Many Naval District Washington (NDW) personnel are teleworking to adhere to physical distancing protocols and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Teleworking can present benefits and challenges to personnel, as they must find ways to blend their work and home life.
“At this time, it’s essential that people stay home,” said Andrea Burckman, NDW total force manpower management director. “Our people need to protect their families and ensure the mission continues. We’re still here to do a job and if our people are not protecting themselves and their families, we’re not going to have a workforce that’s able to effectively accomplish our mission. For personnel, one of the positives of teleworking is that they’re able to balance work and family life a little more.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools and daycare facilities are closed. Teleworking enables personnel to care for their young children without having to take any leave days from work.
“At first it was absolutely difficult,” said Rebeca Baker, NDW individual deployment support coordinator. “It was hard trying to balance being an employee for the Fleet and Family Support Center, being a mom with a two-and-a-half -year-old at home that’s missing his friends and trying to keep the house in order. It was stressful. I had to find a way to make sure everyone had what they needed when nine million people needed me all at once.”
After weeks of teleworking, Baker found that establishing routine was the key to successful teleworking.
“Setting up boundaries, with some flexibility, helped more than anything,” said Baker. “I have a separate space for my work and try to keep it as calm as possible so I can really focus on supporting the military families I’m working with as they’re going through the deployment process. They still need a high level of support and my dedication, especially with everything else going on in the world. I’ve also had to make time for myself. I don’t have to be 100 percent perfect all the time and none of us do. I found that I have to treat myself with the same compassion that I treat everyone else at this time.”
At this time, personnel may face a variety of challenges and can benefit from resources available to them such as the Department of the Navy Civilian Employee Assistance Program (DONCEAP).
“Many are going to have issues at this time, whether it’s financial, legal or issues with family care,” said Burckman. “Reaching out through the DONCEAP program is very important. Also, NDW Human Resources is available to answer any questions you might have about telework or leave. For leadership, it’s not just about the mission, we want to make sure people and their families come out of this healthy.”
For more information on DONCEAP, visit www.magellanascend.com.
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