Building closures in winter – ding, ding, ding, we have a winner

*Update 18.11.2022 many buildings will be closed between Christmas and New Year.* *Update 9.11.2022 a colleague got in touch to say that Berlaymont (BERL) is also to move to open space and hot-desking but the timeline is not yet fixed.*

Many rumours are currently spreading around the potential closure of Commission buildings during winter. It seems that we now have a clear winner: the Commission has decided not just to close the Hitec (HTC) building in Luxembourg temporarily, but to abandon it completely. The building, home to DG SANTE’s directorate B, is to be handed back to the owner by the end of the year, yes this current year.

SANTE colleagues have had to move at short notice to the nearby Drosbach (DRB) building. Normally, a directorate changing to an alternative, already-existing Commission building would hardly be newsworthy, but the circumstances of this move pushed us towards sending a note to DG HR, enquiring about practically every aspect of this relocation.

  1. It is not known at all why the building is given up in the first place and there’s no mention of the move on the DG SANTE MyIntracomm site. Rumours relate this to failed negotiations with the owner, but they are just rumours. Normally, the Joint Committee on Health and Safety and embellishment of workplaces (CSHT) in Luxembourg would have been the right place to explain this and for us to ask all the usual questions, but the Committee is completely unaware of the relocation.
  2. Colleagues are now encouraged to telework during the week 31 October-4 November, i.e. for an entire week. When the same colleagues had previously asked whether telework would be permitted on 3-4 November this seemed not possible. We see here a rather typical example of ‘flexibility’ in the Commission: the administration expects full flexibility.
  3. Teleworking is officially voluntary (any one of us can choose to be present in the office 100%) but, for building-capacity reasons, SANTE colleagues have been assigned desks for the 2 obligatory days of presence only. A SANTE colleague’s assigned desk is not their desk on the 3 other days. This is the wild west of hot-desking:   anyone wanting to be present on any of the remaining 3 days will have to physically hunt down a spare desk, grab it and keep a hold of it. There is no online booking system: for those officially hotdesking (working in a ‘dynamic space’) there is a booking system. So, again, how voluntary is teleworking? How to find your colleagues when they must use whichever random desk they manage to find? Will colleagues end up working in the canteen? Do all colleagues have a lock [1] for their laptop?

Are any of you who are able to telework choosing to work 100% in the office? Are there any difficulties with this? Do you leave your laptop at work? Please share your experience! We will raise your points in the new WTHW committee.

As always, we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us or leave a comment below.

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[1] Some laptops were provided without a kensington-style lock to anchor the laptop to furniture.  You can request one via My IT Support

REQUEST TYPE [choose] Install NON-STANDARD peripherals for a user
Misc. (specify) [write] ‘laptop locking cable’

Justification*: [write] ‘No locking cable was provided with laptop’

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