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Office of the Future

Col. Mantovani quoteGoal Leader: Col. Kevin Mantovani, AFIMSC vice commander

Project Leader: Lt. Col. Craig Svanberg, special projects officer, AFIMSC directorate of staff 

Goal Description: Build and benchmark a better, radically new way of working at AFIMSC called the Office of the Future, or O2F. Through a culture of experimentation and innovation, we will establish a new model for office-work that leverages cutting edge information technology to enable collaboration and flexible work in order to optimize resources, maintain connectedness and quality of life while improving mission effectiveness.  

LOE 2 Goal 5 Milestones:

  • G5.A — Establish plan of action and milestones with calendar year 2021 milestones, key performance indicators, and a multi-year plan to scale 

PROGRESS TO DATE: The plan of action and milestones is in development and we're focused on having all the necessary tools and processes in place when AFIMSC shifts to a new operational status on Sept. 7. 

  • G5.B — Optimize telework and office scheduling policies and practices; adjust position descriptions; and build/codify training and standards for telework, management, leadership, accountability, etc.

PROGRESS TO DATE: We want to make sure we’re learning from industry leaders and incorporating best practices as we design the Office of the Future and develop associated policies and guidance. We’ve visited AFWERX, the Capitol Factory in Austin and a few San Antonio organizations to see how they’ve designed their offices, implemented hoteling software, etc. We’re also working with the lead Air Force Interior Designer, a member of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, to design a space that will be conducive to a collaborative work environment. 

As far as official published guidance, an initial AFIMSC/CC Office of the Future memo was signed and released in February and more comprehensive guidance is in development and will be published before Sept. 7. We are working closely with the AFIMSC Directorate of Personnel on much of that.

  • G5.C — Reconfigure AFIMSC (and subordinate unit) office spaces, beginning with headquarters bay 6, to include neighborhoods of collaboration space, hoteling software for reserving space, booths for small group work, personal working space, etc.  

PROGRESS TO DATE: Small-scale remodeling of Bay 3 and 4 in AFIMSC Headquarters – Building 1 in San Antonio – will begin this summer. We’ll be removing cubicles, updating workspaces, and adding collaboration rooms and cafĂ©-style furniture. For those areas, we have purchased licenses for hoteling software to allow employees to reserve a desk or conference/team room via any laptop or personal device.

Later remodeling of Bay 6 should begin in fiscal year 2022 and be finished by next summer.  

  • G5.D — Invest in smart technology systems and cloud-based data to facilitate work from anywhere model

PROGRESS TO DATE: The AFIMSC Information Technology Operations office is working with customers to make sure systems and collaborative software is up to date and able to support remote work. As the Department of Defense prepped for the Commercial Virtual Remote Teams phase out, the office shared information about the replacement – the Air Force Cloud Hosted Services version of Microsoft Office 365 Teams – and provided information to make sure everyone knows how to use the collaborative capabilities they need to succeed. 

Our IT team is also sending out guidance and training to help users learn how store their files via unclassified cloud storage through the Air Force’s OneDrive offering and looking for more opportunities to keep the workforce up to speed on the latest tools available.

  • G5.E — Conduct a strategic communication campaign to achieve internal buy-in and inform Air Force leaders

PROGRESS TO DATE: Right now, we are working to get leadership buy-in about timelines, personnel management and scheduling policies, etc., before launching a full strategic communication campaign that will tentatively include a town hall event later this summer to educate the work force and answer questions. The town hall will be our chance to explain Office of the Future to everyone and talk about what to expect across AFIMSC when we get to that Sept. 7 return to work date. 

  • G5.F — Maintain a focused and deliberate effort to preserve culture and ensure connectedness 

PROGRESS TO DATE: Right now, we are developing a plan to make sure units have opportunities to bring their whole team into the workplace periodically. And as people start coming back, we’ll adjust guidance as needed to make sure Office of the Future is in step with the center’s goal of Ensure Connectedness Across AFIMSC.

What positive impact has your progress had on Airmen, commanders and/or the mission so far?
The flexibility to work from home over the past 15 months has helped our Airmen and families navigate a very difficult time. And having the right tools and policies in place allowed AFIMSC teams to continue providing exceptional Installation and Mission Support across the enterprise without interruption. As we institutionalize and formally launch our Office of the Future model, we hope to continue seeing improved job satisfaction for our teams and increased mission capability for our customers.  

What challenges have you encountered along the way and how have you adjusted for them?
This is a completely new concept for AFIMSC, so planning and accounting for everything we need for a successful Office of the Future work model has been a little challenging. To overcome that challenge, we’re trying to benefit from lessons learned by industry leaders and implement standard best practices whenever possible to make sure we start off on the right foot.

What else can you tell us about your milestones?
We are putting a lot of time, effort and thought into how to design the office of the future, from the furniture and office layout to smart technology and collaboration tools and spaces. Our efforts will help us create an environment that enables collaboration and innovation while giving people the flexibility to work from home. 

Our overall end state is to have the Office of the Future institutionalized at AFIMSC and scaled throughout the Air Force so we can lead the way toward optimizing physical office space requirements, deliver infrastructure savings and boost quality of life for Airmen, which ultimately strengthens the service and our Nation.  

Why is the Office of the Future important to AFIMSC?
After the pandemic forced the majority of workforce to shift to telework, our worldwide team proved they could deliver exceptional support and strong customer service across the installation and mission support portfolio while working mostly from home. By institutionalizing and building upon lessons learned over the past year, we can create an environment where the benefits of workplace flexibility, balanced with the mission, will improve job satisfaction and the ability of our team to support Airmen and commanders around the world. 

How does your goal support AFMC, Air Force and National Defense Priorities?
The Office of the Future directly supports Department of Defense, Air Force and Air Force Materiel Command guidance and policies for maintaining readiness, modernizing infrastructure and governing telework activity.

Overall, workplace flexibilities improve our ability to retain and recruit the right talent needed to keep delivering installation and mission support to enhance warfighter readiness and lethality for the Air Force and Space Force.

How are you measuring success?
One of the largest indicators of success will be our office occupancy ratio, meaning the number of people assigned to a work center compared to available workstations. Our goal is to be much greater than the traditional office environment of 1:1. 

Keeping morale up while continuing to nurture and maintain AFIMSC culture and identity will be important measures of success as well. We are still codifying how we’re going to measure those components, but we won’t be successful if we lose our culture and our identity.  

What are your next steps?
We are solidifying plans and making sure tools, policies and processes are in place for the initial rollout of Office of the Future in Bays 3 and 4 this summer. After that, we’ll begin the Bay 6 remodel and possibly evaluate other areas in the building to remodel, or incorporate hoteling software, as well. 

Is there anything you would like to add?
We know there can be downsides with working from home – people can feel isolated, it can be hard to have work/life balance and separation, etc. – and we’ll definitely address those potential drawbacks as well. For starters, we’re going to give supervisors and employees the tools, resources and support they need to succeed and thrive in this new model. 

To learn more about AFIMSC’s O2F plans, and take a look at potential furniture renderings and floorplans, visit the goal’s SharePoint page at https://org2.eis.af.mil/sites/13942/cs/ds/O2F/SitePages/Home.aspx

Current as of June 15, 2021