With autumn approaching, many entrepreneurs and other professionals with school-age children face a double dose of challenges. Back to school brings break-neck fall schedules packed with events and extracurricular activities that demand parents’ time. And as kids adjust to the new norm, adults must play catch up professionally as they take stock of the business responsibilities they may have put on the back burner during the summer.
Below are some tips to help you and your family survive and thrive while working through the transition.
Back to Business
1. Time to Focus
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may have let some business maintenance and compliance deadlines slip past you. It’s time to get back on track before you face fines or penalties!
Here’s a quick checklist to get you back on track:
- Renew business licenses
- File for S Corp status
- Establish a foreign qualification if you’ve expanded to another state
- Register for payroll taxes if you have employees working in other states
- Renew trademarks
- Have a board meeting
- Check to see if you have nexus in other states (which means you need to pay sales taxes in those states) and register for sales and use tax
2. Set Limits
It’s always “fun” when you’re in a business Zoom meeting and your kids yell out, “What’s for dinner?!” in the background. Most clients understand and won’t hold it against you. Still, it’s a good idea to let your kids know the hours you plan on working, when you can and can’t be disturbed, and how to use their “inside voices” when you are on a work call.
Keep your workday focused on business by making school lunches the night before and preparing the kids’ school supplies in advance. That way, you won’t have to haggle with them during work hours. Also, consider creating a “no-fly-zone” where family and pets are not allowed nearby during business hours.
3. Schedule Work Around School, if Possible
If COVID-19 variants force schools to shift back to virtual mode, find out exactly when your child needs to be online. Then, schedule your important meetings and big projects during those times so that you can accomplish work while your child is engaged in learning. Also, get up earlier and go to bed later than your kids to get work done. That can pay off in a big way by making the midday hours less stressful.
Back to School
1. Reach Out to Teachers
Keep an open line of communication with teachers. If your school shifts back to an online or hybrid approach, let each teacher know you’ll be running your business while your child is learning. Inform them you want to be notified immediately if they think your child is not participating or if there are any issues you should know about. Teachers want parents who are involved in their students’ learning experience. Teaching and learning online is still a relatively new experience for everyone, so we need to work together.
2. Set Up Learning Pods
Reach out to the other parents in your children’s classes and see if you can set up socially distanced homework clubs to allow kids to get out of the house if learning goes remote again. That will enable them to be with their friends while still focusing on schoolwork. Parents can switch houses so that everyone gets some time alone to work or relax. Consider hiring a tutor to help the kids with their homework. Or find programs to engage them in other activities or projects they otherwise may not have an opportunity to explore while at home.
3. Break Up the Day
Kids at school get breaks between classes, so if remote learning goes into effect again, it’s good to plan for this at home, too. Use a timer to track how much time your kids spend “in class” and when they can take a break. Try to maintain as regular a schedule as possible, as if they were at school. Have them get up and get dressed first thing in the morning and be there to help with homework at night.
Communicate and Compromise!
Don’t worry if things don’t run perfectly as you continue to work through the uncertainties of these times. The key is to communicate and compromise with everyone involved — kids, life partners, employees, teachers, vendors, and customers. We’re all in this together!
Need help getting your company back to business? We’re here to help!