• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.

Staffing under the current circumstances

Staffing level

  • Business as usual

    Votes: 9 37.5%
  • Limited staff

    Votes: 11 45.8%
  • Shut down

    Votes: 2 8.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 8.3%

  • Total voters
    24
  • Poll closed .

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
5,834
Points
29
All staff still accounted for. Change to agency's WFH rules - now interns can do it, too! Entire department can work from home. Most are being smart and doing that.

Right now, we are good and everyone can keep working. But if it lasts into summer, we will first terminate the interns, then start either terminating staff, reducing hours (forcing part-time status), or taking an across-the-board pay cut.

I stayed working through the recession, but at a lower position and obviously for less pay. I would be willing to go with a pay cut in order to keep other benefits and staffing levels.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,446
Points
48
We are working with limited staff in the office. Our department though is completely working from home. Which I clearly think is best.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,349
Points
67
Limited staff. Closed to visitors. Our department has four planners, and we've arranged our schedules so only one or two of us are on site. Otherwise, we're working from home via sneakernet -- no VPN or remote access to our file server.

I'm considered the "least critical" since the majority of my work doesn't involve development review. I'm still going to show up a day or two a week, to stay connected, and because I really need it to stay on track. I also don't want to be out of sight, out of mind.
 

dw914er

Cyburbian
Messages
1,397
Points
18
Business as usual, though surrounding jurisdictions are starting to close their City Hall.
 

luckless pedestrian

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,994
Points
46
Business as usual but anyone with compromised immunity or over the age of 60 is working from home - building closed to outside people
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,117
Points
41
We are a county of 1.2 million and our county offices are completely closed to non-essential personnel. This includes courts, jail, sheriff, health, animal control, treasurer, etc. We've delayed any collection of property taxes and waived any added fees, costs, and penalties. Yesterday I volunteered to work in our emergency operations center and today I'm "on call" and our normally very busy campus of 4,000+ workers and many people coming and going for business was empty.

Most of the business units in our Economic Development and Community Affairs division (which includes planning, housing, workforce development, marketing, and business finance) are completely empty except for a couple of supervisors and the division manager. We've got one particular supervisor in the division who insists that all of her personnel are essential and I saw that they were all in the office yesterday. Towards the end of the day I think one of the Deputy County Executives told her to get over herself and start allowing her people to work from home, or else.

The people in the health department are putting in a lot of extra hours right now and our workforce development group oversees the 6 unemployment offices in the county. The unemployment offices have been absolutely slammed since late last week. Yesterday or Tuesday the governor ordered all of them to close their lobbies and go to online and telephone consultations only but their phones and internet have been crashing due to the volume of calls coming in. We're working on setting up a centralized hotline system and phone bank for the people trying to call our county unemployment offices but it will take a bit of time.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
488
Points
20
Building closed to the outside. All staff have ability to work from home as they wish. We are scrambling to set up online board meetings while still following open meeting law.

So far, people will be paid full hours whether they are working full hours or not. Anybody with kids who have a closed school can use sick time to cover days they don't WFH and are doing kid-care.

We are starting to talk about rotating staff so we aren't all here on the same day to limit our exposure to one another. I'm not too worried though, it's a big office and we all have lots of space and ability to keep bathrooms and other common stuff sanitized.

We may find ourselves "non-essential" and be ordered to WFH at any point.


So far it has been a big ramp-up in how to do things digitally- nobody was using MS teams or any real project management software before this. Very old-school. If there's a silver lining in all of this, it will be that we come out the other end able to support flexible hours and remote work.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,853
Points
47
We have one person staffing the department per day and everyone else works from home. Everyone is rotating out days that they are in office. Currently City Hall is open to the public, but there is strong discouragement for folks coming into the office for any reason and we are encouraging everyone to maximize the use of online resources. There is discussion that we might close City Hall to the public on Monday.

We are using zoom for teleconferences and we have a daily video meeting. We are also using Microsoft Teams to keep in contact with each other for little questions throughout the day. Everyone has their desk phone forwarded to their cell phone.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,914
Points
40
As of today, Town facilities are largely closed to the public, but remain staffed. We have plans for limited staffing if it becomes needed.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,446
Points
48
So far it has been a big ramp-up in how to do things digitally- nobody was using MS teams or any real project management software before this. Very old-school. If there's a silver lining in all of this, it will be that we come out the other end able to support flexible hours and remote work.
I am hoping that this will make governments more agile and allow us to provide a more competitive work environment like the private sector. Government has been very old school, because generally those are who are in charge. As the next generations move through leadership, and through office, it is my hope that we work to streamline our ability to get good workers who also get to have lives.

I enjoy my job, but I certainly could work from home a day or two, without much effort or loss of service. The idea that a government office needs to be accessible to the public 5 days a week is antiquated. We can be "available" 7 days a week for certain tasks, and maybe 3 or 4 for others.

I also hope that this shows our country how much better off we are when we are not all going to offices and grinding for too many hours a week. Our economy is going to take a really big hit on the chin.... there are going to be a lot of changes. Not sure which ones will be good or bad, but there will be lots of them.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,354
Points
50
Regular staff in our department. Other departments have limited or no staff or shut down to public service.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,473
Points
50
We're business as usual-ish.

City Hall is open and most staff here (some are remote, like in Finance).

I will talk to the Mayor today about staggering my Dept's staff to work from home for those whose it is easy.

As for childcare needs for my staff, I'm the only one with underage children and my wife is home with them as she has a part time job that's still operating and has always primarily been WFH, so it's working well.

Though, we'll see what the Gov says today or the next couple days...
 
