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Library Quarterly Report FY23 Q1: July-Sept 2022

A new chapter: Libraries Adapt to COVID-19


n months 29-31 of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the VDOT Research Library persevered in its efforts to return "in-person" staffing to pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, reconciling staffing requirements with staff availability was a challenge that was not resolved by the end of the quarter. 

On July 5, 2022 Virginia Chief of Staff Geoff Goettman announced a new telework policy, calling VDOT employees back to physical work spaces. These FAQs clarified the state's stance on telework, indicating employees who wished to telework would have to re-apply at levels of 1-day, 2-day or "full time" (3+ days/week). Requests required approval at progressively higher levels. Anything beyond 1 day a week would need approval beyond VDOT. 
Previous guidance from VDOT's Commissioner required employees to work in person 20% of the time, but not more than 40% of the time. VTRC managers were required to balance those requirements with maximum building occupancy guidelines—no easy task. 

In the end Rebecca Ernest and Barb Neyman were not authorized to telework. Gil Kenner was authorized to telework 2 days a week. Ken Winter was authorized to remain a full-time teleworker, as he had pre-pandemic. Rebecca Ernest returned to in-person work one day a week in September 2021, joining Barb Neyman, who came back first (in December 2020) and Gil Kenner (back one day a week) in March of 2021. Schedules have varied since then, with gradual increases in overlap. Our initial goal was to have at least one person at the library Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting in the summer of 2021. By the end of this quarter the goal was "in person" coverage Monday-Friday.

Rebecca Ernest worked from Suffolk 6 times this quarter and staff took above-average days of unpaid leave, which left the library with no staff on two days this quarter. To avoid that in the future we are considering a better scheduling tool. 

Library 'In-Person' Staffing Levels: Before & During the Pandemic

Graphic showing pre-covid and covid era "in person" staffing levels.

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