Preparations to activate the next phase of our Back-to-Office (BTO) plan - Guidance on the Physical Use of Premises

23 Sep 2021

These guidelines are issued in furtherance of the broadcast issued by the UNON Director-General on 9 September 2021 as well as the health and safety guidance contained in the other emails below.  They describe measures relating to the physical use of the UN Complex as we move to allow up to 60% of staff and other categories of personnel to return to the workplace. We anticipate this phase of our BTO taking effect from Monday, 4 October 2021.

This decision is based on pre-established criteria including the availability of treatment services and positivity rates in the country, as well as the loosening of Host Country restrictions.  Given the evolving nature of the situation and the many remaining uncertainties regarding COVID-19, the transition from one phase to another may not be linear and the Director-General may, in consultation with the COVID-19 Crisis Management Team (CMT), decide at any time to revert to a previous phase.

  1. Personal behavior – the “COVID-19 competency”

In order to control the spread of COVID-19, personal behavior is very important.  Those who return to the office will be required to:

  • Always wear masks in common areas (including lobbies, elevators, stairwells, hallways, reception areas, etc.) and open office space, including when seated at your desk, moving around the building, going to restrooms and all other common areas.
  • Use the hand sanitizer dispensers, which have been installed across the compound, including at all entrance and exit points to office floors and at all main service provision areas (e.g. central cafeteria). 
    • Respect physical distancing at all times (at least one meter).
  • Wipe down their own equipment and clear their personal workspace at the end of every day.
    • Confirm that they meet precautionary requirements for COVID-19.  By swiping their valid UN I.D. upon entering the UN Complex premises, UN personnel are essentially confirming that they:
      • Are fully vaccinated against COVID-19;
      • Have had no COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days;
      • Have not had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 14 days; and
      • Have had no close contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

If you suspect that you have contracted COVID-19, or you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient, please contact the Joint Medical Services (JMS), and do not come to the complex: JMS 24/7 emergency call line: Tel: +254 724 255 378; Email:  

Should it be determined that staff within an office space have tested positive for COVID-19, this should be immediately reported to JMS,  who will notify the UNON Facilities Management helpdesk, who will arrange for hyper cleaning and disinfecting of the office space.

Please adhere to the rotation schedule agreed with your manager, and only report to the complex on the days you are assigned to work from the complex. On all other days, continue to work from home.

  1. Office Safety

The safe return to the office does not require changes to existing partition layouts, or additional installation of glass/perspex in any area.  To ensure safe occupancy of office space, staff must simply follow the measures outlined in this document including the personal behavior requirements listed above.

In relation to cleaning protocols, all enclosed offices, staff desks within open spaces and meeting rooms will be cleaned/sanitized once a day. Timing for this exercise will be between 08:00 and 10:00 hours, the start time being dependent on the time of arrival of the first staff occupant.  On an hourly basis throughout the workday, UNON custodial contractors have been instructed to prioritize cleaning/sanitizing of high traffic surfaces (i.e. door handles, common space and washroom doors). Staff are expected to clear their desks at the end of each workday to facilitate cleaning/sanitizing prior to use the following day.

Hand sanitizing stations will be provided at the entrance/exit to each office floor for staff use.  If staff require personal hand sanitizing at their own desks, they must provide this for themselves.  Cleaning of personal equipment such as keyboards/mice/screens will be the responsibility of each individual.  UNON contractors will only be able to clean offices that are not locked, it will be the responsibility of the occupant to maintain the cleanliness of locked offices. 

Lifts are restricted to 2 people at a time with both occupants wearing masks.  Staff are encouraged to use the available stairs, whenever possible.

Seating arrangements should include a minimum of 1 meter separation between workstations, which is the standard separation for most open plan desk configurations on the complex. UNON conducted an extensive floor-by-floor review in early 2021 and provided individual floorplans to each tenant showing how existing space could be used to safely accommodate 40% of staff.  This exercise does not need to be repeated, the prepared floor plans should provide general guidance with each manager expected to use their own discretion to determine desk assignments on each floor. 

Chairs and desks for each workspace have been colour coded.  Those in , which are mainly along corridors and circulation areas, are not to be used. For this phase, all desks marked as and may be used provided that suitable desk dividers are already existing between desks, and the maximum occupancy of 60% of the pre-pandemic levels on each office floor space is not exceeded. At this time, all ‘hot-desks’ and or banks of desks with less than 1 meter separation per person should not be used. Annex 1 illustrates a typical desk configuration for a floor. The UNON Facilities Management team can be contacted for specific guidance where required.

