Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, Feb 3 - 9am-10am ET - NEW DAY/TIME for FLO WEBINAR

The new rescheduled day and time for the webinar is

Wednesday, February 3, from 9am – 10am ET.

The webinar will be recorded. If you are interested on receiving the link please send us an email to FLOAskUT@state.gov

we will send you the link as soon as it’s made available to us.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mark Your Calendars! Webinar: "Enhancing Stress Resilience for Kids" - Wednesday, January 27 9:00-10:00 a.m. ET

The Family Liaison Office in partnership
with MHN (formerly Managed Health Network)
presents an interactive workshop

“Enhancing Stress Resilience for Kids”

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
9:00 -10:00 A.M. ET

Department of State, FLO Room 1239

This session is designed for an adult audience and will address the challenges children face in today’s busy world. The one hour interactive workshop will provide ways for parents to identify signs of stress in their children, discuss how adults’ and kids’ bodies react to stress, and provide techniques to reduce stress.
A trainer from MHN (a Health Net company) will facilitate the discussion.

Remote participation:
You do not have to attend in person. This workshop is available virtually. Virtual participants will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection and computer speakers. The “chat” function will allow virtual participants to post questions during the presentation. There is a workbook to use during the workshop. Please contact FLOAskUT@state.gov to request a copy.

Who may participate?
This program is open to all U.S. government employees, their family members, and Members of Household.  It may be especially useful to those affected by long-term temporary duty (TDY) and permanent change of station assignments to unaccompanied posts or high threat posts.

How to participate:
Contact FLOAskUT@state.gov to participate in person. Virtual participants will log on to https://deptofstatehr.adobeconnect.com/r23k31mdibr/.  Enter as a guest; type your name and your current or future post. 

If you have questions: Please contact FLO's Unaccompanied Tours Support Team at
202-647-1076 or 1-800-440-0397 or email FLOAskUT@state.gov

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

IQ: Information Quest presents a Webinar

IQ: Information Quest presents-
Webinar:  Building Self-Confidence    Tuesday, January 26 from 1 to 2 pm ET

In order to handle today's challenging situations, we need to be at our best and believe in ourselves.
This webinar will outline why confidence is so important and how to continue feeling strong and empowered. We will have an interactive, engaging conversation that will help you feel more self-assured, both at work and at home.


IQ is the Department’s comprehensive and confidential resource and referral service that offers support to employees and families searching for ways to balance the demands of their professional and personal lives. They have a wealth of information on many topics, including 30 minutes of free consultation with a lawyer.  They also provide emergency child-care backup (5 days per year of child-care).To request customized research and referrals, email the Specialist directly at Specialist@LifeCare.com or call 866-552-4748. Specialists are available any time of the day or night, every day of the year.  Use the following to log on to their website: www.worklife4you.com: screen name: statedepartment; password: infoquest.  Referrals through IQ offer discounted rates for continued service.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Posted by Beth Payne on Monday, January 4th 2016     

Most people who work for the State Department will find themselves in a crisis at one time or another. Most of the time the crisis will be unpredictable. Whether you find yourself in a city during a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or civil unrest, it is very important that you and your team maintain your resilience so that you can respond to the crisis effectively and achieve U.S. foreign policy goals.
Here are some tips on how you can foster resilience during a crisis:
§  Focus on people first: The highest priority in a crisis is the safety and security of the team. Take the time to ensure that everyone has what they need to feel secure. Let people leave if they need to.

§  Ask for help: One of the best ways to maintain resilience during a crisis is to ask for help and resist the temptation to prove how capable you are by going it alone. Many Department bureaus can send TDY support if requested and are happy to walk you through best practices and lessons learned. Be proactive early on and get the help you need.

§  Create work schedules and rest breaks: While a crisis often requires 24/7 work coverage, that doesn’t mean people should work non-stop. Develop clear work schedules that incorporate time for rest breaks, meals and relaxation. Make people who are not scheduled to work go home. Some people like to stay where the action is, but they can be distracting and will then be over tired when it’s their turn to work. Leaders should designate deputies so they can also take time to eat, sleep, and relax.

§  Communicate extensively: Effective communication is critical in a crisis and err on the side of over communicating.

§  Manage Washington: In a crisis, senior officials in Washington crave information and details. Channel communications through a central point of contract or location so that employees aren’t distracted by constant requests from Washington. Everyone should regularly feed information to the designated Washington point of contact so officials are satisfied. Don’t allow a vacuum to develop.

  • Eat and drink: Provide fluids and healthy food and the time to eat. Minimize caffeine and sugar since these only provide a temporary boost followed by a significant drop in energy. If you want to have snack foods, bring in fruit and nuts instead of candy and chips. Avoid alcohol during the crisis. Alcohol will mask, but not reduce stress, and can have a negative impact on the body in times of stress.

  • Have fun: Even though you find yourself in a life or death crisis, there is still room to have fun and laugh – find it. However, be sure your humor is culturally sensitive.

What helps you stay resilient during a crisis?