Office Accessory Space Allocation

There are a number of spaces associated with office space in planning and/or renovating buildings. Some of these include conference rooms, breakout spaces, kitchen space, break rooms, office service areas, and storage space. These areas are important spaces for everyday office functions and as part of OSU’s commitment to creating a workplace environment that promotes health and wellbeing, and are particularly valuable in open office environments. These areas can present challenges in the establishment of standards due to the varying degree of needs for these types of spaces. See OSU Construction Standards for Special Use Room Types information.

Office Accessory Space Management Types

To ensure efficiency and high utilization, office accessories should be shared by departments whenever possible. For the purpose of these standards there are three types of management associated with office accessories:

General University: Managed by a department(s) but available to all university staff and faculty. Conference rooms are available on a first come first serve priority. This management type would include all large conference rooms (seating 15 or more) and is encouraged for all other conference rooms, as well as other office accessory spaces.

Departmental Share: Managed by a department(s) and available at most times to the university staff and faculty. University Community would request space through the department. This management type would include all medium and small conference rooms (seating 8-14) that are not ‘General University’ rooms.

Departmental: Managed by department and generally not available to the rest of the university community. Typical functions that would require departmental conference rooms are:

  • Academic Departments who use rooms for seminar instruction (seating less than 12). (Departments are encouraged to share these rooms with other departments within their school/college)
  • Research groups whose conference rooms are also used as workrooms
  • Academic and administrative departments have varying functional needs throughout campus. While some departments may need minimal or no office accessory spaces, other departments may require additional and/or specialty spaces to meet their functional needs. The Space Management team will work with departments to determine individual department’s office accessory space needs.

Building Share: Managed by department and generally not available to the rest of the university community.

Office Accessory Uses

The following standards, policies, and procedures describe the typology, size and furniture layouts for most common types of office accessory uses at OSU. Not every department on campus will need all of the following spaces, these standards will apply to those departments whose functions deem these accessory spaces appropriate for their functions.

Conference Rooms: Conference rooms are an important asset to OSU and daily office functions. Conference rooms vary in sizes across campus and provide space for quick impromptu meetings, administrative meetings, and space for academic departments to hold seminar classes.

Departments have varying needs for conference rooms. It is important to meet those needs, while also ensuring that conference rooms are well utilized. Conference rooms can present utilization challenges, as they can occupy a large footprint in a department’s allocated office space and can be unused many hours per week. It is important for departments to track the utilization of their ‘Departmental’ conference rooms, if they have any, and open conference rooms up to the university community when rooms are underutilized.

Construction of new conference rooms should be strategically planned near department entrances or along shared corridors to allow for ease of use by the university community. Conference rooms should be shared with the general university whenever possible. For the purpose of these standards there are three types of conference rooms:

  • Large Conference Room: seats 15 or more occupants and provides space for audio/visual equipment, a screen and/or white board for projection and display, and may also include bookcases or shelves, and a serving area for buffet food or coffee services.
  • Medium Conference Room: seats 8 to 14 occupants and provides space for audio/visual equipment, and a screen and/or white board for projection.
  • Small Conference Room: seats 4 to 7 occupants and may provide space for audio/visual equipment, and a screen and/or white board for projection.

The number and size of conference rooms will heavily depend on the office typology and the demonstrated need of the department. The area required for conference rooms depends on the room configuration, furniture type and layout. The amount of space required per person generally decreases as the room area increases, due to the ratio of space required for circulation and ADA accessibility. The net assignable square feet (NASF) per person is generally 25 for small conference rooms, 22.5 for medium and 22 for large. Area must also be added to accommodate the floor area footprint of audio/visual equipment, displays, bookcases or shelves, serving counters for buffet food or coffee services and other operational facilities as necessary. The total number of conference rooms required to serve a grouping of office areas varies widely depending on the functions of the departments and the number of employees in an open office environment. The following standards serve as a framework for determining the number of conference rooms in each area. To ensure the best fit departments should contact CPD for a study on conference room needs.

