The U.S. Air Force is considering keeping in-person occupancy at 50 percent even after the pandemic ends. This means that for now, the Air Force has allowed remote work indefinitely. The Navy issued a similar policy on Monday.
“Where the opportunity exists, you may consider placing a portion of your workforce on a more permanent telework schedule, and reconfiguring your office space into general use hotel suites that telework personnel can use when they need to come into the workplace”. Air Force Memo in March 2021
The Navy on Monday issued fleet-wide guidance that is suggestive of in-person occupancy not exceeding 50 percent in any of the shore facilities until COVID-19 cases don’t subside to two per 100,000 in the surrounding area for seven days in a row.
About 23,000 people came to the Pentagon every day for work before the pandemic began. In March 2020, most of these workers were asked to work remotely to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Today, nearly 90 percent of employees from the Pentagon say working remotely hasn’t had any negative effect on productivity.
The Pentagon is currently at HPCON-B which is a condition that is prescribed when the local surroundings and area has been reporting between 2 and 15 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population in the last seven days. At HPCON-B, Navy offices can not report any more than 50 percent occupancy, according to the guidelines.
None of these instructions have affected ship operations or occupancies throughout the pandemic. Each ship has been vigilant and has taken precautions like cancelling port calls and restricting movement before deployment, to keep infections at bay.
More decisions of the way forward about the Armed Forces’ remote work policy can be expected in the coming weeks. Will they continue to allow remote work indefinitely? We will get to know soon.
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