Note to Mrs Veronica Gaffey, Director of PMO: “Open Space” in your services

R&D congratulates you on your appointment as Director of the PMO. We trust that in the future we will be able to embark in constructive cooperation to ensure that quality of service to all the institution’s staff is maintained.

However, given the importance of the services provided daily by your staff to more than 40,000 colleagues and the workload that results from it, it is essential to guarantee the best conditions of work and welfare.

… any prior study or  serious consultation with those affected …

Therefore, we draw your attention to the fact that the setting up of open-plan office in your services without any prior study or consultation with those affected has not been car­ried out seriously as stipulated in the Manual of conditions accommodation of Commission services -part 2 .

R&D has denounced all of these new office arrangements that endanger the welfare of staff since October 2010 ( «Open space: colleagues to be crammed into offices! ).

Certainly, if some functions in certain services are more conducive to be made in open space, others, however, due to their specificities and specialties, need to be performed in a single office.

The well-being of staff… A priority for the Commission….

3 vice-presidents in charge of staff matters, Messrs. S. Kallas and Šef?ovi? and Mrs. K. Georgieva, acknowledged that, while continuing to meet budgetary constraints, the working environment and the well-being of staff should be and must remain a priority for the Commission.

Unlike the erratic and thoughtful approach to the OIB, the rationalisation of space needs to be considered and studied by analysing the situations case by case and providing optimal solutions for each department concerned.

In addition, new working time arrangements (teleworking, flexitime and part-time) cannot be an alibi to automatically and continuously worsen working conditions and reduce the office spaces of colleagues that benefit from them.

Despite scientific studies showing damaging effects of “Open Space” and “Hot Desk”, on staff health and efficiency of services, OIB continues to thoughtfully impose this pro­perty policy to the various DG and offices.

 As the Housing Conditions Manual (HCM) imposes the necessity of  obtaining feedback from colleagues involved  before implementing any Open Space proposal,  certain services have engaged in botched consultations, claiming later to have received  a favourable opinion from those colleagues.

This was the case regarding the PMO with a comic-cut presentation that will be remembered ( Removal of PMO to CSM2. All in Open Space! ) although it has been superse­ded by a new achievement regarding  the setting up  of open-plan office at the JRC in Brussels.

R&D always attentive to colleagues decided to address Brussels PMO staff …

Therefore, faithful to its commitment to be always attentive to colleagues, R&D decided to address Brussels PMO staff directly by launching a proper survey, guaranteeing the anonymity of responses and the reliability of results, in order to defend this file with arguments and comments of interested parties themselves.

285 colleagues responded to the survey, representing a total participation of 67 % of PMO staff. This shows that this policy is felt deeply by the staff concerned, most of them Contract Agents at our service.

…The results…

We conducted a detailed analysis of the results based on Commission’s reference texts and relying on scientific studies specific to this area.

So, during your term of office, we invite you to read this report and take the necessary steps to thoroughly review the measures envisaged, so that your staff can work in the most suitable conditions to the requirements of different jobs, and that a climate of well-being can be established in the concerned services.

This would be the best start of your management and your staff would not fail to be deeply grateful to you. As was the case for the approach taken by the new Director-General of DG TAXUD.

We remain of course at your disposal to provide all the required help.

Cristiano SEBASTIANI

(Signed)

President

 

Annex:  Survey OPEN SPACE PMO—Results and Analysis

 

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