With the COVID-19 pandemic having subsided to an ominous simmer, the U.S. Air Force is finding that hybrid work policies are proving their value, and sometimes grade out as more effective than the pre-pandemic traditional work model.
Dan Aldrich, deputy director at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, said during an April 25 GovExec online event that the transition in workplace models aims to achieve a balance of both working from home, and the office.
“The morale has been great” with the new model, Aldrich said. “I’ve recently hired a new engineer – [and that] flexibility, that telework that we had was one of the key things that she said that was interesting for her about the position besides the work itself.”
“The hybrid model is working for us and the main thing is, and we’re still providing the same support right to our customers,” he said.
Brigadier Gen. Scott Cain, director of Air, Space, and Cyberspace Operations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, talked about cultural changes driven by pandemic-induced necessity, and how those have led to improvements in operations that may not have been anticipated three years ago.
“The pandemic [has] changed how we work and given us … some competitive advantages – not just the IT infrastructure, but even the apps, the applications that we’re using for collaborative work processes versus serial processes. [It] really does allow us to accelerate change,” Cain said.
Cain tied some of those changes into the service branch’s new digital strategy.
“That strategy we’ve laid out has a bunch of lines of effort. It’s delivering integrated capability [in] strengthening our team,” the general said. “The third line of effort is [revolutionizing] our processes. The fourth by the way is amplify our warfighting culture.”
“We’re not thinking segregated anymore for our work. We’re thinking across disciplines, so everyone has that access to the digital authoritative source of truth,” said Cain.