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Navigating the New Norm: Teleworking and Social Distancing Tips from HYPE Leadership Team
March 20th, 2020
By Kelsey Seeker

As Houstonians adjust to teleworking and social distancing, our HYPE Leadership team shares their insights and tips for staying productive and connected during this time.   

Q: Given that you are now teleworking full time, how are you structuring your day?  
I am not changing up my days too much from how I typically work from home. Although, I am now adding more mental breaks since I am now working from home every day.  I wake up, walk my dog and then start working until lunch (with mini 10-15 minute breaks every hour). I take an hour lunch break and then work until 6 p.m. with those 10-15 minute breaks every hour. —Jackie Garcia, Executive Compensation Analyst, HPE 

I’m keeping my normal routine: exercise, breakfast, work, socialize, sleep, and repeat.  The toughest part is reading enough news to stay informed, but also not becoming obsessed. — Dillon Wilcox, Vice President – Lender, Allegiance Bank 

I’m trying to maintain normalcy by keeping my usual structure and moving all meetings and touchpoints to calls and Web-Ex. I’ve also been checking in on my clients and colleagues to see how they are faring during this time. —Anya Marmuscak, Commercial Real Estate Advisor, JLL

Create a space to work and a location with plenty of light. Get dressed and set rules for everyone at home while you are working.  Make a daily schedule and block time for work, breakfast, breaks, lunch, and physical activity (walking inside or outside in your home garden). Block time for emails and set reminders to respond to each email when I receive them. I set reminders on emails when I open them using the flags and don’t miss email response deadlines!  Create a to-do list and section it as critical, deadline today, deadline tomorrow, preparation for next week and place an estimated time of task completion by each entry. — Dena Washington, Sr. Business Consultant, Reliant 

Q: What tools/resources have you found helpful during this time? Any cool apps or platforms you've found especially helpful? 
The time blocking concept used by Bill Gates and Elon Musk has been really helpful. I set times for certain tasks by the hour and minute. I even utilize a category for future goals, which I use at least 15 minutes a day to reach within a 30-day period.  — Dena  

To stay active a lot of my colleagues and I have been using the Wellbeats app, a virtual fitness training app that is paid and offered as a benefit by my company to do workouts inside. We also utilize yammer to stay connect with all employees across the globe. This morning I was able to talk and check up on some colleague located at our Guadalajara, Mexico office via the Microsoft Teams app. —Jackie 

Q: How have you found creative ways to practice social distancing while still connecting with coworkers, friends, peers, etc.? 
Our friends and family have extra time, so [my wife and I] are trying to make use of that opportunity.  We've been using FaceTime, group chats, phone calls, and zoom meetings for virtual happy hours, brunches, and coffee catch-ups. We’ve also been watching #QuaranStreams that musicians are putting out. —Dillon 

I have been using FaceTime and Groupme heavily. My friends and I have been rediscovering old pictures from our clouds and sharing with each other again. It is definitely giving us ways to talk about good memories and lessen anxiety. For work, don’t isolate yourself from your work team! Continue to communicate with your team via IM or phone. Don’t be afraid to contact each other if you need anything. — Dena 

Q: What are you keeping top of mind as the situation unfolds? 
What I am keeping top of mind is to not panic and take care of my mental health. I disconnect from Facebook and Instagram during the workday and try to take breaks to prevent burnout. I have also tried to remain positive and prepared. I’m making sure my finances and home life are secure in case anything unexpected may occur. — Jackie 

Maintaining a positive and caring attitude while preparing for a challenging time ahead. Reaching out to friends, family, clients and colleagues to check in with them. Use this as an opportunity to reconnect. Also, with the significant impact this will have on the economy I’m reviewing my personal financial situation to make sure I’m prepared. — Anya  

Everyone is experiencing the virus differently, but the best outcome needs us to work together.  So, while things are good for me, I should help the people who are on the front lines.  At work, that means giving my customers flexibility. At home, that means continuing to pay the people that I normally depend on such as, the dog walker, barber and waiters (they all have Venmo).  In every situation, that means distancing, disinfecting and limiting the spread. — Dillon 

The safety of our elderly population. They are special to me and I am doing my best to make sure those around me have what they need to stay healthy. — Dena 

The Partnership's Houston Coronavirus Resources guide provides information around the virus to businesses and individuals in our region. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available. 

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