Exploring where and how we work at Berkeley Lab.


During the pandemic, we quickly learned to work in entirely new and creative ways. Although we have faced a few challenges, we’ve been very successful. It’s clear that after this experience, the Lab and the professional world will never be the same.

We are in the process of adopting new processes that formalize more flexible modes of work at the Lab. We recognize that our former paradigm of everyone coming to work at a central location isn’t the only way to accomplish the Lab’s mission. While it’s true that many of our jobs can only be accomplished on site, others can be successfully completed by coming together several times a week or a few times per month. For some, working remotely accomplishes the mission and is the best option for the individual and the Lab.

This change in the way we work will require us to be innovative, flexible, and agile. We’ll learn as we go, and we will make changes as needed. People have asked if there is a specific date for this change. The conversations start now, but the changes we are discussing will not be fully implemented until the local pandemic safety measures are no longer needed. Please take advantage of this time to read the information, join us at the Town Hall, and talk with your colleagues about the best way to work while still delivering on the Lab’s mission.

Mike Witherell

Laboratory Director

Carol Burns

Deputy Director for Research and Chief Research Officer

Michael Brandt

Deputy Director for Operations and Chief Operating Officer

What Stays the Same


Our mission at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is to solve the most pressing and profound scientific problems facing humankind.


Benefits, Challenges, & Considerations


Challenges & Considerations

  • Increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention

  • Broaden the pool of available talent

  • Contribute to sustainability goals

  • Ensure business continuity

  • Use work space more efficiently and save money

  • Reduced spontaneity of interactions, which could adversely affect innovation, collaboration, creativity, and team culture.

  • Fewer in-person networking and relationship-building opportunities for the employee and key stakeholders.

  • Some employees whose duties could allow them to work off-site may not be eligible for a flexible work option if distractions or a suboptimal work space exists that affects their ability to be productive.

  • Possible additional equipment purchases/technology training.

  • Not all jobs are performed effectively off-site.

  • Possible loss of organizational culture with a loss of spontaneous encounters that are beneficial to creative endeavors and building trust.

  • Supervising a remote team can be more challenging because interactions might be less frequent, spontaneous, and personal.

  • Some employees may find working from home overwhelming and separating home and work and home life difficult.

  • Scheduling may be a challenge for teams that would require rotational on-site presence.

  • Training and onboarding new team members requires additional effort and diligence.