At the School of Business and Economics, it is keeping to the right as much as possible in the corridors and sometimes it is better to look to the right as well. Certainly if you are passing the toilets near the university restaurant on your way to the exit. The doors there, which have been equipped with a stick-on magnet so that you don’t have to touch the handle, are wide open so you have a bird’s eye view of the urinals. “Maybe we should make an exception here,” Paul Hick, cluster manager IT and Facilities, laughs.
Hick is co-ordinating the pilot that started at SBE this week to see how the 1.5-metre campus will work. To achieve this, he designed the route through the building, including traffic signs (see photo). The pilot will run until June 15th.
So, there is only one way into the building and only one way out. Strictly separated by a barrier. Upon entry, you will find disinfectant gel and tissues. Employees then scan their UM cards; guests must report to the reception desk. Students are not welcome until September.
The large staircase in the hall is wide enough for people going up and down, but for the other staircases the rules are: “For staircases that also have a lift, employees can only use these to go up, without a lift only to come down,” Hick explains “The lifts may be used in both directions; but only by one person at a time.”
Corridors on the ground floor are just about wide enough to maintain a 1.5 metre distance, but nevertheless one-way traffic has been opted for as much as possible. Anyone who wants to go to the university restaurant, for example, cannot go there directly from the staircase, but has to make a detour so as not to go against the flow of traffic. Footsteps on the ground and traffic signs indicate the direction and who has to give way.
Information signs outside offices and classrooms state how many people are allowed in. Hick: “We use the rule of 12.5 square metres per person in offices. If an office only has 24? Then only one person can work there. The days have been divided into three sections, so if several people want to work in the same office, they will have to take turns. Those in charge will plan this.”
Participation in the trial is on a voluntary basis. There are about 55 people present in the building this Tuesday afternoon. One of them is Laurens-Jan Gerrits. He was “as happy as a little lamb in springtime” when he entered the building this week. Gerrits works for the Admissions department and is very much dependent on the UM’s IT processes. “That can be done much better here than at home. Space is limited at home and if all four of us – my wife and two children – are Zooming or Skyping at the same time, it can cause Internet problems. To sit here is much better than in my bedroom at home.”
What does he think about the signposting? “Of course it will take a bit of getting used to,” says Gerrits. “But I have noticed that after two days I have become accustomed to it. It is clear, it can’t really go wrong.”