The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

184: Navigating the Virtual Workplace with Mary Abbajay, President of Careerstone Group


The current pandemic has forced many leaders and their teams around the world out of offices and into virtual workplaces. Many are trying to transition to working from home for the first time, while also managing a workspace that now includes their families as well as new technology.

Thankfully, Mary Abbajay, president of Careerstone Group, is saving the day with a host of tips and tricks for both managers and employees on navigating these tough times.

Mary is a sought after author, speaker, consultant, and trainer helping clients develop the strategies, skills, and sensibilities for success no matter what comes their way, resulting in people looking to her leadership during this unprecedented global crisis.

In today’s episode, Mary touches on some things to consider as companies transition to working from home, as well as five foundational platforms that bosses should be setting up. She talks about possible traps that both managers and employees may experience while in a virtual workplace, like overworking, social isolation, and trust that work is getting done.

Mary shares tips for fostering connection in virtual teams, explains how conference calls can be less painful, and how her process of managing up still works in a virtual workplace. Finally, she leaves us with tangible action steps for both employees and wellness professionals.

This episode is sponsored by Health Enhancement Systems (HES). 

I’m thrilled to announce HES is launching a new emotional well-being campaign called Work of Art on May 1. I’ve been anticipating the release of Work of Art for a while and I’m implementing it for a client later this year. Be sure to check it out at

HES has agreed to award 1 FREE Work of Art implementation to a Redesigning Wellness podcast listener. This is the only place you can get the address and enter the random drawing, go to and register.

The winner will be announced Friday, May 1!

Enter here for the Work of Art giveaway from Health Enhancement Systems

Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [7:15] What companies should consider in transitioning employees to working from home
  • [12:41] Trusting that work is getting done
  • [15:32] Setting boundaries around overworking
  • [17:33] Tips for staying connected with virtual teams
  • [24:05] Traps that employees fall in to when working from home
  • [28:30] Making conference calls less painful
  • [34:17] How to manage up virtually
  • [38:29] Tangible tip for an employee
  • [39:53] Tangible tip for wellness professionals
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Mary Abbajay is the president of Careerstone Group, LLC, a full service organizational and leadership development consultancy that delivers leading-edge talent and organizational development solutions to business and government. As a sought-after author, speaker, consultant, and trainer, Mary helps clients develop the strategies, skills and sensibilities needed for success in the 21st century. Her expertise lies in helping clients create dynamic and productive workplaces that foster professional and personal excellence and growth.

Mary is the author of Managing Up: How to Move Up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss, as well as a frequent expert contributor for television, radio and print publications in the greater Washington area where she provides practical leadership and career advice. Mary currently serves on the Market President’s Board of BB&T Bank and is a past Chairman of the Board for Leadership Greater Washington.

In 2010, Mary was named as one of Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and was a Smart CEO Brava Award recipient in 2017.