ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois – In support of the 21st Century Workplace initiative, Joint Munitions Command headquarters is embracing a collaborative environment that supports the mission using workplace flexibilities.
For more than two years, Army Materiel Command subordinate commands have maximized telework driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions adjust and cases fluctuate, AMC is shifting to a 21st Century Workplace model that integrates workforce flexibilities and JMC is onboard and moving forward in this new path forward.
Jennifer Mehmert, chief, Personnel Development and Policy Division, said that this workplace modernization effort is comprised of multiple lines of effort to include the workforce, processes, facilities, and technology.
"As a people-centric organization we are driven to be deliberate in our intent of continuously enhancing our culture and accelerating our talent," said Mehmert. "Obtaining top talent requires intentional focus of developing relationships with high schools, colleges, universities, and community organizations. Our training strategy priorities (develop leaders at all levels, cultivate the future force, and inclusive culture) ensure we remain steadfast and focused on our talent management. Continuing to evolve our workplace flexibilities, enhance our culture, and remaining focused on the people of JMC is who we are and why we are so successful at what we do."
While simultaneously identifying a path forward to maximize and diversify its current and future workforce, JMC has also designed and standardized business processes and workflow forms which are an important and additional line of effort in the overall plan.
"The G-1 professionals will play a significant role in creating and implementing sustainability strategies that will take the JMC workforce into the 21st Century and beyond," said Norbert Herrera, director, JMC Human Resources.
One of the more visual elements in workplace modernization and the 21st Century Workplace initiative are facilities, which encompass multiple layers in and of itself. The new hybrid workplace includes the traditional on-post facilities, telework locations such as an employee's home workspace, and additional spaces such as the workout room on the 1st floor of Building 350, the Respite and Resiliency Room on the 4th floor of Building 350, all of which are accompanied by the wellness policy that drives the fitness equipment, enhanced vending selections, and availability of heath-driven information materials made available to employees in both of those rooms.
"The improvements we make to our workplace environment is paramount to ensure our workforce is set for success and sends the message to applicants," said Mehmert. "JMC is an organization that is 'ready-set-match' when it comes to workplace modernization. Our nation relies on us to be ready reliable lethal, and our teammates that make it happen deserve an environment that inspires great ideas and allows each individual to flourish."
JMC headquarter's working environment has received an upgrade in embracing employees' hybrid and telework functionality. That upgrade now includes the 21st Century Internet Café Collaboration Workspace on 6th floor of Building 350 in the former cafeteria spaces. The café offers the collaboration opportunity and positive working aesthetic that employees will want to plug into to make their in-person days at work that much more effective.
"We are centering our thoughts on how to effectively and efficiently work in a more connected and hybrid environment," said John Campbell, deputy chief of staff, Resource Management. "If we do this right, we will win the war for future talent, enable our current and future employees to be faster and more effective, and create a better balance in employee life balance."
The café is a pilot program with many moving pieces remaining to complete the overall vision of the café's place in the 21st Century Workplace. The team behind this collaboration workspace has worked judicially to establish the framework that supports its intent. With regular engagement from the pilot members, JMC will continue to make adjustments that meet the needs of its workforce. This pilot will conclude at the end of September with leadership using lessons learned to make facilities plans for the future.
In the past and through most of 2020 and 2021, work was diligently accomplished either in the physical workspace of offices and cubicles or in the home environment via telework. That black and white interpretation of success is in transition and the hybrid workspace has arrived – the reason, among others, is collaboration.
"The new improvements to the café provides an opportunity for our teammates to work in a wireless environment that inspires collaboration and creativity," said Mehmert. "It is in this environment that great ideas and an engaged workforce can flourish. The pilot allows leadership to assess the feasibility/acceptability of this approach when determining how to manage and maximize the workplace of the future."
This pilot is underway, it's taking place and available now to JMC employees who are encouraged to check it out, bring your laptop – plug in, and try it out; leadership wants your feedback.
"Yes, the pilot is open to all headquarters JMC employees," said Mehmert. "This is open-space concept workstations, wireless internet, and collaborative work areas, and those using the area are encouraged to provide us feedback through the process on how we need to adapt the workspace conditions to meet workforce needs in this increased telework environment. This pilot, and its findings, will help us continue to focus on the people aspect of modernization, further cementing JMC as an employer of choice for both existing and new hires."
On Aug. 30, employees got to attend an open house to see firsthand the improvements and alterations of what used to be the Building 350 cafeteria into the new Internet Café as it transformed with new furniture, artwork, and even a water wall.
"This workspace is really about modernizing how we look at our workspace and it really is about developing workspaces where every employee and every team member can do the best job they can do, regardless of where you're sitting," said Jay Carr, JMC executive director for ammunition/deputy to the commander. "It really is about the people of the organization and making it a place that people want to come and work at on a normal basis. We do have some plans to try and get additional capability, maybe food, things that'll make it an even better place going forward. I've said this before, no good idea comes out of my office, it's always somebody else that has a great idea and my job is to try and help make those ideas a reality for the organization. So as you have ideas please share them with the team."
The Integrated Project Team for the cafe are Marc Dalmasso, Peggy Holvoet, Lori Jansen, Brian Kent, Jennifer Mehmert, Karl Petersen, and Rudy Toth.
Lastly, is the line of effort we know as technology – it's part of all of our lives and very much a part of the 21st Century Workplace initiative.
"With the rise of remote working tools for collaboration like Microsoft Teams and stronger wireless hubs we have been able to harness capability to create a novel workspace that keeps in line with what our traditional cubicle layouts," said Steven Taylor, deputy chief of staff, Information Management. "Moving forward we intend to apply expanded technologies as they become widely available to the government workforce."
The same Microsoft Teams software employees are using to attend meetings is also how JMC employees can already reserve the meeting space/conference area in the café. When in the office, employees are invited to reserve the meeting space (think of it like an open area conference room), then provide feedback on the experience that they had. Please note, the team is only allowing one reservation for the meeting space/conference area per day at this time. Using Microsoft Teams, employees can join the "21st Century Pilot Space" team (join code: tuvk013), then navigate to General Channel and select the "What do I need to do" link for instructions on the process to reserve a space. For feedback go to the top, there is a form employees can fill out, they can also leave feedback in the channel; for meeting space reservations, use the tab at the top titled "Reserve a Space." For additional questions or technical issues, please leave a post in the feedback channel (click the new conversation button) and let the team know issues or questions the employee has and it will be answered as quickly as possible.
Flexible work options define AMC's 21st Century Workplace
JMC Wellness Program (SharePoint)
To learn more about the personal resiliency and readiness, visit: www.armyresilience.army.mil/ard/R2/Five-Dimensions-of-Personal-Readiness.html