Maximum personnel occupancy equivalent to up to 60% of pre-pandemic levels on each office floor must be always maintained.  It is expected that all entities will ensure adherence to this maximum occupancy limit.

Meeting rooms/work areas will be signposted for 50% maximum occupancy, i.e. a 12 sqm meeting room which ordinarily accommodates 4 persons may be occupied by 2 persons.  Large face-to-face meetings indoors remain discouraged where possible.  If meeting rooms are used, these meetings should be small, and the 50% maximum occupancy levels must be strictly complied with.  Meetings within staff enclosed offices are discouraged.

Use of outdoor spaces for meetings, including outdoor pods, is strongly encouraged.  Outdoor pods can be safely used by 6-8 people and small meetings are prioritized over individual use.  All outdoor pods will be cleaned once a day and fitted with hand sanitizers.

Natural ventilation in office space is strongly encouraged (please open the windows).  No new staff enclosed office spaces and or office space partitioning will be installed at this time.

When two or more people pass each other in a corridor, one person must step aside to give way.  Passing other personnel in hallways does not represent a significant risk and no special measures are required to manage brief proximity if all parties are wearing masks and avoid physical contact.

Outdoor work pod locations (first 6).

An additional 10 pods to be installed over the next months.

  1. Entry Policy, Main Gate and Pedestrian Access Points

In addition to the medical screening procedures set forth in the JMS guidance contained in the email of 21 September 2021 below, delegates, contractors, staff and associated personnel will be admitted to the UNON complex upon presentation of a valid United Nations grounds pass or a United Nations laissez-passer.  Updated information pertaining to the granting of access to ad hoc official visitors will be communicated in due course. The provisions of Secretary-General’s Bulletin ST/SGB/259 of 2 July 1993 on the wearing of grounds passes will be strictly enforced. It is the responsibility of staff members to ensure that their grounds passes are valid. Expired passes will be replaced by the Pass and Identification Unit of the Security and Safety Service, located in the registration area pavilion behind the pedestrian entrance to the complex, upon presentation of duly certified forms from the staff member’s human resources department. The hours of operation will be from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday-Thursday and 08:00 to 1:00 pm on Friday. Badges for access for all categories of personnel will be issued at the Pass and Identification Unit. Issuance will be based on prior clearance/attestation of COVID-19 vaccination status or on the basis of an exception granted through the UNON Joint medical Service (JMS).  Exceptions may be granted on the basis of a negative PCR test, a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 or a special exemption linked to a workplace safe accommodation request.  United Nations laissez-passer holders must have sought prior clearance from the hosting entity. All persons are required to present themselves at the Pass and Identification Unit in order to obtain a photo/non photo pass.

Vehicular Access. The main vehicular entrance, located opposite the United States Embassy on United Nations Avenue, will remain the main entrance to the UNON complex for United Nations grounds pass holders. The delivery gate, located next to the commissary, will be opened for United Nations staff from 7.15 a.m.–10 a.m. for entry only, and from 4 p.m.–7 p.m. for exit only.

Pedestrian access to the UNON complex will be through the main pedestrian entrance located on United Nations Avenue next to the main vehicular entrance. Specific lanes will be designated at the Visitors Pavilion for staff, delegates, associated personnel and persons with official business with organizations within the UNON complex. All pedestrians must be in possession of a valid United Nations grounds pass, United Nations laissez-passer or official Government-issued identification for non-United Nations persons. All pedestrians will undergo screening prior to being admitted unto the UNON Complex. Arrangements will be made to facilitate physically challenged persons.

The DSS booking system ( can be accessed by focal points within the various entities at UNON to process official visitors, and or other authorized persons 24 hours in advance. Official visiting hours are from 0800-1630 hours Monday - Thursday and from 0800-1400 hours on Fridays. Official visitors will be allowed on a case by case basis and the numbers will be closely monitored to ensure the overall occupancy limit of up to 60% is not exceeded.

All deliveries to the UNON complex should be made within its usual hours of operation, which are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Deliveries should be announced beforehand, with the registration number and the name of driver being provided to the Security and Safety Service. Focal points within entities at the UNON Complex must announce deliveries through (; UNON DSS booking system) 24 hours in advance.

All staff are expected to ensure that they have valid gate pass/security clearance to take their laptops and other equipment in and out of the complex.

