After the omicron variant of COVID-19 delayed plans to return many workers to their offices, telework remained allowable and well-utilized for eligible employees across the civilian nuclear weapons complex last week, spokespersons said.
As during the previous two years of the ongoing pandemic, policies were most liberal at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear-weapons laboratories, where about half of employees were still teleworking as of last week, spokespersons for the sites said in emails on Friday. NNSA is the semiautonomous Department of Energy agency responsible for maintenance and modernization of nuclear warheads and bombs.
At the Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, the number was about 52%. At the Sandia National Laboratories in the central part of the state, the number was about 55%. At the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to the west of San Francisco, “a bit more than half of the workforce was on site last week,” a spokesperson said.
At the Nevada National Security Site, meanwhile, about 43% of the workforce was teleworking, a spokesperson for the test site said Friday.
The NNSA’s three weapons production sites, the Kansas City National Security Campus in Missouri, the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas and the Y-12 National Security Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., would not say how many of their employees were teleworking, or allowed to telework.
Typically, the production sites have had more people inside the fence during the pandemic than the labs and headquarters.
As for headquarters, “only individuals whose key duties or work activities are required to be performed on-site are working at NNSA headquarters,” a spokesperson in Washington said Friday.
NNSA usually follows guidance from the broader Department of Energy, which at one point had planned to return multitudes of federal employees in the Washington region and beyond to work starting today. Recently, the agency pushed those plans to the early spring.