Air Force study shifts jobs

The U.S. Air Force has moved about 3,700 positions based on data gathered online about stress and workload.

The Air Force Manpower and Innovation Agency late last year launched a study designed to help level the stress among career fields. The research quantified each job's "personnel load," or PERSLOAD, using real-time data on the average workweek per specialty code, and documents the underlying causes that drive longer hours, said Maj. Dennis Miller, project leader.

Air Force officials measured average workweek hours across more than 140 Air Force Specialty Codes at 75 main operating bases. That data led officials to shift about 3,700 positions in the study's first nine months, Miller said.

"Air Force senior leadership used PERSLOAD data to move resources from less-stressed areas to those with" longer work hours, Miller said.

The project's Web-based platform is supported by software from Raosoft Inc., which has been used for the past two years by the Air Force for its organizational climate survey. Anteon International Corp. is the prime contractor.

Supervisors can tailor the screen to the specialty code they oversee and restrict data to the base where they are located, said Scott Hopkins, a retired Air Force captain now serving as subcontractor on the program. No individual work hours are collected since the goal is to analyze and transfer people to those specialty codes that need it.

Miller said the initial focus has been on top-level resource decisions, but Air Force leaders believe there are also resource management benefits at the installation level. Reports for the second quarter of fiscal 2003 are being given to wing commanders so that information can be acted upon at that level, Hopkins said.

Study organizers used sampling as opposed to a census approach, so not every activity at every installation is measured. But commanders have the option of expanding the sample to measure problematic or special interest areas.

The Air Force pays for contract support of PERSLOAD development in incremental modules, Miller said, declining to provide the actual numbers. Each installation spends about 25 hours a week on the project, and work center supervisors spend about one and a half hours per week collecting and entering summary data on the Web.

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