This guide provides information and direction on Brookhaven Lab’s efforts to implement the COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Reentry Plan. In the Plan we will bring more employees back to work at the Lab site with consideration for the continually evolving circumstances determined by COVID-19 pandemic conditions. While about a third of Lab employees have been working at the Lab site throughout most of the pandemic, the rest have been teleworking or working remotely for much of the time since March 2020. For those returning to the site in the Plan, this will be a major transition. If you have questions regarding your status, talk with your supervisor or host, who can provide you with more information.
The Federal Government and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are committed to addressing essential work requirements consistent with best public health practices. Of paramount concern – to DOE and BSA – is the health and safety of all employees, guests, users, and visitors.
Recovery planning is being coordinated through the Lab’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Detailed Directorate-level recovery plans are grounded in restoration of the science mission in a graded, incremental approach over time. The Lab’s approach is agile and has been informed by:
- The DOE Workplace Safety and Reentry Framework;
- The Brookhaven National Laboratory COVID-19 Workplace Safety and Reentry Plan
- Federal guidelines (e.g., from the White House, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]);
- State and regional guidelines (from Executive Orders and NYS Department of Health, Suffolk County Department of Health Services); and
- Consideration of local pandemic conditions (determined by the Occupational Medicine Clinic [OMC]).
As Federal/DOE or Local/ NYS guidelines are updated, they will be covered on the Resumption of Operations and Coronavirus Resources website.
This information will guide operational status and response and is sustainable for as long as needed to protect staff. Key guiding principles, across all operational phases, include:
- Maintaining low risk of COVID-19 transmission at the Lab by providing reasonable assurance of a low probability of staff being infected with COVID-19 while on site, and that staff returning to the site are not actively infected with COVID-19.
- Enabling optimal productivity.
Framework for Return to Site
Using the framework detailed in this guide, the Lab intends to bring most employees who have been teleworking back to the Lab site, as DOE guidance and local conditions allow. This framework also recognizes that a “hybrid” work environment, where many employees have ongoing telework agreements, will be an important element of the future workplace. We will conduct an orderly reentry through a phased return to the physical workplace.
Role of Level 1 Managers and Their Delegates
Customize your directorate’s, department’s, division’s, or staff office’s return plan based on needs and space while considering the Lab’s mission and safety. The Facilities & Operations Directorate staff will work with you to clearly understand your space needs currently, near-term, and long-term. The Environment, Safety & Health Directorate, Office of Emergency Management, and COVID-19 Task Force will keep you informed of changing conditions.
Establish the pace of return. As employees are identified to return to work on site, let them know when they’re expected to return, what training they may be due to complete, any changes to their work location/setting, and what portion of time they will be working on site in the coming months.
Change Management: The “People Side” of Change
Every employee’s experience with the pandemic has been unique. Some remained on site, some split their time between on-site work and teleworking, while others set up home offices and carried out continuing work demands. As we move forward with the transition, consider if your direct reports and teammates are aware of the need for this change, understand what they need to do, have the ability to implement required skills and actions, and have the support they need to sustain activities.