Friday, April 01, 2005

Some reasonably good news would be nice

From Anonymous:

I thought some reasonably good news would be nice. Interesting news from the EOC chair:

Good news the lab Director and Executive Board approved alternative work schedules. It will start in around two months (takes time to get payroll, HR, etc., set up)

* In the past, 85% of employees took off on B Fridays. The Director wants to spread around the days off, so the lab isn t virtually shut down on one day.

* Group leaders will be responsible for scheduling who gets what day off, and Division Leaders will approve it.

* At least four days will be available for the 9/80 day off, effectively Monday A and B, and Friday A and B.

* There may be other alternatives as well

* Employees will be able to change schedules twice a year (i.e., 1 April and 1 October)

This is just an early heads up on this good news. The lab will provide more detailed briefings over the next two months.

Yippie! But, we’ll see…


Comments:
Gee, this is good news! The thief has left us beaten and bleeding and now he come back to give us our empty wallet that he had stolen from us. I'm not exactly sure of the protocol here. Are we supposed to stand up and cheer?

Actually I am glad 9/80 is on the way back but it should never have been taken away. Moreover, why do division directors have to approve something that is at most a group responsibility?
 
Were it not for the fact that Nanos is almost certainly out of here (I know, I've heard the "Nanos is leaving" rumor of the week for 9 months now) I would agree with 6:52PM.

As things now stand, I believe that UC is now becoming desperately aware that their choice of dictator, er director has done some serious damage, and that they have now, in their own sluggish way, realized that serious damage control is in order.

I really do not think Nanos had anything at all to do with the 9/80 coming back, other than perhaps having been told to approve it.

I agree the 9/80 should never have been taken away. I hold UC in deep disregard for having allowed it to have been taken away as part of their spineless contribution to the foul ups during the past 9 months.

I think Lockheed Martin might be a refreshing change to the local landscape.
 
Of COURSE Nanos had nothing to do with this! He took it away for no defendable reason in the first place. And what are the odds that the NNSA and the UC will give this the OK? It is NOT the executive board's decision alone!
 
Actually, Nanos did have something to do with this -- he approved of the plan, and allowed it to go before the EB. The reason it went away is punative - but not for the simple reason of the shut down. The fact is LANL managed the 9/80 very poorly. There was no match between the A and B schedule, and there were significant evidence of fraud during an audit. 85 % of LANL is very hard working, but 15 percent were (and still do) using lack of management oversight to cheat the system.

The new system requires management to oversee the alternative work schedule, and make workers accountable. The standard excuse is "hey, I work harder when I am work than lots of other stiffs, therefore I deserve an extra day off" can not be allowed.

the comments of the 6:52 post "most a group responsiblity" is the heart of the problem. Few people like to confront on work ethic -- it is the responsibility of the entire line chain to make this work. team leader, gourp leader, division leader, AD, and the director.
 
I personally found the way the 9/80 done here at the lab crap. Fridays were definately don't expect any work to be done weeks for a lot of groups. Try to get a purchase done and find out that the guy on B schedule had no backup. Try to get some paperwork done for a visitor or a student.. nope wait til Monday. Call over to the other division to get the results from XYZ experiment.. nope the primary and secondary are out.

The fact that 50% of the lab has enough vacation hours per month to have 3 day weekends every week on this schedule.. just exasperates the feeling that the lab didnt get anything done. Having had to field phone calls from HQ about where everyone is on Friday .. I definately got the feeling it wasnt local. [Of course the fact that a LOT of people here work 50 hour weeks anyway isnt counted.. no sort of timecard system.]
 
9:07 PM

Bullsh*t. The reason Nanos rescinded the 9/80 was because of his desire to punish LANL staff during the shutdown. Period. Claiming that the 9/80 was "poorly implemented" is just his attempt at after-the-fact justification.

You appear to have fully bought into the Nanos camp.
 
RE 9:07 -- why is it that if anything is said on this blog that attempts to discuss issues is branded with
profanity, and then the ultimate insult is applied --
"the poster is a nanos supporter"?

The 9/80 was poorly implemented at LANL - it was under attack by the IG, and I am sorry to say, it was a terrible management failure. A flexable work schedule will be a tremendous boon for the work force, and should be implemented. BUT it must be implemented with responsibility, like at our sister labs. Why does this statement of fact cause some posters to attack it as Nanos Drivel?

I have always supported the termination of Nanos - he is abusive, and totally unqualified to run LANL. However, it is wrong to state that the lab was well run before his tenure. If LANL is to survive, it will require many, many changes. The tremendous culture of science can be preserved -- but it will require hard work, not name calling.
 
The fact is that anything Nanos says or has said in the past is now tainted by his legacy of horrible mismanagement of LANL. He has lost all credibility; in those rare cases that something he said in the past had any validity at all, it just doesn't matter now. He is despised, reviled, mistrusted, and disliked at LANL. Suporters of any of his policies had better be aware of that.
 
