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Hybrid Work Environments are now possible > Air Force Reserve Command > Article
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Hybrid Work Environments are now possible > Air Force Reserve Command > Article

The 1,200 members of Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia have been working for a future work environment that will allow them to fulfill their mission while also ensuring safety and health guidelines are adhered to within their work centers.

The future is now because of the efforts of a small group action officers from various directorates throughout the headquarters. AFRC is returning at full capacity through a hybrid workplace environment. Phase four assessment will take place over the next 12 month.

We can’t predict when COVID-19 restrictions might be lifted and which people will be able return to full-, or hybrid-work capacity. And we may never be able back to 100% on-site capability. Therefore, it is our responsibility to protect our most precious resource, our people, said Col. Bo Shelton, HQ AFRCs future workplace champion, assigned by the Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection.

It is crucial that we protect the health of our workforce and evolve as an enterprise, ensuring efficiency at all levels. We have the opportunity to modernize operations by facilitating and implementing change management in information technology.

Shelton stated that in phase four, Shelton’s working group will evaluate and evaluate the current timelines and milestones in order to ensure that all goals are met. The team identified specific parameters to ensure that headquarters messaging, supervisory and employee responsibilities, as well as expectations, are clearly defined and clarified in order to meet performance standards.

Tools are also being created to provide a SharePoint repository that includes training tools for supervisors as well as employees, frequently asked queries and guidance. To support the transition, the team will use knowledge sessions from both Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services A1 and A6. Rules of engagement for workplace etiquette will also be developed to ensure that AFRC continues to support the masses during its transition.

The headquarters hybrid work environment takes place at the directorate level. Here, supervisors and employees collaborate using a mix of on-site and off-site work to meet mission requirements.

A recent survey by Director of Staff found that 76% of 745 people agreed that a hybrid environment was beneficial for their directorate. Only 15% strongly disagreed that a mixed work environment was beneficial.

The survey was a great way to see what staff thought about the hybrid environment. Lt. Col. Dustin Pawlak is AFRC’s former future work environment champion, and chief of the director’s action group in A1. Our goal is to ensure everyone understands that a hybrid environment is here to stay, and how it is beneficial to them all through communication with supervisors and employees.

The cross-functional team will continue to support supervisors and employees over the next 12 month. They will provide supervisory tips and guidance, provide guidance on how to use Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Timely objectives (SMART), and provide collaboration platform training on MS Teams and OneDrive.

In phase 2 and 3, AFRCs consolidated campus construction will include collaboration spaces for small teams at the directorate level or cross-directorate functional teams to meet up to work on projects outside of the work center. Directorates within Building 555 have already begun to transform conference and meeting rooms into shared collaboration spaces, equipped with conference lines and Desktop Anywhere.

Pawlak stated that the Future Work Environment Team has achieved so many milestones and initiatives since its inception, it’s impossible to list them all. The building improvements that we made are the most notable. Our conference rooms now have Teams, Zoom, and Jabber. Building 555 also has commercial cable that allows Wi-Fi access, which will facilitate collaboration for our employees.

Pawlak said that the Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate also participated in a proof-of-concept, which allowed future work environment teams to gather vital data and see actual applications in action. We have seen tremendous growth in our ability to support warfighters at their unit level from where it was two years ago, when COVID had made most of us work from home.

Pawlak stated that his two years as the team’s leader have been very rewarding.

He said that if there is one thing I have learned, it is that the leaders at the headquarters truly care about their command and dedicate their day to keep them informed and united.

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