Future of the Profession

A forward-looking initiative to design a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable campus housing profession.



Rethinking Staff Workspaces

The COVID-19 pandemic, and all the restrictions it brought, was an accelerant of trends already underway while also an inflection point prompting new solutions to old problems. Campuses are assessing their existing assets and available square footage to determine how their spaces can work smarter, not harder, for students, faculty, and staff.

The workplace of tomorrow needs to be a destination. Spaces should be promoted in the manner of “what is being gained” by their use versus “what is being lost” by their not being filled. This mindset will help maximize the available square footage. By layering in experiential amenities, it allows users to engage, rejuvenate, and focus; all strategies that will help recruit and retain the best and the brightest staff. When thinking of adaptability, planning should be aligned with a kit of parts mindset which allows spaces to fit a variety of functions with minimal rework and change. Cultivating individuality and choice contributes to creating a community and building a unique culture. Campus housing professionals have long known how the built space can enhance the student living experience. It’s time that they embrace a similar approach to their own workspaces.

While most of the discussion in the resources below focuses on what is thought of as traditional office space, it must be noted that for the campus housing profession, the accommodations and experience of live-in staff is a major consideration. While some campus professionals were able to work from home during COVID-19 shutdowns, for live-in staff, their work and home have always been one in the same. As the profession gains greater awareness of the stresses and opportunities this structure creates, additional research should be conducted on the space, amenities, policies, and strategies that accompany this outlying work/live structure.


Each campus is unique in its resources, staff, culture, and other factors. What is not unique is their ability to improve policies, practices, and approaches through thoughtful, forward-thinking, and open-minded consideration. The following list of resources is a starting place to educate oneself in the emerging trends and factors that will shape future workspaces.

  • Kim, Joshua, ‘The Story of Work’ and the Future of the Academic Workplace. Inside Higher Ed, September 27, 2022. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/learning-innovation/%E2%80%98-story-work%E2%80%99-and-future-academic-workplace
  • Vaillancourt, Allison. 5 Ways to Transform the Academic Workplace in a Post Covid-19 World. The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2020.
  • Craig, David and Park, Melany. Building a Better Academic Workplace. Gensler, May 10, 2022.
  • O’Meara, Kerry Ann. Changes in the Academic Workplace in the United States. International Higher Education, (19), Spring 2000. hbps://doi.org/10.6017/ihe.2000.19.6874
  • Chau H, Bana SH, Bouvier B, Franke MR (2023) Connecting Higher Education to Workplace Activities and Earnings. PLoS ONE 18(3): e0282323
  • Knoll, Reimagining the Academic Work Environment. Knoll Education Resource, September 2021.
  • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Mental Health in the Workplace.
  • Center for Disease Control, July 2018. the-Workplac-Issue-Brief-H.pdf
  • Wernick, Amber. New Workplace Kit of Parts: Active Spaces. Work Design Magazine, May 13, 2021.
  • Walker, Judith and Oldford, Stephanie. Risk and Reflections in the Academic Workplace, Sage Journals, 2020.
  • Gardner, Lee. The Overbuilt Campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 11, 2022.
  • Elina Riivari, Virpi Malin, Päivikki Jääskelä & Teija Lukkari (2020) University as a workplace: searching for meaningful work, Teaching in Higher Education, 25:3, 286-304
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