LANL is not the only place that had a 9/80. It is my understanding that Sandia had it and so did DOE.
My only gripe with, so much so that I chose not to use the 9/80, was that it was way too complicated. Four 10's works a whole lot better.
 
It would be nice to know exactly how this move to reinstate 9/80 came about. University, NNSA, or top levels of the lab? In some regards it doesn't matter, but it is always useful to know who your friends are.

As for "it should never have been taken away," I don't entirely agree. I agree that it should never have been taken away from the rank and file. However, Nanos' contention that offices needed to be manned as we were getting back going, as much as I hate to admit that ANY Nanos opinion is sound, is in fact well founded. Pulling 9/80 from the management chain until we were operational is actually reasonable -- and I say that as a manager, although not a very important one. But we aren't all managers, and we don't all field the irate phone calls from Washington that resulted from the shutdown.

Here's a suggestion. How about we use this forum to brainstorm a means of doing 9/80 that actually works? How do they do it at the other places? Other labs also have the need to have key offices staffed all the time; how do they ensure that? I know that some influential people read this board, and if a constructive plan emerges here, there is some chance that its elements can be incorporated into the final product. Just a suggestion.
 
Years ago, when I worked for EG&G Energy Measurements here on the hill, EG&G instituted a 4x10 workweek on a 6 month trial basis. The reason was that they couldn't compete with the Lab's generous vacation schedule.

At the end of the 6 month trial, they polled the employees to see if they wanted to go back to the 5x8 schedule. Out of about 130 employees, two wanted to go back to 5x8 - primarily because of carpooling and/or child care problems.

That said, there were some productivity advantages in the 4x10 schedule in terms of reducing the morning and noon social times around the coffee pot and lunch room. But I think those advantages were outweighed by the run-down feeling you got at the end of the day when your brain went dull.

The 9-80 schedule is a good compromise and is a tremendous morale booster. The reason so many people chose the B schedule was that it maximized our long weekends by linking an off Friday to a following holiday Monday.

I had inquired a couple years ago about switching my off Friday to Monday for family reasons and was denied, so I would welcome the choice. If, however, the division office uses this as a petty control tool, I'm sure that it will cause nothing but resentment.
 
There was a lot of abuse by the employees in the use of the 9/80 schedule.
I believe this abuse was unintentially condoned by group management becuase of there failure to monitor it properly.
Upper management then bears some responsibility because they failed to have clear cut expectations flow down to lower levels and hold them responsibility. The management training and or the lack thereof it is clearly deficient in accountability.
Whewnever a sticky employee or manager problem comes up there is always the excuse of "CONFIDENTIALLITY". The one sure way to have good accountability is through enforcement and advertising it to staff the discipline taken for abuses.
 
Some people just do not get it. The 9/80 is a quality of life issue. There is no gain for the laboratory ( unless you value happy emplyees)or for the employee. You still put in 80 hours every two weeks. I am one of those who takes every other friday vacation when the 9/80 schedule is in place. I have 3 LANL achievement awards in the last five years. Why-cause I plays hard and I works hard. LANL is not my life-it is my work. I truly pity those who do not have a life outside work-there is so much you are missing.
 
I am strongly against the 9/80 schedule or any other such deviation from a conventional five-day work week. During our earlier 9/80 schedule, a significant number of people took advantage of every friday off because their line management didn't keep track of them, and no they weren't old enough to have vacation accrual to cover that extra friday. Line management also failed to provide backups for folks on their friday off, as attested to by writers above. I am also against a 4/10 schedule as that will really cut into LANL productivity as great numbers of workers do not have the stamina for early morning or late afternoon work performance. Then there are those who simply don't have a work ethic...who can be found hanging out at the coffee pot, cafeteria, long lunch hours downtown, favorite rural meeting place, shooting the bull for hours on end in a friends office, lengthy daily bicycle rides, flirting, excessive web-surfing, sleeping in the office, and you know whatever...as in Peyton Place! I regularly work a 50-hour week and have been as high as 116 hours in six days. I strongly resent LANL staff who don't carry their share of the workload. I strongly expect LANL offices to be staffed and responsive during the defined work hours of 8AM to 5PM, five-days-per-week! Where is managements' backbone?
 
This entire bog is nothing more than an a way for spoiled little LANL brates to whine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
What's a brate?
 
BRAT
 
6:25, perhaps if you exercised better judgement in planning and didn't resort to 116 hour work weeks, you wouldn't be so resentful. In fact, maybe if you didn't spend all your time watching your co-workers, you could finish your work week in 40 hours.
 
6:25 - You are not the only person who has noticed that LANL has a few sloths in its midst. I agree that some LANL employees lack the discipline to actually work the hours expected of them under a flexible schedule. As for 9:58 - it must be nice to work in a division that doesn't have much to do, or contribute much to anything - except maybe one's own CV.
 
6:25 - LANL exempt staff work-hours are measured in the majority of each half-day increments. This has led to the evolution of a class of LANL staff characterized as if running a "dry cleaning business"..."In-by-10, out-by-3".
 
