Active Topics

Work-life Balance - It is challenging to balance project work with writing proposals and papers. As the many programs move further from block funding to soft funding, balancing work and life become more complex. Employees are finding that there is insufficient time and/or financial support to enable project/program work and writing proposals and papers within a reasonable workweek.

SPOT Awards - Spot awards are inconsistently used within and across divisions. The program should be better promoted and encouraged so that all supervisors are aware that it is available to them. Additionally, the program could be used to strategically promote positive performance behaviors that we would like to incentivize.

Promotion Guidelines - There is a lack of clarity amongst staff about what it takes to be promoted. There should be clear written documentation to communicate what is expected to develop for and be promoted into the various job classifications.

Mentoring Program - A formal mentoring program could be used to develop and motivate employees. The committee is investigating whether employees have interest in a mentoring program and how one might be effectively structured and administered.

Pending or on Hold

LBL Pedestrian Map - The lab's new interactive map site provides graphical identification of locations at the lab, plus information about driving and parking, but nothing about the many walkways and stairways and how to use them to get where you want to go.  We have been exploring using GPS devices and Google Maps to define walkways and provide directions for common walking trips at the lab.

Encouraging the formation of public gathering spaces at the lab - both in new buildings and outdoors. 

Physical Sciences Non-technical Seminar Series - A seminar series designed for non-technical staff might be helpful in increasing employee engagement and connection to the Laboratory mission. The PSWLC proposed to host a series where divisions would alternate in presenting or coordinated the non-technical talk. The seminars would be advertised in each division and also on an area calendar. A PS calendar is currently being developed as part of the new PS website.

CPR Training Availability - CPR Training policy was changed April 2015 to give priority to those required or recommended to take the training. Those who wish to take it as an elective are unable to preregister for the course but may be able to take it via "stand by" if a registered participant is absent. For the overall safety of the Laboratory, it is imperative to have many individuals training in CPR and First Aid. We proposed a change in the practice to allow employees to register for the course after required and recommended employees have registered for the training. 

Closed Topics

Conference Room Ownership - There seems to be a lack of consistency in the amenities and maintenance of conference rooms. IT has developed a webpage that allows Common users to update conference room features. The PSWLC will update Physical Science owned conference rooms.

VAATAG Activities - The Vehicle Access and Alternative Transportation Advisory Group (VAATAG) was established to advise Lab management on the implementation of solutions to address congestion and environmental impacts of commuting at Berkeley Lab. The chair of the PSWLC is also a member of the VAATAG. The PSWLC regularly discusses issues and solutions that pertain to VAATAG activities. Through this conduit, the PSWLC is able to provide suggestions to influence VAATAG discussions/proposals. The VAATAG committee was disbanded in lieu of a new transportation committee.

Lab Shuttle and NextBus- During the Lab Shuttle Bus replacement that occurred during the fall of 2015, the NextBus system ceased to function properly - reporting hour-long wait times.  The committee contacted Facilities who reported that the problem was associated with NextBus equipment lagging Bus replacement.  PSWLC continues to monitor NextBus.

Ombuds - An question was sent to the committee inquiring about an Ombuds representative for Lab employees. We have found that the Lab no longer offers an Ombuds service. The complaint process should be followed; the final step in the process is professional, binding arbitration. LBNL has a list of arbitrators and employees can suggest others.

Visa Communication - When employee Visa status changes, there can be a 6 month period of time when the spouse cannot work. This policy needs to be better communicated to Visa holders and plan to live on one income or decide whether/when to pursue the more permanent Visa. The IRSO office has updated their Visa Services website so that it is now a lot more comprehensive and explains Visa options. They also offer monthly orientation meetings for international employees and guests.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations - In B71, there is a rush in the morning to get to the coveted charging station first. More charging outlets are needed. The PSWLC discussed this issue but learned that the Lab has a plan to install 15 new charging stations in the near term.

Parking at LBL- We all know that parking can be problematic at the main LBL site, and the increased occupancy coming after the current construction boom makes the issue more pressing.  The lab directorate has formed a parking committee.  The PSWLC discussed parking and provided this list of recommendations to the LBNL parking committee.

Wellness Coaching- Did you know that UC healthcare wellness coaching was available to LBL employees and retirees with lab-provided healthcare? Furthermore, there is a Rewards Program for people who complete the program by Dec. 15 2014. For further information, look here.

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for LBNL- We have received many questions about acquiring AEDs over recent years. After meeting with Health Services, a request for further inquiry was made to the Division Directors, which was approved and passed on to the LBL Chief Operating Officer. This request can be found here.  AEDs have recently been purchased and installed throughout the lab.  Their locations and other information will be posted soon.

Telecommuting- We have coordinated our efforts with two other committees here at the Lab, and this project is now being handled by Human Resources. Employees and supervisors are being surveyed, and a list of both benefits and issues pertaining to telecommuting is being compiled.

VISA Renewal Process- We conducted a review of the VISA renewal process from the user standpoint and found that a website was needed that provided basic information about both the process and expected timeline. Our findings were submitted to submitted to Human Resources, and are being evaluated for potential implementation.
Travel Reimbursements- Travel reimbursement times can vary by division. After reviewing travel data, our committee decided not to pursue this this issue for the immediate future.

Building a Fitness & Wellness Center at LBNL- After conducting the initial footwork in to building a Wellness Center, a fitness club was formed to pursue this objective.

Postdoc Networking- Identifying a need for improved postdoc networking and career information sharing, we sought ways to make this happen. Our investigation revealed a similar Human Resources effort, and we are awaiting their results.

Mentoring- A process for mentoring new LBNL employees was initiated for the three General Sciences divisions, and has now moved in to a Lab-wide Human Resources effort.

Conexis- A discussion was conducted with Human Resources regarding recent Conexis issues, such as 1.) people not being reimbursed for prescribed drugs and 2.) difficult website to navigate. HR has given feedback to both UC and Conexis.

Lab-wide Feedback Process-
The need for a Lab-wide feedback process to resolve problems and answer questions was identified, preferable one similar to the way one submits a computer issue to IT. A recommendation was submitted to the Operations Directorate.

Simplifying Procurement Returns- Returning goods that have been purchased is complicated and problematic. This issue is currently under investigation.

Publicizing Lab Employment "Perks" to Employees- To increase awareness of the discounts available to LBNL employees, a list has been complied and placed on the Lab's website. It can be found here

Lab Mailbox- The postal box by the Lab's ATM machine next to the cafeteria was removed, creating an inconvenience for many people. While our investigation determined that a new postal box is not feasible, we did discover that mail can be dropped off at the front desk of the Guest House. 
Issues & concerns are are brought up by one of three ways:
  • Feedback from division personnel (including using the form below)
  • Committee member request
  • Division Director request

Workplace and Quality of Life Feedback Form

Subpages (1): Mentoring