A Mathematical Model for In-Person Office Assignment During COVID-19

  • Daryl Santos Binghamton University
Keywords: COVID-19; workforce planning; mathematical modeling


The global pandemic that is COVID-19 has altered our world as we know it. Educational systems have been seriously affected, businesses – whether “essential” or not – have been severely stressed, how people socialize has, perhaps forever, been changed, and telecommuting is the new norm. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a situation wherein a company was having difficulty in scheduling their in-person office staffing in a move to allow rotational schedules for their employees to decongest their office when an entirely telecommuting operation was not possible. Due to the different types of employees, their various work-related constraints, and the need to minimize the number of bodies in the office while addressing minimum coverage necessary to perform the company’s daily activities, a quick solution to their scheduling/assignment needs was not obvious or trivially obtained. As such, mathematical models, specifically, integer programming assignment models, were developed and ultimately solved using the Python/Gurobi solver to address their scheduling needs. This paper will describe the constraints faced by the company and the models developed to solve their tricky assignment problem.


Allwork.Space-Press. (August 4, 2020). Downsizing and Flexibility: What Businesses Want During COVID-19. Allwork.Space. https://allwork.space/2020/08/downsizing-and-flexibility-what-businesses-want-during-covid-19/

Bates, A., Bell, Z., Mountford, A., & Evangelista, P. (2015). Military Resource Allocation as a Set Covering Problem. Industrial and Systems Engineering Review. 3(1), 1-6.

Randall, D. (July 22, 2020). Who still needs the office? U.S. Companies Start Cutting Space. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-results-realestate-idUSKCN24N2NL

Santos, D.L. (2007). Teaching Integer Programming via Sudoku and Other Math Puzzles. Proceedings of the 2007 Industrial Engineering Research Conference (Bayraksan, et al., eds.).

Santos, D.L. (2020). “Workforce Planning During COVID: Mathematical Modeling for Employee Assignment,” Unpublished presentation at the virtually held 9th Annual World Conference of the Society for Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Taha, H.A. (2003). Operations Research: An Introduction, 7th ed., Prentice-Hall, NJ.

Winston, W.L. (2004). Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms, 4th ed., Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA.