Garrison staff training to prepare for growth, traffic
June 11, 2009
- Increase of alternate work schedules and teleworking within the garrison
- Ultimately to decrease by 10 percent single-occupancy vehicles
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - To prepare for future growth on Fort Belvoir, officials, directors and supervisors constantly assess current transportation patterns on post and are studying a variety of traffic-management solutions, according to Belvoir's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. One goal is to get manageable commuter levels while maintaining Belvoir's installation capabilities and services to its customers.
As part of this goal, Col. Jerry L. Blixt, installation commander, wants to increase alternate work schedules and teleworking within the garrison, ultimately to decrease by 10 percent single-occupancy vehicles coming on post over the next two months.
As a result, Belvoir's directors and supervisors recently had to complete training about teleworking and alternate work schedule possibilities.
Mary Pat Begin-Ortiz, director of Belvoir's PAIO, said of teleworking and alternate work schedules, "We have to get people out of thinking the work week is 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.), five days a week. We need a shift in how we've done things and how we work. We need a shift in thought.
"Change does not come easily. We need cooperation from supervisors and employees," Begin-Ortiz said.
"Through training and education, managers can change their old-school mentality of seeing people working at their desks for 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day," she said.
Begin-Ortiz also suggested supervisors trust their employees to work professionally if chosen for an alternate work program.
"In the training, supervisors can get basic information on how to manage their work force and identify positions, then employees, who would help implement changes, while maintaining professionalism," she said.
She described employees who are ideal to work alternate work schedules as motivated, committed, responsible and reliable.
Travel Demand Management
Recently, Belvoir created a Travel Demand Management Working Group, with three main principles: 1) enhancing traffic movement 2) improving quality of life, and 3) decreasing adverse environmental impact within the growing Belvoir community.
One of the group's current goals is to reduce single-occupancy vehicles coming on to Belvoir.
This can be done, for instance, Begin-Ortiz said, by, "Maybe, regarding teleworking, employees can choose to not drive onto the installation Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Why can't employees work every day but Wednesdays' Or, have a rotating day off'
"If, as a supervisor, I want to consider the possibility of someone teleworking, then why does the employee have to insist their day of teleworking is a Monday or Friday' That makes me think they aren't working while teleworking, but trying to have three-day weekends," she said.
"Teleworking doesn't mean sitting at home in jammies and slippers," Begin-Ortiz said, adding that General Services Administration offers telework centers throughout the area, including in Fairfax, Fredericksburg and Woodbridge.
"The group came up with lots of ideas of ways to reduce single-occupancy vehicles coming on to post. And, we intend to reach out to other programs that work," Begin-Ortiz said. "We are getting the word out through training."
Claude McMullen, Belvoir's director of logistics said, after the training, "Teleworking is a viable option for office workers who are not required to physically meet with customers on a daily basis. Teleworking is one of the options being pursued to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles entering the installation. Other option include van pools, WMATA and Fairfax Connector buses, special parking for car pools, ferry boats, hover craft and a type of monorail, just to name a few.
"The key is to have all of the available options in place and working reliably before BRAC personnel begin arriving on the installation," McMullen said.
Begin-Ortiz also suggested people use the Rideshare link on Fort Belvoir's Web site, Belvoir.army.mil.
"Parking problems are increasing, traffic at the gates is increasing. We are going to look at every avenue possible," she said.
"Additionally, every manager and supervisor will have to commit to the program and its benefits," Begin-Ortiz said.