Andersen produces cohesive work environment

Andersen produces cohesive work environment

by: Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
36th Wing Public Affairs
published: January 26, 2013
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ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The Air Force recently conducted a service-wide health and welfare inspection that was conducted in an effort to emphasize professionalism in the work place.

The purpose of the inspection was to reinforce expectations for the workplace environment and correct detected deficiencies, from derogatory statements to explicit materials, which could promote unprofessionalism and hinder a productive working environment.

"The Air Force, as an institution, holds itself to a higher standard," said 1st Lt. Masha Scheglov, 36th Wing sexual assault response coordinator. "Even though we've come from different backgrounds, we all took the same oath. Our core values were founded on mutual respect and equality."

According to members from the Andersen equal opportunity office, a productive work environment is centered on communication, trust and discipline. Units that allow derogatory or offensive slurs, jokes, comments or images left unchecked lack discipline. This unchecked behavior can start a chain reaction that ultimately leads to mission failure.

"There is no place for crude comments and inappropriate behavior in our military," said Lieutenant Scheglov. "As military members, we are held to a higher standard. Personal actions are not only a direct representation of ourselves, it is also a direct representation of the branch of service we chose to serve."

Maintaining a professional work environment with communication skills, allows servicemembers to focus on daily mission readiness. Without the distractions caused by harassment, Airmen can focus on their daily tasks and the mission at hand.

"Lack of communication is one of the most prevalent problems I see in units," said Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Lawley, 36th Wing equal opportunity director. "Either someone does not understand their role and responsibilities in the unit, causing confusion and misunderstanding, or they misinterpret an action or comment as disrespectful or demeaning without first clarifying what the person meant."

According to Sergeant Lawley, approximately 90 percent of issues and complaints that come through the equal opportunity office are due to lack of communication.

Materials that were considered derogatory, suggestive, offensive, inappropriate, or unprofessional were reported and removed from work places in order to promote a healthy working environment.

"It's a downward spiral that begins with a simple derogatory joke or comment that goes unchecked by leadership or other members in the unit," said Sergeant Lawley. "This can lead to poor morale, which leads to poor work productivity. A professional environment is a productive environment."