Saturday Feb 04, 2023

ASC leadership begins exploring alternative workspace options for 21st century workforce – DVIDS


DAVENPORT, Iowa – As legendary poet laureate/pop artist Bob Dylan sang early in his career in the mid-sixties, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and so agrees the U.S. Army Sustainment Command leadership regarding where its personnel may be going to work.

But what will the 21st century workplace look like at ASC, headquartered in Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois? Twenty-two years into this century, that question has not been definitively answered quite yet. But, with forward-thinking and knowing it can’t stay the same, ASC leaders are now exploring for possible answers.

Up until March 2020, the look and function of the workplace predominantly looked the same as the 20th century, except for newer high-tech equipment. That all changed, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the majority of workforce to telework.

Previously, only a few Civilians teleworked Army-wide. Telework was typically approved by management on a case-by-case basis, based on unique employee circumstances. What many thought would be a temporary change unfolded into Civilian and military personnel working from home full time. Only now, two years later, with COVID-19 deaths lessening, the workforce is being told it’s time to start coming back.

But, come back to what?

With that in mind, ASC personnel consisting of Matt Sannito, deputy to the commanding general, ASC; Col. Scott Kindberg, ASC chief of staff; Lee Hansen, ASC deputy chief of staff, G1 (Human Resource Management); and, Shannon Nielsen, general engineer, ASC, recently met with Rena Gainey, owner and creator of opportunities, of coworkqc, at her business office located in downtown Davenport, Iowa.

Rainey has nearly 30 years of experience as an executive coach and trainer in corporate leadership development with Deere & Company.

She is in the business of helping companies embrace the possibilities of how the 21st century can meet the needs of the current and future workforce in order to recruit and retain the best talent.

Coworkqc is a shared workspace and community center for entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote workers and startups. The motto of the business is “Work, Create, Collaborate.”

One thing is for sure, the ASC workforce will not continue to do business the way it did prior to the pandemic. A shared workspace in some form may be a good alternative to working full time inside the headquarter’s office space at the arsenal.

“We are a global business. Our personnel work in all corners of the world. Not a single Army Field Support Brigade is on Rock Island Arsenal,” Hansen pointed out. “In essence, this makes all of our AFSBs remote workers with Rock Island as their ‘home’ headquarters. Some will never set foot on Rock Island Arsenal, yet, they are able to accomplish the mission without being physically confined to Rock Island Arsenal.”

Hansen added that a distributed workforce is not a new concept. “We just need to take advantage of the opportunities the pandemic gave us and to move forward,” he said.

“The pandemic only accelerated the evolution by demonstrating, very rapidly, to a large number of supervisors, that teleworkers can sometimes be more productive than a worker confined to a legacy brick and mortar office,” Hansen explained. “The employees also realized a greater work/life balance can be achieved creating a win-win for both the employee and the headquarters. Even small quick tasks like being available to accept Amazon packages or walking [their] kids to/from the bus stop can go a long way in improving …….


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