By Nicole Dyson, Senior Policy Advisor, Mission Support Bureau
As you have likely heard or read, FEMA headquarters is making workplace changes to enhance the way employees work and communicate. Headquarters has begun the process of “Workplace Optimization,” aimed at consolidating workspace while providing a better, more efficient environment for collaboration and productivity.
We want to ensure that all FEMA employees:
- Are aware of the project plans, milestones, and effects on employees.
- Have the tools needed to adapt the current ways of working, managing, and communicating.
- Are able to participate in discussions around the challenges, fears, concerns, and the opportunities to calm, inspire, and reframe what this initiative means to our agency, our work place, and our Mission.
- Participate in the feedback loop to continually improve the process.
- Are partnering with Agency Leadership, and the Executive Steering Group to share progress, experiences, hints, and tips.
- Have a central point of contact for conveying updates and guidance on this effort, as well as collecting suggestions and identifying gaps.
As part of this extraordinary effort, we have formed an Employee Engagement Workgroup to help us ensure the successful implementation of this cultural change across the agency, beginning at headquarters. It is vitally important that employees are engaged, active change drivers. We are asking that each office/program, identify Workplace Optimization Employee Advocates to play this vital role in preparing the workforce, facilitating cultural change, and helping FEMA communicate guidance, expectations, and timelines.
Potential Headquarters Advocates: Please identify your interest in serving as an agent of change, by informing your supervisor no later than close of business, Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Serving as an Employee Advocate is an important commitment. We are looking for individuals who are already informal or formal leaders within their current organizations, who are able to build rapport, communicate effectively, and who are able to understand the vision and concepts around Workplace Optimization. They should be individuals who embody the following qualities:
- A creative thinker, not daunted or dismayed by new ideas.
- Knowledgeable about their division’s mission, processes, protocols, and challenges.
- A “doer” who see things through and who takes responsibility for getting things done.
- Enthusiastic about new ways of working and accomplishing our missions.
- A recognized leader that will be supported with the appropriate authority to influence change in their organization.
- A person who is respected for his/her collaborative nature, work ethic, honesty, and who people follow willingly.
- Well organized and able to develop and deliver information in a clear, concise way to others.
Participants will receive additional information about the “Workplace Optimization” efforts and scheduled training aimed at providing them with the knowledge and tools for fulfilling this role. As an integral part of the process, advocates will asked to discuss, present and model how this initiative maximizes the following benefits:
Benefits to Agency:
- Increased employee responsiveness
- More effective use of government-owned or leased real estate
- Reduced real estate and energy footprint with sustainable design
- Maximizing taxpayer dollars and value
- Elimination of silos and flattened hierarchies through Improved collaboration and productivity
Benefits to Employees:
- Collaborative workspaces and flexible schedules
- A catalyst for better home/life balance!
- Reduced transportation costs
- Shorter commute times