How SHE Staff is Adapting to the New Normal

How SHE Staff is Adapting to the New Normal

Posted on June 29, 2020

Without a doubt, we are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 barged in without warning and disrupted our lives without remorse. As we all work together to flatten the curve, businesses and organizations like ours had to think quickly, adapting to move the majority of our operations off-site and from home. The idea alone was overwhelming when taking into account our 117 employees, many of them with robust daily activities requiring scanning, faxing, printing, taking calls, and the use of technology in general.

With the help of our amazing tech team and our incredibly accommodating staff, SHE successfully moved its operations to working from home, with the exception of a few essential staff who also alternate between in-office and working from home days.

These changes came with their fair share of challenges. Here, our staff shares their honest and heartfelt thoughts on what it’s been like to work from home.

Estevan’s Home Work Station

Estevan Benavides, a Project Manager in our Real Estate Development Department shares, “some of the challenges were expected and others not so much.  I knew I had to create a work-station at home, but I did not think about the actual items I needed to be successful. I can work on a laptop screen for short periods, but 8-hour days on a tiny screen were torture, I needed a monitor.”



Arlene’s Home Work Station

Arlene Guerra, a Community Development Manager for the Sustainable Solutions team, shares that her biggest challenge was making sure she had all of the correct equipment needed to complete her work. “I had to adapt with other family members who were also working from home.”




For Community Development Specialist, Seamus Guerin, the hardest is missing out on the in-person interactions with residents. Though he says that community members showcase “resiliency and willingness to learn” when participating in conference calls, many of them for the first time.

Despite these obvious challenges, staff worked hard to gain some type of consistency and flow to their workday. As the weeks in quarantine continued, staff adapted accordingly.

Joi Edwards, an Administrative Analyst for Partner Services, shares what has helped her stay productive: “I make sure to have healthy, easily accessible snacks. I play music and open the curtains for some natural light. I allow myself to take breaks to do things around the house, such as folding laundry while I mentally organize my workload.”

Both Lorene Alvarez, Loan Processor for our Down Payment Assistance program and Lori Huerta, Project Tech for the Gateway Program, say that working from home has been less distracting.

“I am able to have my music on while working without disturbing my neighbor,” says Lori.

Lorene says “ I am completely focused, less noise and distractions.”

Beyond adapting our physical workspace, some departments have undergone major shifts.

Tami’s Home Work Station

“We are a rather new program, and when we are in the face of a disaster like COVID19, there is a lot of adapting in real time,” says Tami McVay, Manager for the Emergency Services Program. “Almost every single scope of work changed to include additional crisis support.  This has forced my staff to think independently and troubleshoot for themselves. Working from home has not been as challenging as I thought it would be. I do like being able to talk to staff and brainstorm with each other, however we have found alternative methods of communication.”

Estevan, like many other staff, has also found some major positives to working from home. “One big win is being able to be home with the family, even if I am not interacting with them. On occasion, I have my four-year-old daughter color at her ‘desk’ (an old cutting board) on the floor next to me sharing conversation while I toil on my computer. I enjoy having lunch with my family including my newborn baby boy, which I otherwise would not have been able to do without taking time off and leaving my work team down one member.”

Collectively, we are working towards the same goal: to flatten the curve, all while still fulfilling our mission to help low-income families build and sustain healthy homes and communities. As our CEO, Tom Collishaw stated:

“Even in these difficult times, we are committed to continuing our mission of working together to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. We will pursue this work while prioritizing the health and safety of our staff and participants. If you don’t see our faces for the time being, know that we are continuing our essential work with energy and resolve.”

Slowly, SHE is preparing for a phased re-opening, ensuring the health and safety of our staff and the people we serve and as our top priority.

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