Gen. Arnold Bunch, the commander of U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, recently noted that productivity of the service branch’s workforce has increased in almost-all telework environments, Federal News Network reported on Monday.
Bunch noted that he has directed a review of position descriptions across his 80,000-person command to decide if they’re more telework-compatible than what was imagined when those descriptions were written, to continue the virtual workforce after the pandemic is over.
“I’m also going to look at how we set up our facilities. Do I need all those cubes? Can we create an environment where we have hot desks where people come into, they clean, and then then leave,” Bunch said.” That may save us money as to how we go out and build facilities. It may create areas where we don’t need to lease as much space.”
While the productivity since the pandemic began has diminished skepticism, Bunch also noted areas of caution, such as the ability for telework to operate sustainably, and at scale. The emergency IT capabilities that Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the Air Force created within a few weeks' time frame, so the federal government would have to continue to develop short term solutions to continue to support a large-scale remote workforce.
“We also have to continue to focus on resiliency and connectedness. We can be physically distanced, but we have to be socially connected. This is a very trying time, and as we continue in telework status, we’ve got to have that linkage into the team,” Bunch added. “Our airmen have done a great job … but we have to continue to keep a focus on that as we go forward.”
Potomac Officers Club recently hosted its Secure IT Modernization in Today’s Environment Virtual Event on Wednesday, August 26th. During the event, Michael Mestrovich, principal deputy chief information officer for the U.S. Department of State, addressed the integration and expansion of 5G and other emerging technologies; adaptation to a “new normal,” such as teleworking and reentry; and how leaders and businesses can use mission software factories to their advantage.
“Collaborative platforms have been the key enabler as the world has transitioned to telework. As we adopt telework, utilizing sharing platforms, I’ve personally seen productivity increase, but that comes at the expense of the individuals. They no longer take breaks because it’s so easy to transition from meeting to meeting through these platforms,” Mestrovich said during his keynote address.
If you missed the event, you can still register to watch the footage in Potomac Officers Club’s Event Archive.