11:31 and 9:52 speak only for themselves.
 
I worked for several years at a Naval Lab that had 9/80. It was instituted as an energy saving measure during the energy crisis of the 80's, and everyone had the same day off. I think this worked much better than the LANL flexible 9/80, and obviates many of the postings here about abusing the system. And it did reduce operating costs. Also, if you needed to come in on your off day to get some extra work done, it was quiet and you could get a lot accomplished -- now if you are in on your off day it's assumed you are not off and so available to go to meetings, etc. And there was no confusion as to whether anybody was around to sign a form or answer a question -- you knew which Friday nobody was there to sign or answer and made sure you had what you needed by C.O.B. Thursday. If a Naval Lab can handle "just being closed" every other Friday, I don't see why we can't.
 
ADSR Emailgram
April 4, 2005


A recent survey of issues at LANL identified communication as the source of most frustration among staff. There is a feeling that staff is not part of the process in making critical decisions; further, the decision process is hardly transparent, and policies and procedures are passed down without explanation. My experience as a division leader and now my very short tenure as an AD seem to echo this complaint. However, it is also true that LANL is an incredibly complex place with a plethora of stakeholders, including the workforce, LASO, NNSA, other federal and state regulators, and the local community. This complexity often results in awkward messages coming out of the "administration," and rumor rules the day. An example of this is the recent announcements of LANL returning to some sort of an Alternative Work Week (AWW). The vast majority of the LANL workforce would like a flexible workweek, especially after experiencing the 9/80s in the last decade. Unfortunately, the LANL implementation of the 9/80 is very ineffective (many more people were on schedule B, people regularly changed schedules and management did not evaluate impacts, and there was a small, but significant population of workers that took advantage of lax oversight and abused the system). Most senior management recognized that it was very important to introduce a flexible work week, and a very significant amount of work was done to bench mark how other Labs implemented non 8-to-5 schedules. This work resulted in a detailed proposal for AWW that was approved by the Executive Board 2 weeks ago. However, before the AWW could be implemented it required approval from the University of California, and discussion with the local community for input on possible impacts. Both the approval and consultation are under way, but have not been completed. The basic proposal was presented to the Laboratory Information Meeting (LIM) last Tuesday, and almost immediately it was broadcast as a fait accompli. This caused problems in that (1) the expectation is that AWW will begin immediately, and (2) why wasn't senior management communicating again! I have every expectation there will be a flexible work schedule soon - but I don't know if it will be exactly as the EB approved (after mollifying community and UC concerns), and it will likely take 6 weeks or more to implement. It will also require significant commitment from management to oversee the program and assure that the mission of the lab is executed in an efficient and productive manner. In short, this is an example of the difficulty in implementing change at LANL, and effectively communicating that change.
 
If someone is stealing time from the laboratory- they should be fired. Instead LANL punishes 10,000?

I'm sorry-but we had 9/80- how can it be so difficult to reintroduce it??

This is an example of the problem with this administration- it takes Nanos one second to take something away as a dramatic punishment. Then he and the fourth floor make all this noisy fanfare to bring it back (worse).

Unlike all these thieves of legend, I mostly worked my Fridays off- This new plan sounds so complicated that I'm not even interested. Employee morale is in the toilet- and the lab just keeps digging itself in deeper.
 
So did I. That won't be happening again - even if I have to go sit in a bar and drink all day.
 
Gimme a break 3:48.

You have to check with the local community to see the impact of my work schedule? What if they don't like it?

I think you forgot to say you had to run it by Domenici as well.

Upper management credibility just keeps climbing.
 
I should clarify that new ADSR Terry Wallace sent the 3:48 post by e-mail to all ADSR employees. As one such employee, I decided to copy it to the blog inasmuch as it was of general interest to everyone at LANL.
 
I think I understand the laboratory's interest in trying to not negatively impact the local economy by a work-week change but it seems like a VERY small thing after all the changes to purchasing over the last few years. It seems that LANL doesn't want to drive any of the lunch providers out of business but it is okay that 'best business practices' dictate that we drive the book stores and office supply stores, etc out of business.

I, for one, no longer go to many of the 'lunch spots' because they are not open when I want to take my family to dinner. Like on a Saturday afternoon when I get out of a matinee. Please don't let the Chamber of Commerce have more influence over the new work schedule than I have as an employee.
 
"It seems that LANL doesn't want to drive any of the lunch providers out of business but it is okay that 'best business practices' dictate that we drive the book stores and office supply stores, etc out of business."

On the other hand LANL needs to seriously evaluate providers for government vehicle maintenance. On a number of occasions an oil-change shop has returned vehicles with nothing more done that a wipe of the windows and placement of a new sticker on the windshield for scheduling the next oil change interval. The vehicles were never touched under the hood...oil not changed, filters untouched, fluids left low, etc. Who are the contract administrators again? What small-business awards did you receive again? Time for a culture-change.
 
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