Comment #1, Feb. 16, 2010
Hi, How about moving all employees of the Physical Biosciences Division (PBD) down to Emeryville (JBEI and Potter Street) since that's where most of the PBD staff are located anyway. Also, the admin. assistants are doing travel, purchasing/requisitions and timekeeping for the JBEI and Potter Street employees currently. Enormous growth in staff is expected at JBEI and Potter Street in the near future. I heard additional buildings/offices are being erected now. Administrative assistants can serve their customers more efficiently by being in closer proximity to them. Documents will not have to be sent thru Lab mail which sometimes gets lost or delayed.
Response to #1
We will look into your suggestion with support from PBD. It does make sense to co-locate PBD staff but there may be sound reasons to keep some PBD staff due to lab space, access to ALS, etc. We will need to work with PBD to determine which employees would provide better support if they were co-located with their clients at JBEI and Potter. Thank you for the first suggestion to the SPAC. Anita Gursahani
While understanding the situation, I hope the crunch for space will not violate individual need for "personal space". I hope the changes will take into account the immediate and long terms effects of cluttering people together without taking into account the following: 1. Cultural differences (certain groups of people require more personal space). 2. How well a person knows (and/or likes) the other person with whom s/he has to work in close proximity. Just a thoughtful thought.
These are very good points. It is sometimes difficult to address the cultural issues but we do need to be cognizant of those and work through them. In regards to office mates, it would be beneficial if individuals could have a say in who they may have to share a work space with. This could be based on affinity of work, personality, work schedules, or other considerations. This is something that we want to encourage within work groups and will communication this idea to the Divisions. Thanks Anita. 2/18/10
Comment #2, Feb. 18, 2010
I moved into B69 approximately a year ago with the IT BS Dept. My cubicle is approximately 7' x 7' and while most other people here have larger cubicles, it is fair to say we are all pretty well compacted into this space. With this experience in mind, coupled with a sincere desire to make the new, smaller cubicles as pleasant as possible, I'd like to offer a couple of recommendations as you develop plans to meet the challenge of creating more work spaces within our finite space.
I realize this last would probably not be a priority but I think it would enhance the habitability of compressed work areas, space permitting, of course. I hope these suggestions are of some use to you and the work of the Space Advisory Committee.
Response to #2
We have actually started to install lower cubicle walls in areas that are slated for modification for the reasons that you have stated. When you have a standard ceiling height, the tall cubicle walls make the space feel very congested. We are also looking at building in more collaboration space or areas where individuals can have some privacy for phone calls or one-on-one meetings. Thank you for your input and suggestions. Anita Gursahani 2/19/10
Comment #3, Feb. 18, 2010
Thanks for the brown bag discussion. I wanted to make another suggestion: Provide places for people to park and lock bicycles outside buildings, and inside if possible. There is one person who has a hook in his office to hang his bicycle, and this convenient bicycle parking seems to be a good incentive to ride to work. The current bicycle parking is very minimal in most places. This may give people the impression that cycling is not encouraged. Having showers is another way to encourage bicyclists.
Response to #3
That is a great suggestion and we will look into it. I know that Facilities was working to install more bike racks last fiscal year. We need to find out what if any plans there are to do the same this FY. With regards to the showers - I agree we need better facilities. We need to determine how to do this moving forward as we modify/rehab spaces. Thanks Anita 2/18/10
That's true. I have a call in to Public Affairs to see if we can link the list of showers under "S" in the A-Z index on our home page. Currently it is listed under "Bicycling at Berkeley Lab". Thanks Anita 2/19/10
That Bicycling page is a great resource. Adding an A-Z link for showers is a fine idea. I suggest we also check the showers list for accuracy, and clarify what is meant by "Men's and Women's". Does that mean a Men's shower and a Women's shower, or does it mean a single shower available for use by both men and women? The showers in B50B are both unisex, not Men's and Women's. Also, one of them is handicap accessible. I believe there is a women's shower in B48 (in the women's restroom), and a unisex shower in B75 (with lockers). There may be other showers not on the list.
Comment #4, Feb. 18, 2010
I don't know if LBNL/UC rules allow for this option, but let me mention this anyway. If there is a need to find office space for 300 to 500 people in the next 2 years, how about an early retirement program such as e.g. 3 (add to years of service) + 3 (add to age) or 5 + 5 or any combination of that. You can run a survey to see how many people would consider such program. If, say, 300 people take an early retirement, and there is a need to replace them with 100 new people, Lab would save 200 from the existing population. Then, the Lab can hire NEW people from the pool of "300 to 500". One can call such thing as optimization of Lab's work force. Just for your consideration. One may assume that people who are close to 60 (ages 57 to 60), could be interested in this option as they are waiting to maximize the multiplier (2.5). Obviously, if there is no interest in such thing, forget the idea.
