MMAC Employee Engagement Improves Despite Max-Telework Status
Vol.7 Issue 8
Many employees enjoy working from home, and find that it positively affects their work/life balance.

Continuing our story from last issue, the shift to telework has presented many challenges, and required managers to become more intentional in how they communicate with their teams. It also drove adjustments in other areas of supervision. A renewed focus on formal and informal recognition, manager training on performance management, and how to encourage employee engagement has been a big focus at MMAC as work schedules have been modified for many employees.

Following are some statements from employees which demonstrate how max telework has driven changes (either directly or indirectly) in communication, team dynamics, mission focus, productivity, and probably supervisory roles; all of which are key components of employee engagement.

Bridget Benton (Enterprise Services Center)

If I were asked back in March of 2020 if I could be a fulltime teleworker, I would have said, “no way.” I have too much going on at home that will pull me away from my computer. I thought that I would need to be in the office to be able to do tasks or work with certain individuals. I would have told you my work/life balance works, because I’m in the office at least three times a week. I would have thought that I’d miss out on things when I’m at home, and others are meeting in person. Sometimes the side chat that goes on in meetings is where you learn the most.

Now that I’ve been a fulltime teleworker for over a year. I see how wrong I truly was. My work/life balance is so much better. I not only have more time for my family, but I’m achieving so much more at work. I’m able to take on more projects and commitments, finish projects before deadlines, attend more meetings and start my day so much earlier. My day is no longer wasted with drive time, spontaneous desk visits, and unproductive meetings. I’ve noticed that more people are willing to speak up in meetings, required attendees are actually attending meetings, and people are more responsive, overall.

Thanks to teleworking fulltime I’ve had the opportunity to participate in projects I wouldn’t have had the time to do if I were in the office. Taking on these projects has broadened my knowledge; helped me to build my resume and has advanced me in my career with the FAA and ESC.

Matt Taylor (FAA Academy)

Telework has given me an opportunity to be more creative and innovative in my role. By teleworking, I was presented with many challenges, and teleworking allowed me to tackle them head-on. I’ve also been able to have better work/life balance and be more productive in the same manner! By not commuting and walking to meetings, I have been able to work more efficiently and focus in on tasks at hand! Teleworking has been a great experience and I look forward to seeing the FAA fully embrace this new method of working going forward!

Jason Palmeter (Office of Facility Management)

I’ve definitely grown to appreciate working from home. Teleworking has allowed me to focus on the tasks that truly matter to the mission and has kept people safer in the process. I’m thankful we have the technology and ability to work from home during the global health crisis. I would welcome the opportunity to continue teleworking in some capacity moving forward.

Cathy Chidester (Enterprise Services Center)

To be able to focus on efficiency and work with my team in a comfortable setting has been a gift. Since teleworking at home, I have been able to focus on specific process improvements and implementing tasks that have increased productivity in my projects and daily assignments. I have been able to reduce the Intake backlog, reduce the time in routing approvals, and accomplish more completed Intake items, despite new requests that continue to enter into the process.

Also, there are fewer interruptions. Not having to fight the daily commute of 40 minutes one way, the pain of looking for parking space, and having to plan errands depending on the distance from work, school, doctor’s office, and home. I have more patience, and attempt to be more present in meetings without the interruptions. I have the freedom to self-manage and exercise time management with the litany of meetings that are scheduled throughout the day. This has resulted in increased productivity for me.

Mike Mills (Office of Facility Management)

I was skeptical of teleworking while managing construction projects - but, it has been a very positive experience:

  1. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work safely and uninterrupted during the global health crisis.
  2. I was able to manage projects effectively with less time on site because:
    1. I’ve had more responsible contractors.
    2. I’ve had effective support from our TSSC inspectors.
    3. I’ve had simpler projects.
  3. I’ve been more effective in general because: working at home with fewer distractions is conducive to concentration necessary for “deep” work; and timely communication with coworkers is easier if they’re at home on their computers too, instead of milling about at the MMAC.
  4. We’ve streamlined some paperwork by implementing electronic processes.
  5. Meetings have been more effective. It takes less time to get to and from Zoom meetings than it does to meet in person. Document sharing during meetings is more effective online and allows us access to our records and other resources during meetings, which makes meetings more effective.
  6. I get to work earlier and finish without the commute, so I get more done and save money on gas.
  7. My blood pressure lowered in the first few months of telecommuting, and it has remained lower. I feel better.

I’m looking forward to telecommuting regularly as announced by Secretary Buttigieg.

The downside is that I miss my current office setup at the MMAC (which works very well for me) and I don’t feel as personally connected to my coworkers. However, both of those issues are outweighed by the positive aspects of teleworking, and both will be resolved by spending some time in the office when it’s safer to do so.

Employee Engagement – Everyone Matters, Everybody Wins!
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