  1. Use of the Conference Rooms

In preparation for the resumption of in-person inter-governmental and other meetings or conferences, the following guidance (as per the approved Guidelines for in-person meetings) will be followed:

  • The appointment of a COVID-19 coordinator by the requesting entity.  This person will be responsible for overseeing conference/meeting compliance with COVID-19 protocols, including compiling daily meeting attendance lists, making post-meeting inquiries with participants and possible contact tracing.
  • Assigned seating plans will need to be managed and maintained by the COVID-19 Coordinator (the meeting organizer) for a minimum of 28 days to ensure that contact tracing is possible
  • An agreed fixed seating arrangement to ensure social distancing of a minimum of 1 meter.   Use of face masks will be mandatory.
  • The agreed number of participants shall not exceed the revised maximum occupancy of each conference room.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available at strategic locations within the conference area. A non-touch thermometer has also been placed at the entrance of conference rooms that are in use for self-screening.
  • Hyper cleaning measures will be in place for all frequently touched/high use surfaces and shared conference equipment such as headsets, microphones and associated electronic consoles for participants and interpreter’s booths.
  • Entry into meeting rooms will be restricted to authorized participants and support staff with a direct role in the meeting’s proceedings.
  • Participants to use designated (marked) entry and exit points in the meeting rooms at all times.
  1. Commercial Operations and Transportation Services


All visitors to the Commercial Operations Unit (COU) and commercial outlets are required to wear face masks (except when eating or drinking), sanitize at available access points before entry and maintain a safe social distance (1 meter).  Cashless payments are encouraged across all outlets.  For further information please contact the COU Team at:

UN Fuel Station and Commissary

The Fuel Station and Commissary are operated by external vendors, Hass Petroleum and Legardere (IDF) respectively, and have been operating throughout the pandemic, in full compliance with applicable COVID-19 protocols, including cCOVID-19 Updated information on access to these services will be communicated in due course.


Initially during the next phase of our BTO, and until such time as UN personnel numbers on the complex enable the operation of additional catering facilities, the Central Cafeteria and Coffee Shop Operated by Safari Park will be the only available catering outlet on the UN Complex.  Its usage will be carefully monitored, and other venues will be opened as needed.  The Central Cafeteria and Coffee Shop complies with the Ministry of Health Protocol for the Management of Restaurants and Eateries including:

  • Masks must be worn (covering mouth and nose) on entry and when not sat at tables and eating or drinking.  No mask means no service and signage to this effect will be installed.
  • All customers and catering staff must sanitize upon entry to the servery and follow the one-way traffic routes and signs to the serveries and cashier.
  • All front-of-house contact surfaces including counter tops, door handles and other areas of hand contact will be sanitized frequently.
  • All customers and catering staff must maintain a 1 meter distance at all times (and use the floor markings in the servery areas).
  • Seating is arranged to ensure a maximum of four clients in 10m² and to keep the backs of chairs at adjacent tables at no less than 1 meter from each other when in use.
  • After each sitting, the table and chairs will be sanitized.  Visual measures will be implemented: a red placard indicates that a table has not been sanitized (and is not to be used) and a green placard indicates that the table has been sanitized (and is ready for use).
  • Plexiglass screens have been installed around cashiers and these accept cashless payments by Mpesa and credit/debit card.  Cash payments are not recommended but will still be accepted.
  • Cutlery sets are rolled in napkins ready to be picked up by each client after they have used the sanitizing station at the entrance.
  • No buffet style self-service is available and staggered sitting periods will be implemented if justified by customer numbers.
  • Takeaway options are available and are being offered in ‘compostable’ packaging.
  • The catering venue is well ventilated and appropriate signage has been installed throughout. 

UN Recreation Centre

The UN Recreation Centre (UNRC) implemented a full suite of COVID-19 protocols since reopening in September 2020.  UNON will continue to expand the activities available at the UNRC while reducing some of the existing restrictions in line with the COVID-19 protocols agreed for the main complex, namely 1 meter separation and mask wearing at all time.  Further information on the exact sporting services available and the access and safety measures to be followed will be circulated separately.  For further information contact the RC team at

Other commercial entities (e.g. banks, post office)

Other commercial entities will be allowed to return during the next phase of our BTO, as long as they comply with the guidance provided above.


Initially in the next phase of our BTO the staff bus service will not be reactivated.  Due to the need to apply COVID-19 passenger number restrictions to the buses, the contractual nature of the service and the cost-sharing model, this service will not be restarted until sufficient numbers return to the complex to ensure the financial viability of the service.  UNON will review the actual number of staff returning during the first 3-month period and based on this will determine the date for reactivation of the staff bus service.  All transport activities, including the staff bus when restarted, will comply with the Government of Kenya’s Protocol for Public Road Transport Operations.  This will include the disinfecting of all vehicles before and after use.  The UNON Transportation Unit will oversee the implementation of COVID-19 precautions during usage based on latest medical guidance from all relevant internal and external service providers. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are being developed that relate specifically to COVID-19 prevention measures for all transport service providers, including the UNON driver pool. Stress management training for official drivers has also been conducted.

