WIESBADEN, Germany – To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden held its quarterly all-hands meeting using an online virtual platform Sept. 25.
The majority of the participants watched via Microsoft Teams. Approximately 150 logged into the meeting, muting their video and microphones. Some offices watched together in conference rooms.
Thomas Watson, civil engineer with the Directorate of Public Works, said, “I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth it went.” He continued, “Audio was good; video sometimes a little pixelated but no big issue.”
Those attending virtually could type questions for leadership to address into the online platform. Watson asked if trainings and developmental opportunities are available to local national employees. While he didn’t receive a firm answer he said he appreciated the commander’s words.
From Watson’s perspective, there were two strategic advantages to the online format: prevent the spread of COVID-19 and being able to continue working during the hour-long meeting. “It was possible for me to continue working in background,” he said.
“Maybe for the future have a mix of personal attendance and video call,” Watson said. “Then everybody can choose if they want to attend personal or watch it.” He added, “Small talk was missing.”
Col. Mario Washington, garrison commander, echoed Watson’s sentiment on social interactions. “I do like the interaction of people there,” he said. “You get their energy and you can see how they are responding to different questions.”
As for post-COVID meetings, Washington anticipates in-person gatherings with the virtual option in place for those unable to attend. “I think you have to leverage the technology as much as possible,” he said, “but you still need the social interaction for certain things.”
Less than 50 attended the meeting in the Tony Bass Auditorium. Those in physical attendance of the meeting were required to sit in every other row with two empty seats to their left and right. In addition, audience members wore their face masks.
At the meeting, Washington reviewed key upcoming events, including Halloween, flu shots and remaining vigilant against COVID-19.
Garrison leadership and employees signed two pledges, leadership and customer service.
The following awards were given to employees and employee teams:
- Customer service award: Chris Curtis, sponsorship and benefits coordinator
- Fourth quarter professionals of the quarter: Emily Jennings, public affairs specialist, and Michael Schuller, Directorate of Public Works housing division
- Second quarter IMCOME-E professional of the quarter: Chris Curtis, sponsorship and benefits coordinator
- Third quarter IMCOME-E professional of the quarter: Johnny Herring, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation marketing manager
- Fourth quarter Team Excellence Award: Task Force Wellness Team (Johnny Herring, FMWR marketing manager; and Travis Thurston, FMWR graphic arts designer; Jane Porto-Turner, FMWR advertising and sponsorship manager; Mr. Karl Weisel, FMWR marketing assistant)
- Fourth quarter cross-organizational award: Stop Movement Customer Assistance Point (Barbara Barnett, acting Military Personnel Division chief; Crystal Bennett, human resource specialist; Christopher Curtis, sponsorship and benefits coordinator; Victor DiMarzo, housing management specialist; Ricardo Iglesias, civilian misconduct actions officer; Dr. John Kaiser, Employee Assistance Program coordinator; Anthony King, operations officer; Anna Morelock, public affairs deputy and James Weber, hotel manager)
- Peer-to-peer awards