Last edited:

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,147
Points
29
Most staff working from home with limited office visits to keep as few people in the office together as possible. I am actually going in to work today to copy some files. They don't want more than two people on my floor at a time.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,195
Points
31
Business as usual except there are far few folks coming in. Which is good because so much of what people come in for could be accomplished with a call anyway. But it's the south and people like to see you. We're taking precautions and limiting exposure but we're open and doing work.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,354
Points
50
Sounds like we are considering access to city hall by appointment only.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,665
Points
32
Sounds like we are considering access to city hall by appointment only.
We're going this way by close of business tomorrow. Come Monday, our offices are closed to the public with the exception of the Health Department. DSS is splitting their employees in half. Half will be out in the field, the other half is in the office. The field staff will not re-enter the offices and communicate electronically with quarantined staff. I'm working on a deposit box outside our office that will allow the public to drop permits and plats in.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,354
Points
50
I just keep reminding every developer that you really don't need to turn in those plans today. Maybe consider doing electronic plans or just waiting. Nothing dies if you wait a couple weeks. Sadly the one guy I told to do electronic plans asked if that was okay even though he did the first round paper (our city charges different for electronic review - don't start). All I could tell him was to talk to our electronic plan review support and yes, we'll most likely make you stop in to give us plans. You would think that would be the first thing we cleared up.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,300
Points
37
My building houses both county and city offices. It is now open to the public by appointment only.
The planning staff is working remotely (3 staff). As Director, I will visit every other day to receive snail mail and handle whatever can’t be finished remotely.
Skeleton crew for all other departments.
For now, the public seems to be very understanding and patient about it. We’ll see how long that lasts.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,092
Points
71
City hall closed to the public. Essential staff permitted on site. 'Supplemental staff' working remotely.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,354
Points
50
I'm expecting to get a similar mandate today. I'm hoping to be working from home Monday.
 

Cal_Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
98
Points
4
Right now, we are good and everyone can keep working. But if it lasts into summer, we will first terminate the interns, then start either terminating staff, reducing hours (forcing part-time status), or taking an across-the-board pay cut.

I stayed working through the recession, but at a lower position and obviously for less pay. I would be willing to go with a pay cut in order to keep other benefits and staffing levels.
We are completely shut down. I changed jobs less than two months ago and this is definitely a concern. 🙏
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,081
Points
34
I already work from home, so that has not changed, but all travel is cancelled for the foreseeable future. The city I live in has sent staff home and all building inspections are off. My clients have also moved to remote work. We are seeing a lot of the bids we are pursuing get postponed, and hopefully not cancelled. We are also being told that shipping is slow and are seeing telecommunications problems from the volume of use. The changing economic environment is working its way into our projects. Commercial market analyses now suddenly need to consider temporary closures and the potential that a good number may be permanent. Will companies like JCPenney, Gordman's (National), and others that were already on the ropes be able to survive several weeks of closures? How about those independent shops and restaurants? Economic development strategies need to consider the impact of a recession. A business incubator analysis we are doing is now looking at triage strategies for entrepreneurs in the post-Corono era.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,665
Points
32
Emergency order has been declared. We are officially closed to the general public as of 03/20/2020 at 5:00 pm.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,195
Points
31
We will be open for business but closed to the public beginning Monday. No face to face interaction with the public. Other municipalities around here have passed ordinances to conduct meetings without the public in attendance but still participating electronically. We're still trying to figure that part out.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,665
Points
32
Our office has a vestibule and we're currently in a fight whether we should open that up for people to fill out permits and drop off hard copies. I'm of the opinion that we absolutely have to keep that option open, but I think I'm in the minority.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,134
Points
37
Our office has a vestibule and we're currently in a fight whether we should open that up for people to fill out permits and drop off hard copies. I'm of the opinion that we absolutely have to keep that option open, but I think I'm in the minority.
I think that is a reasonable and safe approach. You're safe but you are also providing the services your citizens have a right to.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,562
Points
30
We have been closed to the public since Tuesday. We have shifted to all digital submittals. I wish we accepted credit cards, that would make life a ton easier. We have ordered blue beam to run digital reviews. I used zoom yesterday to do an online inspection, went off without a hitch.

Instead of VPN (reserved for middle management and above), we have implemented splashtop.com. Essentially, if you have another computer at home, you can remotely connect and work. We are a small budget group, but we are trying to reach strides to stay open, keep people employed, and keep construction going.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
6,665
Points
32
We have ordered blue beam to run digital reviews. I used zoom yesterday to do an online inspection, went off without a hitch.
Can you explain how this works? Our inspectors are still conducting field inspections but we are looking to limit that as much as possible.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,562
Points
30
Can you explain how this works? Our inspectors are still conducting field inspections but we are looking to limit that as much as possible.
Zoom is free. Sign up, send an invitie out to the attendee. They join at a specified time, show you what you ask for. Done.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,134
Points
37
Zoom is free. Sign up, send an invitie out to the attendee. They join at a specified time, show you what you ask for. Done.
My Sunday School class at church did a trial run with this on Wednesday. It works fine, but go with the option that looks like the Hollywood Squares or Brady Bunch.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
12,533
Points
47
I think PW is being made to review digital plans now...& its takes something like this to force it.

Employee Notice:
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,473
Points
50
Today is the first day of 50/50 staffing in my dept till at least April 6th, but could be longer depending on the flattening of the curve in my State/part of my State.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
5,834
Points
29
I live in one county that went to shelter in place Monday night, effective until April 3rd unless extended. My office is in another county, that started shelter in place this morning. The building owners are requiring documentation (can be an email or a piece of paper) from our Agency director that states you are essential or they will not let you in the building (total lockdown).

Agency went to please work from home starting Tuesday the 17th (announcement went out late Monday) for two weeks (March 27th), longer if needed. I have a feeling that will be extended, based on the County orders.

My department is doing OK for now. Fingers crossed we all make it to May.
 
Top