupancy measured from the interior walls, including closets and secondary corridors within assignable space. This excludes main corridors, bathrooms, and other non-assignable space.)

Square Footage Ranges

The square footage ranges are provided to accommodate the varying programmatic needs of these positions across the University. For example, a unit may assign an office on the smaller end of the square footage range to a person who is more likely to spend time working in a research lab than in an office. Conversely, a person may be assigned an office on the upper end of the range to accommodate frequent meetings with multiple individuals.

Strategic Academic Plan

In the UC Berkeley Strategic Academic Plan, published in June 2002, it was suggested that the campus "…make spaces conducive to creative interaction a priority in new capital investment" (8.7).  Physical spaces where students can "meet with professors, mentors and other students to enhance the learning experience…" are welcome where ever possible.  The amount of individual assigned space can be streamlined in order to create group and "collaboratory" spaces that facilitate increased creative interaction space and meet the goals of the Strategic Academic Plan.

Applying the Guidelines in Shared Spaces

The recommended square footages of shared spaces specify the range of office space that is recommended for any one person. They do not necessarily indicate the actual size of the office or workspace. For example, a department could designate a cumulative 120-256 square feet for four temporary employees (30-64 square feet per person); this space may or may not accommodate all four persons simultaneously.

The following space-per-person recommendations are based on recent construction projects at the University and on space guidelines from other higher education institutions and the private sector.

NOTE: The types of room occupants listed below do not reflect official job titles or classifications. They are listed strictly for the purpose of showing the relationship between role, space type, and ASF. The information is to be used when making office space related decisions.

TYPES OF ROOM OCCUPANTS

SPACE TYPE

ASF*

Executives

Chancellor

Private Office

350-400

Vice Provost
Vice Chancellor

Private Office
Private Office

250-300
250-300

Academic Units

Dean

Private Office

200-240

Associate Dean
Assistant Dean

Private Office 
Private Office

140-160
120-150

Department Chair

Private Office

140-160

Faculty, Tenure Track

Private Office

120-150

Faculty, Non-Tenure Track

Private Office, Shared Office, or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

80-120
95-150

Faculty, Consulting or Visiting

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Faculty, Emeritus (active)

Private Office, Shared Office, or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-100
76-140

Faculty, Emeritus (non-active)

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

36-48
45-58

Fellow, Lecturer, Research Assoc., Visiting Scholar

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Unit Administrative Manager

Private Office

100-120

Staff, Professional (full-time)

Private Office, Shared Office, or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-100
76-95

Staff, Professional (part-time)1

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Staff, Administrative Support (full-time)

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Staff, Administrative Support (part-time)1

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

48-64
58-76

Graduate Student Instructor2

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

36-64
45-76

Graduate Student Research Assistant2

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

36-64
45-76

Temporary or Student Staff

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

36-48
45-58

Administrative Units

Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice Provost
Assistant Vice Chancellor/Assistant Vice Provost

Private Office
Private Office

120-180
120-180

Director

Private Office

100-120

Associate or Assistant Director

Private Office

80-120

Manager

Private Office, Shared Office, or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

80-120
95-150

Staff, Professional (full-time)

Private Office, Shared Office, or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Staff, Professional (part-time)1

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Staff, Administrative Support (full-time)

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

64-80
76-95

Staff, Administrative Support (part-time)1

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

48-64
58-76

Temporary or Student Staff

Shared Office or Cubicle
Cubicle & Shared Circulation Factor

36-48
45-58

*A circulation factor of 20% is also shown for shared and cubicle spaces.

1 Part-time denotes the room occupant is 50% FTE or less. If the occupant is more than 50% FTE, it is recommended to follow the guidelines for a full-time room occupant.

2 Departments have wide latitude to assign graduate student space, but it is recommended that these guidelines be followed.

Special Circumstances

Academic Advising

Academic advising positions may require private space.  A combination of open plan, with available private advising rooms, may optimize space utilization while meeting privacy needs. 

Faculty Recruiting

It is understood that flexibility in space assignment may be needed during and after the recruiting process for some faculty members.  Every effort should be made to ensure that the space assignment adheres to these guidelines; however, support of the core programmatic mission of the campus is understood to take precedence.

Graduate Student Space

Departments have various needs and requirements for space for graduate students, whether graduate student instructors (GSI's) or graduate student researchers (GSR's), depending upon the discipline.  The teaching function of graduate students should be accommodated in a manner best suited to the subject.  GSR space is often provided by the department and is often in a shared space configuration.  In addition, many departments assign lockers in a central location in order to allow for denser space use in offices.

The space assignment recommendations listed here are intended as guides for the appropriate amount of space to be available for each student. Depending upon the number of students in a department, it can be a challenge to accommodate all needs equitably.  A number of departments have well developed procedures and these will be available for review on the ASP website.

Older Buildings and Non-Conforming Space

The Berkeley campus has a wide variety of building stock, dating from the 19th century to the present day.  In cases where existing conditions are non-conforming or in older buildings, creative efforts may be needed in order to follow the guidelines presented here.  ASP staff can assist with space planning with the goal of space utilization that meets programmatic needs within an older footprint.

Multiple Offices

Assignment of multiple offices for any member of the campus community, including both faculty and staff, is strongly discouraged. Faculty with joint appointments and persons with staff in multiple buildings may be assigned a secondary office, provided it is not located within the same building as the primary office. 

Use of Unoccupied Offices

One significant way to reduce the shortage of office space is to ensure that all offices are occupied throughout the year. When offices are left unoccupied for significant periods of time, such as during sabbaticals or other leaves, units and departments should use these spaces to alleviate any pressing space needs.  Departmental and unit administration can schedule this use in advance in order to achieve a higher density for short term space uses.

Emeriti Faculty Offices

Please refer to the campus policy on providing space for Emeriti.

Administrative Space

Administrative space is an area where significant savings can be obtained. The Division of Academic and Space Planning is available for consultation when planning or changing administrative space.

Other Institution Space Guidelines

University of Michigan Office Space Guidelines

Stanford University Space and Furniture Planning Guidelines