Response to #4
Thank you for the suggestion. We had to check with our HR organization to assess UC's position on the possibility of an early retirement program. Per HR, at this time, UC is not considering an early retirement program. UC's response to a similar question on their website is: "No. The university has no plans to offer an early retirement incentive program".
If UC were to introduce such a program, it would have to be passed by the Regents. Early retirement programs require an immediate outlay of funds and given the State's economy and the current funding status of the UCRP, there is a very slim chance of such a program. Thank you, Anita 3/2/10
Comment #5, Feb. 19, 2010
Thank you for holding the space management brown bag meeting and soliciting input from the general lab population. The space management task is arduous enough, but to successfully improve outcomes in the future, I believe it is necessary to engage this activity as a human management issue first and space management second.
Based on my experiences with several lab moves and listening to comments in the meeting, it is clear that most of the dissatisfaction with space maneuvers at the lab arises from the manner in which the changes are presented and executed. The key to the problem is how people are treated more than the physical end result. Still, a diverse population is likely to have some disagreements regarding the physical details of their work space itself, but with improved methodology and communication, a contented compromise can be a more regular outcome than disappointment or resentment.
The open dialog of the brown bag meeting is a great first step. In fact, information rich, transparent discussions need to be an inherent part of the initial motivation and justification steps for each change to space utilization at the lab. Negative reactions are much more likely when imposed decisions feel remote and are not well justified, communicated or informed by input from those affected. Leadership by example is an important tool to bolster morale and a collective engagement of the space issue under these circumstances. As this is a lab wide issue requiring lab wide sacrifices and inconveniences, it should be clearly evident that those at all levels are making sacrifices and accepting inconveniences. If divisions or research groups were encouraged to come up with their own voluntary plans for consolidating and improving collaboration and efficiency it would likely bring superior results and acceptance than those situations where the groups feel imposed upon by the outside. Perhaps the directorate could reward such "bottom up" space planning with financial incentives toward construction of the proposed projects that result in the most space saving and cost effective proposal for consolidation without loss of functionality.
Of course, to avoid proposals that are inconsistent with known infrastructure constraints, there needs to be a thorough inventory of such constraints made readily available, and frequently updated, regarding issues such as seismic retrofit/demo status/schedule, long term strategic construction planning, etc. A detailed, up to date, inventory of these issues is also highly desirable for informing staff with the motivating context and justification of all potential moves, in general. It may be helpful to de-emphasize the metrics side of space evaluation a bit. While some metrics as guidelines are likely going to be helpful, and the metrics are well intended to improve the sense of fairness with a uniform quantitative prescription, there is simply too much variety in laboratory activities to fit any hard and fast set of quantitative rules. Scientists like and respect numbers, but they are people, too, and it is just as hard to fit them to a formula as anyone else.
The inclusion of scientists on space review committees may please some because they are comforted by "peer" reviewers. However, I would much rather see LBNL scientists spend their time doing the science they are trained for rather than administrative/personnel tasks for which they may have little to no experience or talent. As I began this message, the primary task at hand is human relations and the staff selected to carry out the planning and negotiations related to space utilization should be skilled communicators above all else.
Comment #6, Mar. 1, 2010
I would recommend that if you consider shared work spaces, you also consider lockers for workers to store some personal items - like at schools where work spaces are shared and students use lockers for books etc.
Response to #6
That's a great idea. I know that Facilities has discussed changing all of their space in B76 to drop-in space and that would require lockers for employees. I agree it is something to consider. Thanks, Anita 3/1/10
Comment #7, Mar. 25, 2010
When space problems arose in the past at LBL we brought in portables to accommodate new staff. Similar light weight housing exists near Bldg 90. The Bevatron will be gone soon so why aren't we planning to put the new staff on that site. Old Town too needs to be demolished providing another site. No problem as far as I can see. My space is already inadequate and it you choose to take some of it away I'd be inclined to shut down my project, have DOE send the funding elsewhere, and reduce your space needs by 1%. Maybe others will do the same in which case you won't have to worry about the space problem.
Response to #7
As you may have heard in the Director's recent town hall presentation, there may be future building plans for the Bevatron location. However, you raise a good point about locating modulars in that area for at least some period of time. With regards to Old Town, the Lab has been working with DOE to identify appropriate funding for D&D. At this time, we do not have project funding but we are hopeful that we will receive funding in the near future. And we are indeed evaluating other locations where modulars may be located, at least for the interim.
Our long term goal is to continue to expand our scientific initiatives and in order to do that we need more and better quality space. For the more immediate term, our goal is not to create additional space by shutting down projects or simply taking space away from projects but rather develop proposals for better utilization of existing space, increase the quality of existing spaces, and other solutions (along the line of your modular trailer suggestion) to help existing projects while enabling the new initiatives that are coming to the Lab. We appreciate your input and your stated concern and will take it seriously. Thank you, Anita 3/26/10