Traditional and Open Office Accessory Layout

Traditional Office Layout (majority of private offices, minority of cubicles):

  • 1 conference room per 30 FTE
    • 2/3 of conference rooms should be medium (8-14 people)
      • Ownership: Departmental share or departmental
  • 1/3 of conference rooms should be small (4-7 people)
    • Ownership: Departmental

Open Office Layout (majority of cubicles, minority of private offices):

  • 1 conference room per 10 FTE
    • 1/3 of conference rooms should be medium (8-14 people)
      • Ownership: Departmental share or departmental
  • 2/3 of conference rooms should be small (4-7 people)

In general, large conference rooms (seating 15+) will be constructed for larger departments or where a need within a building can be demonstrated. The number and size of the conference rooms will be determined by CPD, based on a functional need assessment of the building. Large conference rooms may be allocated to a department (to be determined by the Space Management) but will be available to be scheduled by any department on campus. These rooms should include audio/visual equipment, a screen and/or white board for projection and display, bookcases or shelves, and a serving area for buffet food or coffee services whenever possible.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms, often considered ‘work rooms’, are an integral part of the open office layout. Breakout rooms provide staff and faculty a quiet area for private conversations (in person or on the phone) or a quiet area to focus on work. These rooms are often unscheduled and available for employees at any time. As established above, an open office layout allows for additional small conference rooms. Ones that are departmentally controlled are encouraged to be used as breakout rooms for staff and faculty when meetings are not scheduled. Additional smaller breakout rooms may be created if departments have frequent meetings and/or need additional quiet workspaces, which can be especially important in open space environments. These rooms should be equipped with data jacks for phone and network connections.

Community Spaces

Community spaces include kitchens and break rooms and are an important asset to an office and the health and wellbeing of staff and faculty. Community spaces increase productivity and morale by providing staff and faculty a place to relax, store and prepare food, and build positive relationships.

While community spaces are an important asset to an office, the construction of small kitchenettes or break rooms in every department is an inefficient use of space and resources and many departments don’t have the resources or space to provide them.

OSU encourages general university and departmentally shared community spaces whenever feasible. Centralizing community spaces provides equity across departments, ensuring that all employees have access to kitchens and break rooms. It also provides a cost savings in terms of appliance purchases and use, and is more sustainable in terms of energy use. In addition, centralized community spaces provide opportunities for collaboration and relationships with other departments.

Departmentally controlled kitchens and break rooms are discouraged at OSU. When departmentally controlled community spaces are requested, departments need to provide compelling reasons that address the Space Management guiding principles and the university’s mission.

The size of and number of community spaces created for new construction will depend on the functions and size of the building. CPD will work closely with Capital Projects and Construction to determine the number, size and locations of community spaces.

Office Service Area and Storage

Office services areas and storage include printers, copiers, files and shared office supplies. A separate office service area for each work group or small department is discouraged whenever feasible. Creating centralized office service areas improve space utilization as well as cost efficiencies (equipment costs can be shared) and are more sustainable (reducing energy and costs resulting from operating duplicative equipment and procurements and costs resulting from small orders of the same supplies rather than one larger order.

In circumstances where a centralized office service area is not feasible, larger departments and/or departments that require privacy and confidentiality, a departmentally controlled office service area may still be considered. In these cases, departments should work with the CPD to determine the amount of space needed for office service functions.

Storage areas for files should also be minimized as much as possible to save space and fulfill the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) retention policies regarding the discard/destruction of unnecessary documents, manuals and duplicated and outdated materials. File rooms shall be limited to only items that cannot be digitally archived when feasible. Departments should adhere to their records retention policies to ensure efficient space utilization.

As a standard, departmentally controlled open office service and securable storage rooms are not to exceed 10% of the office space allocated to the department. For example, if a department is allocated 1,000 NASF, office services and storage areas will not exceed 100 NASF (Net Assignable Square Feet).


Office Accessory Space Allocation Table

Office Accessory Allocation NASF per Occupant Total NASF Total # People
Large conference room General University 22 330+ 15+
Med. Conference Room General University or Departmental Share 22.5 180-315 8-14
Small Conference Room General University, Departmental Share or Departmental 25 100-175 4-7
Breakout Rooms Departmental Share or Departmental 25 100 4 max
Community Space General University, Departmental Share or Departmental 20 Based on building need Based on building need
Office Service area and Storage Departmental Share or Departmental N/A Not to exceed 10% of department total office NASF N/A