University flexspaces ready for soft opening

Published: September 8, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s Flexible Workplace Project is creating a new model of the workplace that will redefine where and when OHIO employees work.

Though still a work in progress, over 50 workstations in private, semi-private, and open work configurations are available for use in the Ridges Buildings 13, 14, and 18. Numerous collaboration rooms are also available for use.

Once finalized, all workstations will have updated technology, including double or wide-screen monitors in individual workstations, and webcams and microphones in collaboration spaces to enable hybrid meetings. Additionally, University flexspace locations include amenity facilities such as restrooms, kitchenettes, lactation rooms, printers and office supplies. 

Two women sit in armchairs by windows, with two empty tables in front of them, each with four chairs
An example of an informal lounge space.

University flexspace includes two types of occupiable space: informal lounge and meeting spaces that are conducive for drop-in occupancy, and reservable offices for dedicated space that can be booked in advance. 

Once the spaces are completely launched, reservable space will be accessed through EMS, a scheduling tool that will allow users to reserve workstations, meeting rooms and other flexspaces directly through Outlook or using a web application. The tool allows recurrent bookings and integrates with Microsoft Teams to support hybrid meetings. It is expected to be available later this fall. During the soft opening phase, OHIO employees can reserve flexspace collaboration rooms within Outlook.

A woman sits at an empty conference table, with two people displayed on the TV using the Teams application
An example of a medium collaboration space that is available with Teams access.

The Office of Design and Construction, in tandem with the Flexible Workplace Project teams, are continuing to equip flexspace at the Ridges in preparation for the grand opening. Upcoming enhancements include adding wayfinding signage throughout the spaces, installing sound-proofing panels to help with the acoustics and additional privacy, and setting up lockers for securing personal items. Additionally, flexspace at Grosvenor Hall, Grosvenor West, and Lindley Hall are being prepared for their own openings soon. 

University recommendations and operational guidelines that will enable units to embrace flexible work environments will be published on the Flexible Workplace Project website in October. Additionally, the project teams are finalizing the Flexible Workplace Essentials documentation that will be made available for unit leaders who are excited to begin their journey in utilizing a new model for the workplace. 

For further information, stay tuned for future OEN installments featuring early adopters of University flexspace.

A bare conference room
An example of a large collaboration space.