Living Arrangements

Only in rare circumstances, such as in the off-shore oil industry, are general man­agers concerned about employee living arrangements. It is often necessary for managers in remote locations or where housing and/or work facilities are limited or extremely expensive to manage living arrangements. Managerial intrusions are generally limited, even in such circumstances. The Moon will require more signif­icant and regular managerial oversight of habitation issues. Operational efficiency will be greatly affected by employee ability to rest and relax in off hours. The Moon will be a 24/7 operating environment and managers will be unable to ignore any issue that affects or might affect worker safety, morale or effectiveness. “All the necessary conditions to perpetrate a murder are met by locking two men in a cabin of 18 by 20 feet…for two months (as quoted in Seedhouse 2008, p. 112).” Even simple things such as getting a good night’s sleep could easily find their way to a manager’s desk. Seemingly inconsequential things such as background noises, smells, and employees private behavior could become part of a lunar manager’s in basket. These types of issues would appear to be somewhat childish in nature and often beyond the concern of all but perhaps the lowest managerial level. However, that is not the case for Moon facilities. Each issue represents a substantial decision

with significant consequences. The lunar facility, whatever its construction, re­mains a closed system, and individuals living and working within it are subject to a variety of constraints. Recirculated air and water, limits on available space, comparatively fewer choices in terms of what to do and where to go all combine to reduce the habitable quality of the facility.

Consequently, great care must go into creating ways for employees to have some measure of control without creating new problems. Not everyone enjoys the same food odors and lingering smells could be a serious source of friction among lunar residents. Food, particular food of one’s own choosing will be an ongoing management problem. Not all requests can or should be accommodated, and to ig­nore this issue will be to ensure an ongoing morale problem. Managerial decision­making with regards to food choices, preparation and availability will be closely scrutinized. Privacy will be an even bigger issue. People do, on occasion, wish to be alone. Being alone can mean being “alone” or alone with another. Social poli­tics notwithstanding it will be problematic to turn a blind managerial eye to rela­tionship issues. People are social creatures and will interact with one another even in the most restrictive of environments. Working on the moon will not be different in that regard. Attempts to control, regulate or limit some level of interaction will fail. The failure to take privacy needs into account from a management perspec­tive either in terms of individual needs or facility design will create an ongoing stream of management problems. It is better to address these issues upfront and provide sensible mechanisms for managers to deal with these issues among his or her colleagues and their employees. Questions regarding rotation policy for lunar employees should be addressed from the beginning. Explicit guidelines should be developed for extending lunar deployments, how they should be handled, and when extending an employee’s tour is appropriate because of safety or other factors.

Updated: September 23, 2015 — 10:48 pm