On Tuesday, April 21, over 1,700 Lab citizens joined together in a virtual Town Hall with senior leaders. While most of the questions were answered live, there were a few that didn’t get answered due to lack of time.
Here they are.
Q: We have seen in the past few weeks that many jobs can be successfully performed remotely and meetings can be conducted over Zoom. Will the Lab consider permanent, enhanced telecommuting in a post-pandemic environment?
A: There are discussions underway on a longer-term approach to the Lab’s telecommuting policy.
Q: Would the Lab revise its policy on which furniture can be brought home, such as stand-up desks if mandatory telework is extended for many more months?
A: The revision of the policy for home use will be part of the discussions underway on a longer-term approach to the Lab’s telecommuting policy.
Q: Which governmental body is the Lab ultimately beholden to when it comes to shelter-in-place orders?
A: With few exceptions, the Lab is required to comply with all governmental orders at all levels, and we attempt to align our practices with all pertinent orders. Thus far during the pandemic, state, county, and municipal authorities have been careful to enact orders that are complementary and do not conflict. When there are conflicts, we seek practices that align as much as possible with all orders, in consultation with DOE and UC.
Q: Can we start planning for seminars, conferences, and business travel?
A: No. All business travel remains restricted. The Lab has not revised its policy on business travel, which remains suspended until DOE guidance is in effect to allow such travel. No costs (i.e. prepaid airfare, registration fees, lodging deposits, etc.) are to be incurred until the travel restrictions are lifted.
Conference planning activities can take place for virtual meetings only at this time.
Q: Are there any mental health or emotional well-being resources available?
A: The Lab has available mental health resources. The Employee Assistance Program through the University of California Berkeley offers confidential, no-cost assistance with counseling and referrals. If you have a University of California health plan, contact your health insurance provider to inquire about any mental and behavioral health services offered with your plan.