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Space initiative update: new policies, concepts in development to better manage and use space at UCOP

UCOP Business Operations announced this week that it is moving to the next phase of the Strategic Workspace Planning Initiative, which kicked off last fall to urgently identify solutions for UCOP’s real estate challenges, including workspace shortages and escalating costs for its downtown Oakland operations.

In an email distributed to the UCOP community on July 15, EVP for Business Operations Nathan Brostrom announced that new policies and procedures are being developed to govern the allocation, management and use of office space for all OP divisions and departments.

“The workspace initiative is an enormous and complex effort that will take several years to complete and result in significant change in how we manage and use physical space here at UCOP,” Brostrom said. “But it will be worth the effort because it is expected to greatly improve the functionality of our workspace and yield an annual savings of 20 percent in our facility costs.”

The goals of the initiative include providing a work environment that better supports UCOP’s specialized work and processes, creates a greater sense of community, is sustainable in the current fiscal and environmental context and can evolve in the future.

Among the changes you can expect in the coming years are somewhat smaller workspaces, refreshed interiors with new furniture and carpet as well as different types of support spaces, and closer proximity of multiple office locations. Specifics have yet to be worked out, but one thing is certain: OP leadership is committed to staying put in downtown Oakland due to its convenient access for both local and campus staff and nearby hotel facilities.

As OP moves forward with implementing the workspace plan, existing space practices will be suspended and new policies and procedures will be developed. Key features of the new policy are expected to include:

  • A UCOP Space Planning Committee, made up of a cross-section of staff, will be appointed by the President’s Operations Group and chaired by Steven Murray, director of the Building and Administrative Service Center (BASC), to oversee space allocation, management and use.
  • Unoccupied and underutilized space — including storage, reception and assembly space, where possible — will be reallocated to make up for space shortages to accommodate current employees and others expected to be hired this fiscal year.
  • Space will be managed centrally rather than by departments and divisions.

Also in the coming months, a few pioneer departments at Franklin Street will take part in a pilot implementation of possible new space configurations. Prototype spaces will be installed so that everyone has the opportunity to walk through and experience sample working spaces in advance of implementation.

The upcoming changes are based on recommendations of an extensive study by San Francisco–based global architecture, design and consulting firm Gensler. The company was commissioned last year by UCOP to review current space usage and identify possible improvements in real estate and workspace strategies.

OP leadership will keep staff informed of new developments and hold brown bags and other open forums to discuss the workspace plans and answer questions. Both the Gensler study and related policy/procedural changes will be published by this fall on the BASC website.

For more details, check the Strategic Space Planning Initiative website, or contact BASC Director Steven Murray at or Director of Operations Karla Campbell at

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