  1. Other Central Support Services

Host Country Services

Clients will continue to submit and collect documents at the Mail and Pouch Office drop-off/collection point (in the Commissary building). Access to the Host Country Services Unit office will be only for those clients who, by the nature of their request, must appear in person.  There will be a maximum of four (4) clients allowed in the office at any given time, and these clients will be required to have made a prior appointment.  Anyone without an appointment will be turned away.

Travel Office and Travel Agent

The majority of all travel, visa and UNLP consultations will be done online, via Microsoft Teams.  However, there will be a representative from the TSVU team available at the UNON Travel office daily to assist with any in-person queries.  Initially clients will continue to submit and collect documents for Visa and UNLP requests at the Mail and Pouch Office drop-off/collection point (in the Commissary building). The TSVU team will review the number of clients who require in-person support on a weekly basis and will adjust accordingly.  The drop-off/collection point location will be moved back to the UNON Travel office as soon as sufficient numbers of clients have returned to the office in-person.  The Travel Guide for Kenya during COVID-19 is available on iSeek ( and on the SharePoint UNON-DAS TSVU webpage  (  Information specific to airlines, airports, and countries can be accessed here:

Property Management

Receiving and Inspection. Two Receiving and Inspection (R&I) team members will serve in the office every day on a rotational basis. These staff book in vendors and receive goods at the UN Complex. Once goods have been received, R&I will coordinate with the end users on when and where to collect the goods (their offices or with their focal points).  Alternatively, the end users can collect their goods by prior arrangement from the Property Management Unit (PMU) offices near the Commissary Building (CMMF). The receiving and inspection documents will be shared electronically for end-users to confirm receipt via email. The R&I staff and vendors will wear face masks and gloves while receiving goods.

Property Control. Gate passes are electronically signed, and the focal points can share PDF copied with their own staff members. These electronic gate passes assist with monitoring movement of equipment in and out of the UN Complex.  PMU is accepting email confirmations/acknowledgments and updating the property records in relation to the hand-over of equipment and movement of equipment between staff members.  For staff members who are checking out, this is performed remotely and by the PMU staff on duty in case of the return of equipment.  PMU gives clients the option to either hand over the equipment to their focal points within their units, or their colleagues or drop the official equipment at the PMU offices.  Once staff members hand over their equipment and sign a hand-over voucher they are cleared by PMU.

Disposal. Property disposal staff will work in the office only when a request from the equipment focal point is raised for the collection of items for disposal.  Once cases have been approved for disposal by the Local Property Survey Board (LPSB) or the delegated official, the disposal planner from PMU will arrange with the focal points to pick up the items for safe storage at the disposal store.  PMU together with the auction vendor has been conducting online auctions for items approved for disposal through public auction. The vendor arranges to come to the UN complex to take pictures and videos of all items to be sold and uploads these on their website for public auction.

Insurance. Insurance staff are required to be on site only for assessment following an incident/accident, to collect cheques and distribute physical insurance certificates (e.g. for motor vehicles).  Insurance claims are raised remotely.

Mail and Pouch Unit. Three staff members will be in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays and two staff members on a rotational basis for the rest of the week. The Chief of the Mail and Pouch Unit (MPAU) will be available Monday to Friday . MPAU will continue to take deliveries from vendors and clients, process outgoing shipments, process the delivery and collection of mail/packages to and from client offices, attend to staff members in relation to mail and UNFCU cards and the processing of vendor invoices. 

Inventory and Warehouse. Three staff members will be in the office on a rotational basis: one in the Facility Store and two in the Centralized Warehouse.  Only one client will be admitted at a time inside the office.  The issuance of goods will only be carried out in the warehouses, which are more spacious and well ventilated.  Receipt of goods from vendors will be carried out at the receiving bay and not in the offices.

  1. The Monitoring Regime

Line managers are responsible for ensuring adherence to the up to 60% daily personnel threshold for their respective offices.  They are also responsible for ensuring that their personnel adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. 

During Phase 2 of the Back to Office Strategy, additional monitoring will be provided through the UNDSS access control system.  Data in this regard will be shared with the COVID-19 CMT and line managers.


Posted on: 23 Sep 2021