Document Detail

Title: SP-397 - Safely Occupying Indoor Environments During COVID-19
Publication Date: 9/1/2022
Product Type: Special Publication
Status: Reference
Pages: 4
CII asked RT-397 to collect, review, and summarize the best practices for safely (re)occupying buildings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The team surveyed recommendations published by government agencies and research bodies for specific practices that building owners, operators, and occupants could implement to reduce the impact of COVID-19 within buildings. While the scope of this study was the occupancy phase of buildings, the authors also reviewed information about the design and construction phases of the building lifecycle.


In much of the world, the spread of the COVID-19 virus became alarming in early 2020. Concerns about the virus’ spread manifested themselves in a global shift to remote work and physical distancing, in hopes that these measures would slow the spread of the virus. In industries and organizations where remote work was possible, many employers encouraged or mandated work-from-home arrangements. In other industries or organizations where remote work was not possible (e.g., shipping and receiving), employers offered flexible hours and voluntary time off to healthy employees, and paid time off for ill employees. These virus-mitigation measures seemed to be effective at slowing the spread, since case counts and hospitalizations dropped following their implementation.

Concerns about returning to office environments have led a variety of government agencies and research bodies to develop recommendations and guidelines for safely occupying shared spaces during a pandemic. This report synthesizes the recommendations and guidelines in a brief, easy-to-use format to help building owners, facility managers, tenants, and occupants readily identify which actions to take to safely occupy environments.

This report also seeks to document positive aspects of the recent experience with remote work. Research indicates that some people created new, more flexible schedules over the quarantine that had positive impacts on their professional lives. This document aims to support building owners, operators, and facility managers as they strive to provide a safe indoor environment both during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.