My love for structure and stability is right there in the name of my chosen field: intelligent transportation systems. I’m drawn to it because of the ability to look at a complex problem and plan a path forward that helps solve a problem.
Adjusting to life in a global pandemic, when it seems like not much is in our control, means I have to be intentional about my approach to serving clients and also to being a mom and wife.
At Gannett Fleming, we strive to amaze our clients with our quality, innovation, and responsiveness. This has been our enduring mission and continues to guide us during these difficult times. At the same time, as a mom, I’m eager to provide a safe space for my daughter, Emma, to continue to learn and express any anxiety she may be feeling.
It’s a tall order, but here are a few ways I’ve managed to adjust to this new life that combines work and home.
1. Determine Your Schedule, Use Teams, and Share Your Calendar
A structured schedule for both you and your family is essential. My husband and I split the day. We are lucky that our daughter, Emma, plays independently and has schoolwork of her own via Zoom. I would recommend to parents with small kids to have shifts: one parent could work 6-12 and a few hours after the kids go to sleep, and the other parent could work 12-6 and a few hours in the evening as well.
Also, I’ve found that Microsoft Teams has been an efficient way to stay on top of projects and collaborate. Keeping my Outlook calendar up to date and sharing calendars among coworkers helps keep everyone on the same page. Technology can help to make our lives easier and open up lines of communication.
2. Keep Connections Strong
In the consulting world, our relationships mean everything. As people – even introverts! – need and crave those meaningful interactions. Just because we are social distancing doesn’t mean we distance our relationships. I use video chat, phone calls, and texts to continue to stay connected. I don’t shy away from meaningful, age-appropriate conversations with Emma about what is happening in the world. Having these relationships also means you can – and should – ask for help if you need it.
3. Look Outward, Not Inward
Our team and my family talk a lot about improving the community. In a stressful time like this, it’s essential to look for ways to help. Whether giving a client a piece of advice about adjusting to this new situation, checking in on an elderly relative or neighbor, or donating blood, every action in service to others helps with my mental health and overall happiness.
When Emma was about eight months old, I broke my leg while exercising and had to work from home for a few months. At the time, I was anxious to get back to work, wishing I could get back to a routine. I now realize that the time together really bonded us and probably made me a better mother. I’m trying to remember that lesson now in moments of frustration: there is always something to be grateful for. For the first time in over six years, I get to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my family.
Catalina Echeverri, PMP, is a project manager based out of the Miami office. She is also the vice chair of Connected Women at Gannett Fleming™, our employee resource group focused on creating a culture that empowers, supports, and mentors women to achieve career and personal success.