Op-Ed: My new normal

By Melody Arnold, a DLA Troop Support Audit Readiness and Compliance business process analyst DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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During the COVID-19 crisis, I heard repetitively “This is the new normal.” Although the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support communicated and maintained transparency by disseminating available resources and protocols, my “new normal” is very different from my “previous normal.” 

As a business process analyst within the Audit Readiness and Compliance directorate, my “normal” included my daily commute across the bridge into the surrounding community that served as the gateway to DLA Troop Support and my second floor cubicle. My cubicle is surrounded by mini snap shots of my personality, such as military plaques, positive inspiration quotes, a plant and dried flowers given to me by a co-worker. 

While at work, my unofficial duties included making a large pot of coffee that many awaited and served as the hub for shared knowledge, work talk and well wishes. I worked an on-site, eight-hour workday, as I voluntarily did not telework. As an extrovert, I prefer daily face-to-face interaction with my co-workers, supervisors and supply chain workforce. I enjoyed the sound and visual of people working, collaborating, networking and producing quality work; needless to say, I miss coming to work.

I decided to find ways to stay positive and keep that same energy while remotely working from home. I did not want to duplicate my office space at home as I am inspired by the notion this situation is temporary and I will eventually be back in my cubicle once it’s safe and healthy for me to be there.   

Here are some tips I’ve implemented being new to teleworking:

  • Establish a schedule for work, lunch and the end of the duty day
  • Keep your morning routine if possible; I make coffee every morning just as I did in the office
  • Wear video conference work attire to maintain your professional mindset; I admit I’m all business from the waist up and sweat pants and slippers from the waist down
  • Separate your lunch space from your work space if possible
  • Participate in work related Skype chats with co-workers to exchange information and check on each other
  • Provide morale boosting recommendations to your supervisors and co-workers
  • Clean and organize your home work station at the end of each day
  • Do not over compensate for not being in the office by working extended hours hunched over a  computer
  • Get up and move your body and stretch as often as needed
  • Take lots of pictures … you’ll want to share memories of the time you continued to support the Warfighter during COVID-19
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate

My ritual of arriving to work symbolized that I am a positive, productive member of a team that supports Warfighters! My “new normal” demonstrated my agility to maintain that same momentum of productivity, while remaining positive during my temporary state of remote working. There will be no gaps in the service I provide to the Warfighter regardless of where my workstation is located!