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No Shortage of Ideas to Maintain Employee Connections During Telework

By DCAA Staff Writer

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DCAA employees have been teleworking for about a month now and managers and supervisors are coming up with creative ways to keep employees connected and morale high. While it is commonplace to check on each other with a phone call, DCAA’s managers and employees are thinking outside the box to maintain teamwork.

Many creative ideas center around the employee’s home. Since many are cooking more at home, one office is holding a recipe roundup to share recipes. Being at home also can lead to less physical activity since coordination, meetings, almost everything takes place right at the home office instead of in a meeting room or another location. To keep employees moving and refreshed, the Denver Branch Office has a 10 am calendar reminder to get up and move around for 15 minutes, as schedules permit.  Teleworking at home also can lead to challenges in setting up a home office, which can be anything from the kitchen table to the couch to a real office. The layout of the home and available space can make setting up a workplace challenging, but in several offices’ employees are sharing photos of their home office to inspire creativity and help others overcome challenging layouts.

Other creative ideas are focused on maintaining teamwork. To keep morale high and employees focused, managers are sharing daily uplifting quotes or jokes among their team and also with customers. The Fairfax Branch office has a buddy program where auditors are paired up and check on each other. These buddies are switched every week so that everyone learns more about their coworkers. This program has led to virtual coffee breaks and lunch meet ups. To reinforce professionalism, one office has a team member dress up if they are going to the real office and share pictures to highlight “another day at the home office,” which breaks up the routine and keeps people ready for return to the real office (and ensures those clothes still fit). If the future is wearing masks, the Boeing Oklahoma City Office is ready as they held a Best Mask Contest with creative categories. At the McLean Branch office they are still signing birthday cards and celebrating coworkers birthdays, but virtually. Finally, the Boeing Washington Resident Office had an employee retire and since they could not have a farewell party, they had a surprise retirement parade in her honor with current and past DCAA employees driving down her street honking and wishing her best of luck.  

In addition to building morale and staying connected, the increased focus on virtual teaming has led to increased productivity and new approaches for training and mentoring.  For example, senior auditors are bringing junior auditors into online meetings, sharing screens, and completing audit steps in real time. The connection between senior and junior auditors is vital for ongoing development, and DCAA employees are optimizing the opportunities in the virtual environment.

DCAA auditors are also connecting with their communities, and several offices are making masks in their off time. DCAA’s auditors may be working at home, but they are maintaining connections with coworkers and “staying together apart.”