Sleep is your superpower

Sleep is your superpower – this is the name of the TED conference delivered by Matt Walker, a sleep and brain scientist. The video is embedded hereunder.

Indeed, sleep affects performance and health and therefore safety, which is the raison d´être of our business.

Over the years that we have been delivering Human Performance and Safety related courses and programmes, the importance of sleep (and quality sleep) has become salient.

As Matt says in the video, lack of sleep affects our performance. In other studies, lack of sleep is also shown to be responsible for mood swings and deficiencies in interpersonal behaviours. One could say that sleep deficiency affects directly all the Team Resources Management areas we discuss during our TRM programmes, namely: Teamwork, Communication, Situational Awareness, Decision Making and Stress Management. At one point during the video, Matt says “Sleep loss will leak down into every nook and cranny of your physiology, even tampering with the very DNA nucleic alphabet that spells out your daily health narrative.” One could also say that “Sleep loss will also leak down into every nook and cranny of our personal and interpersonal performance, with potentially serious consequences to ATC operations and safety.”

This is not to mention all the health issues associated with lack of sleep. (watch the video)

Indeed, sleep is our superpower. It affects all aspects of our lives, the personal and the professional one.

A modular approach to a roster management tool, and a bespoke experience for the client.

A Korean saying has it that “Even children of the same mother look different.” This holds true for how ATC units organise Air Traffic Controller Rosters:

Some units organise their controllers in teams, others work on individual rosters.

Some units consist of 10 persons and a maximum of 2 sectors, others include hundreds of ATCOs and tens of sectors.

Some units only work on one rating, whereas others work across 2 or more, with their staff not necessarily qualified on all ratings and/or sectors.

Some plan their staff dynamically depending on traffic forecasts and sector openings, others have fixed seasonal plans and cycles.

Some are short of staff (or were, as we speak) and others do not have staffing issues.

All have rules about publication and change management, but most of these rules are then different.

All have rules about resting times, but virtually none are the same.

And the differences continue, with the only constants being two:

  • They are all ATCO roster and
  • They are all different!

With this knowledge in front of us, we decided that it will be very difficult to commercialise a one size fits all solution. Instead of offering a standard approach, we started developing programme modules which would allow us to offer our clients the product they need, based on building blocks we already have (modules) AND which are in turn adapted as necessary for the client.

So, in the meantime we have a fully-fledged roster management tools and also individual elements which allow us to:

  • Count working shifts and other elements per ATCO– that can then be used for ensuring spread across sectors or spread of work across periods (like weeks/months, etc.), or to count overtime or for other purposes.
  • Link ATCOs and their ratings and unit endorsements with the sectors
  • Have different rostering ´templates´ so as to cover different sector opening scenarios.
  • Deal with resting time rules as prescribed by the client.
  • Allow changes of shifts between ATCOs
  • Have different roles set within the tool and workflows for information and approvals between various roles.
  • Notification mechanisms
  • Etc.

The roster management module is part of our ARM (ATCO Resource Management) suite and can be connected to the competence management module. The latter would then monitor competence compliance (expiry of endorsements, dates for assessments and training, etc).

Would you like a private demo of our tool, please do not hesitate to drop us a mail…

Work in time of a pandemic

For us, the beginning of the rest of our venture started during the week of the 9th of March. During that week we were supposed to take part in the World ATM Congress in Madrid, we were supposed, as we did in previous years, to meet and catch up with a number of friends, suppliers and clients. The congress got cancelled one week prior.

During the week of the 9th of March, academies to which we were giving support suspended their training. Workshops which we were planned to facilitate got postponed…Roughly 80% of our contracted work got postponed to a newer date. (same happened to our planned income).

Importantly, during the week of the 9th of March, we had instructors working for us in Spain, Sweden and Belgium who had to find their way back to their places of residence in other countries. One of them got stuck whilst his country closed its borders to commercial international flights. He had to be repatriated via a service organised by his country´s embassy. We were all worried. The first priority was to get everyone home. That all went finally well. We then cancelled the OJTI/STDI – CA Refresher courses which were planned to take place at our premises in Madrid.

During the week of the 9th of March, a year, which was pencilled as a good year, was redrawn in being what it is at the time of writing: a year of instability, of great unknowns, of the knowledge that things will be different for a very long while, of the knowledge that we don´t know how they will be different.

Since the week of the 16th of March, we have been doing what we can do: we have restructured our balance sheets and taken measures to survive as long as possible, using our company cash surplus and adjusting everyone´s incomes in a thin balance between keeping everyone afloat and the company itself afloat. We have started planning on ways of how we could strengthen our knowledge, work on the back-log of things we had, imagine our business in the medium to longer term. Work on those things which will make us better.

We have started offering free support to student air traffic controllers worldwide who have seen their training be suspended, as is our own way of giving something back of what we know, during these hard times. We are trialling, together with other schools and ANSPs,  Rose´s PORT: A fully-fledged online ATC simulator, developed by our partner Rose-Simulators. We have created a facebook page to exchange a different kind of partner/user, and we have just created this blog.

Content-wise we are looking at how we can deliver some of our courses through distance learning. We are adding a Competency Component to our ARM (ATCO Resource Management) Suite, and more and more things.

Things are not all bleak, even if they are truly difficult times; having to survive by eating in on the little fat you managed to save in the previous years, and living worried that all that we worked for in the past years will be dismantled by a force majeure. This experience is hopefully serving us to reinvent ourselves, to offer better services in the future, to reflect on our place in the world, as individuals, as professionals and as a company. 

Hope we see the other side of the tunnel. If we fail it will not be due to not trying to do our best. If we succeed, even if we will come out thinner, our fibre will be stronger than it has ever been.

More to come on this blog, on the rest of our social media and on our daily contacts with all our friends and partners….hello Ingenav-blog you are the child of a new era.