Friday, April 01, 2005
Some reasonably good news would be nice
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…
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?
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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.