Facing the COVID-19 pandemic in a place like nowhere else on earth: how CERN adapted to lockdown
An original article by Anna Cook , Deputy Head of Talent Acquisition, Head of HR communications and branding @CERN
The past few months have unarguably been challenging, testing, and a revelation of the true flexibility and agility of workplaces in the face of a global pandemic. For a large scale particle physics laboratory and accelerator complex such as CERN, this was a particular feat: focusing on the health and safety of its people CERN entered a “safe mode” on 20 March, with the majority of people adjusting to telework and activities on-site limited to those essential for the safety and security of the site and equipment.
What did the COVID-19 lockdown period look like for our Organization? It was a time of “business as unusual” with incredible demonstrations of solidarity and commitment, notably through the establishment of the CERN against COVID-19 group to channel ideas and initiatives from the CERN community to support the collective global fight against the pandemic. CERN is host to a global community of skilled scientists, engineers and technicians, supported by dedicated personnel with expertise ranging from theoretical physics to procurement, industrialisation and knowledge transfer. In these extraordinary times, CERN made these resources available to experts from fields including healthcare, vaccine development, epidemiology and emergency response. With CERN operating in safe-mode, the Organization turned its chemical laboratories and mechanical workshops to the task of producing protective equipment to support local efforts to combat COVID-19.
In daily operations, technicians and engineers adjusted and continued their work in many different ways as showcased in our 3-part series “Life@CERN for technicians during Covid-19”, which gives a glimpse behind the scenes of their working life in times of confinement.
In a nutshell, life continued its course seamlessly. A few weeks on, CERN is now in a phase of gradual re-start of on-site activities, supported by COVID-19-specific health and safety measures. Everyone is looking forward to resumption of activities in the so-called ‘”new normal”.
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Check out our diverse student, graduate and professional opportunities on https://careers.cern. CERN. Take part.