If the past several months have taught us nothing else, they’ve certainly served to affirm that we humans are an adaptive species.
Those adaptations have taken many forms, especially as the spring’s “new normal” shifts into a more extended version. For women at ADP, a top-rated human resources management software and services company, they’ve had the added benefit of navigating those changes with the backing of a supportive employer.
“ADP has gone above and beyond to support employees during this pandemic,” Monisha Hogan, a Client Success Executive, said. “Because mental health is so important, ADP increased our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to include more free counseling sessions. It has been extremely helpful to talk to someone about all the changes and feelings that have occurred due to COVID-19.”
Financial support from the company has been a major plus, too.
“If we are being honest, the associate assistance payment in response to COVID-19 that ADP gave us near the start of the pandemic helped tremendously,” Victoria Lovinggood, Lead Underwriter for ADP TotalSource, said. “It made me feel that we are what we talk about, a family. For our corporate officers to look at the situation and do what they could for associates to help them out — it reminded me of the way families look out for each other and offer support where they can and when they can.”
And for Sue Smith, Senior Director and HR Business Partner at ADP, having the flexibility to manage her family’s needs at this time has been crucial. Balance, she says, means “being able to take care of my family and do my job successfully” — a target she aims to hit every day.
Recently, all three women shared with Fairygodboss how they’ve optimized their work routines during these COVID times, the biggest challenges they’ve faced, and how ADP has been supportive in overcoming them.
Tell me a bit about your current role. What are your priorities?
Sue Smith: “I am an HR Business Partner and support a client group with my organization. I work with leaders to attract, retain and develop talent for the organization. I coach and counsel associates and leaders on policies, procedures, career growth and development.”
Victoria Lovinggood: “I’m responsible for underwriting a company’s risk profile, including operations, workers’ compensation loss history, ordering and reviewing risk and safety assessments, etc. My priority is to provide support to sales leaders and sales representatives across the country.”
Monisha Hogan: “My mission is to make my clients wildly successful! To achieve this goal, I serve as a trusted Human Capital Management (HCM) advisor and advocate to my clients by ensuring that they have a positive end-to-end client experience. My priority is to be a strategic partner so I can drive client satisfaction by delivering a seamless and unified HCM experience.”
Paint a picture of a typical day for me. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
SS: “First thing I do when I wake up is stretch and head to the kitchen for my morning bottle of water. I know – boring! I am not a coffee or tea drinker, so this is my go-to beverage. Last thing I do before I go to sleep is set my alarm.”
VL: “A typical day for me after getting up is logging on. I start by checking email and handling anything that has come in overnight or early morning, since I work with a team of sales representatives and leaders across the U.S. During the day, I will review RFPs for underwriting, answer questions, provide guidance around potential clients, and assist where needed. Before bed, I will generally check email on my phone to see what’s gone on since I left and start prepping for the next day.”
MH: “During the workweek, I usually wake up at 5:45 a.m. to cook a hot breakfast for my son. After I get him squared away for Virtual School to start at 8 a.m., my workday begins with emails and/or conference calls. I usually take a break between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to cook my son’s lunch and come up with a fun recess activity for him. I pick back up with more meetings, emails and video conference calls to satisfy my clients’ needs. I will take a short 15-minute break after Virtual School ends. This usually involves a short walk in the neighborhood or just shooting a few hoops with my son. My workday wraps up by 6 p.m. and I begin to make dinner. Family time lasts until 8:30 p.m. I usually end my night by checking my work calendar so I am prepared for the day ahead.”
What does “balance” mean to you, and in what ways do you feel like you’ve achieved it?
SS: “Balance to me is being able to take care of family and do my job successfully. I feel like I have achieved it when I have completed tasks/projects for work and am still able to attend family activities, help with homework, and be able to relax.”
VL: “Balance for me means that I have the time to take care of personal/family needs but also the ability to work when I can. I worked from home on a daily basis before COVID-19 and being able to do what I need to when I can or need to is balance. I feel that I’ve achieved that.”
Attaining work-life balance can’t be done solo. What people, resources, and tools do you rely on to get it all done?
SS: “I rely on my husband, kids, other family members, friends, my boss, and peers.”
VL: “Definitely my employer, ADP, is important for having work-life balance, as they are a driving force to ensure we are achieving that balance. My husband, Scott, is a huge help. In cases where I might need to work a little extra to get something done, he’ll make dinner and take care of things at home.”
MH: “Having a strong support system is key to finding a work-life balance that works best for you. Whether professionally or personally, I have a core set of friends that I can call on when I need assistance or backup.”
How have you had to adjust your schedule during COVID-19?
