Uncertainty Addressed by FEDS President
As the President of FEDS, I didn’t know whether to celebrate the agreement to fund agencies through midFebruary or to commiserate over the uncertainty that lies ahead. What I did know, as a former federal employee, is that the fallout of a shutdown brings uncertainty into homes of employees and frustration where offices or agencies are unstaffed or understaffed. Due to the potential stress caused by such circumstances, I made the decision early on in December that FEDS member benefits would not be interrupted and that policies would remain in-force, even if there were missed payments during or because of a shutdown. I feel that it was necessary then, and now more than ever, that you know that we are in this with all federal employees, and that we will always have your back.
If your agency was affected by the shutdown, I think it’s important now to address those things you and your staff may experience as you return to work in addition to the uncertainty of the coming weeks:
- • Overwhelming workload - you are not alone. Do the best you can with the time and resources you have. Prioritize. Know which things you can safely postpone or reassign, and which things demand your attention/intervention.
- • Resentment from those who worked without pay or other coworkers. Be understanding, this was not easy or fair to anyone.
- • Political commentary - we recommend you talk about this at the dinner table and not at work, if at all possible. As an executive, manager or supervisor, you are responsible for discontinuing any conversations that become aggressive, disrespectful, or threatening. Emphasize the need to respect individual differences and encourage employees to maintain civility and engage one another in a professional manner. Ensure that your employees don't feel uncomfortable, harassed or intimidated.
- • Perceived judgment - for a variety of reasons. Remember, this was a political problem, not an employee one. Be respectful of the hardships and sacrifices made by your coworkers and subordinates - everyone's situation is different.
We communicated our commitment to federal employees early on in this shutdown in the hopes you'll get through this with as little disruption as possible and stand by that commitment now.
We thank you for your service and ask that you keep on doing what you do for our country; please don't hesitate to contact me or my staff with any questions or needs during this trying time.
Posted in Manager Matters