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Office Away from the Office
On-Campus Work Center Opens

Anyone who works off campus but must come to the main campus for meetings knows how difficult it can be to make a phone call or check email while away from the office. On-campus colleagues are usually willing to lend their desks, telephones, and even personal computers to their off-campus cohorts; however, repeated requests can quickly become an annoyance. NIH's resolution to this dilemma was recently unveiled. On Aug. 3, NIH deputy director Dr. Ruth Kirschstein cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of the On-Campus Work Center.

Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, NIH deputy director, cuts the ribbon opening the new On-Campus Work Center. With her is NIMH's John Miers, who envisioned the center as a place where off-campus NIH'ers could get work done while visiting the main campus.

The new center, located in Bldg. 31, Rm. 1A1E09 (a conference room behind the A-wing elevator banks), was the brainchild of John Miers, an employee of the National Institute of Mental Health. When asked about his inspiration for the project, he said, "I work in the Parklawn Building, and I come to the main campus for a fair number of meetings. There is often an hour or two of dead time between, before, or after the meetings. I am lucky in that my wife works in Building 31, so I could always go to her office to make a phone call or work between meetings. I realized, though, that there were a lot of people who needed a place to go when they came to the main campus, too. Through my involvement on the quality of work life committee, I pursued my goal of creating an on-campus work center."

Miers formed a subcommittee of the QWL comprised of employees from the Office of Research Services (Arturo Giron and Carmen Kaplan) and the Clinical Center (Carol Verderese). With the assistance of QWL members and Sharon Matheson and Theresa Franklin from the Office of Human Resource Management, the subcommittee found space and worked with the Center for Information Technology to acquire equipment donations. "There was a real commitment of CIT staff to provide this center with the very best available technology," said Marian Dawson, CIT executive officer, who attended the opening.

Mike Wright, TASC consultant from CIT, "has been our computer guru for getting the system up and running," said Miers. Here he helps an employee adjust to one of the center's five workstations.

The center is equipped with three personal computers, two Macintoshs, and two plugs to accommodate individuals' notebooks. Two of the computers, a PC and a Mac, are wheelchair accessible, and all of the equipment has been secured. The room also houses five workstations, telephones, and a fax/copier machine. Any NIH'er may use the center, which is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The CIT help line will respond to calls from center users, and ORS staff will keep the room stocked with necessary supplies.

"I congratulate the quality of work life committee, and I thank the CIT, ORS, Office of the NIH Director, National Institute of Mental Health, National Cancer Institute, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for paying to support this center," said Kirschstein. "This center is a wonderful idea. I know because I used to work in the Westwood Building." She added, "As NIH continues to spread out across Montgomery County, this center is essential."

For more information, visit the QWL home page at:

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