SS: “I’ve now been working from home for the past several months. Depending on needs with work or family, I start my day earlier or work later to manage both family and work needs.”
VL: “As a home-shored associate, I haven’t had to do much adjusting, but one of my favorite things was being able to visit with local sales teams at their offices, which I can’t do right now. I enjoyed a day in the office to work and be in direct contact with my teams. That’s been the only adjustment, and thankfully I’ve been able to join team meetings virtually that keep me connected.”
MH: “The biggest schedule adjustment has been aligning my work schedule with my son’s Virtual School schedule. For instance, instead of the “normal” noon lunchtime, I now take lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.”
What resources or support has ADP offered you during the pandemic?
SS: “ADP was quick to get associates to all be able to work remotely. They provided tools and resources to associates to help them navigate this uncertain time — things like our Employee Assistance Program, ADP Cares, articles on how to cope, access to our medical department to do telemedicine, and a web page related to COVID-19 questions and processes to follow during this time. The one thing I was most impressed with was that ADP provided an associate assistance payment in response to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic to help cover unexpected costs during this time. That was above and beyond in my opinion.”
VL: “If we are being honest, the associate assistance payment in response to COVID-19 that ADP gave us near the start of the pandemic helped tremendously. It made me feel that we are what we talk about, a family. For our corporate officers to look at the situation and do what they could for associates to help them out — it reminded me of the way families look out for each other and offer support where they can and when they can. ADP continues to support me in other ways during this strange time. One of the other resources I found that has been a tremendous joy to find was a Brand Ambassador program at ADP called “Life @ADP.” I feel like I’m more connected now to other associates, and we are talking about everyday things, not just work. I know we are a global company, and being part of Life @ADP puts me in contact with so many more associates around the world. It’s a fun time.”
MH: “ADP has gone above and beyond to support employees during this pandemic. Because mental health is so important, ADP increased our Employee Assistance Program to include more free counseling sessions. It has been extremely helpful to talk to someone about all the changes and feelings that have occurred due to COVID-19. In doing so, I have been able to find new ways to cope with the added stress and pressure associated with the pandemic.”
What has been the biggest challenge for you as you are navigating this ‘new normal’?
SS: “The biggest challenge for me in this new normal is not being able to socialize with others in person.”
VL: “I miss seeing my sales teams, so adapting to team meetings done by Webex or over the phone has been an adjustment. Getting to see my teams was my time in the office and I enjoyed that, since I'm home-shored already. Knowing that I can't just go to an office to see anyone anymore is taking some getting used to. The other challenge has been in learning not to panic when my husband, who is a pharmacy technician, mentions that someone at the store tested positive for COVID-19. I know that his employer is doing everything to keep employees safe, but he is technically a front-line worker in a pharmacy.”
MH: “It has been challenging to balance the demands of being a parent and working professional – especially with a 3rd grader at home attending Virtual School!”
Are you a working parent? If so, what advice do you have for other women who are working remotely with their children at home?
SS: “I am a working parent. And my advice to other working women would be: take it one day at a time. Build community support, such as joining/starting a Facebook group for your local school for extra support. Know that you are not alone, as many of us are all facing the same challenges.”
MH: “As a working parent, it's important to block out time on your calendar for your kids. If possible, block out lunchtime — which can give you time to connect with your kids and disconnect from work. This can be the mental break that you need and can recharge you for the rest of the day. I also encourage you to sit down with your children each week to develop and discuss your schedule for the upcoming week. This can help set expectations so that they know when Mommy is busy and when she has dedicated time for them.”
What is your favorite way to destress outside of work?
SS: “My favorite way to destress outside of work is working out a few times a week and watching Netflix.”
VL: “My favorite way to destress outside of work includes planning in my Plum Paper Planner — yep, I’m old school, with paper, pens and stickers. It makes a neat daily diary. I also read and challenged myself to read at least ten books before the end of the year, so I don’t watch too much TV. My other favorite thing is professional development. I’ve been taking courses online to increase my knowledge and have continued working on professional designations. For instance, I was able to achieve my WCIRB CompEssentials Certification from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California.”
MH: “The pandemic has increased my love and appreciation of nature and the outdoors in general. I enjoy riding bicycles with my 8-year-old son. We have spent lots of quality time riding through new neighborhoods and discovering new trails. The sun on my face, the breeze in my hair, and the smile on his face melt all the stressors of work/COVID/Virtual School away!”
To learn more about how ADP is keeping their associates safe, remote work possibilities, and more, view their COVID-19 response page & FAQs for answers to your most pressing questions, here.
Fairygodboss is proud to partner with ADP! Find a job there today.