Brainstorming to save money

Bruce Chrisman, Fermilab’s chief operating officer, wrote this column.

Bruce Chrisman

With the recent laboratory cutbacks and the ongoing economic situation, we are all brainstorming ways to save money. As such, I will address two ideas that several employees have brought to our attention.

The first is a shuttle for Fermilab employees and users to and from the train station. This is an appealing prospect, especially with the soaring price of gas, but Fermilab’s contract with DOE does not allow for the cost of commuting for employees or users.

The other suggestion we’ve heard frequently is the possibility of moving to a four-day workweek, with employees working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. In the past, we’ve analyzed this idea with little headway. Fermilab is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week facility. In order to have enough personnel for necessary safe operations, we cannot parse down the number of days in the workweek across the board. For example, it would be nearly impossible for management and supervisors to schedule meetings within each division, section and center.

We are actively investigating other cost-saving measures. I encourage you to speak up if you have an idea that could make the laboratory more efficient or that could ease difficulties for your colleagues.