Schools will soon be back in session across our country. COVID-19 continues to present challenges — and debates over our children’s learning environment. However, we see some glimpses of our former “normal” as most schools are transitioning from virtual and hybrid classes back to in-person learning.
Also, at this time, business owners who have switched to a virtual workplace are assessing the results and figuring out to what degree they want to continue that model. Entrepreneurs operating companies that primarily do business in-person are navigating how to provide optimal customer service amid the ever-evolving landscape of pandemic guidelines and restrictions.
Business owners with school-age children face a double dose of challenges — business and school!
Below are some ways you, your company, and your family can survive and thrive while working through these times.
Back to Business
Time to Focus
Everything that has happened over the past year+ has made focusing on business formalities challenging. During all the tumult, you may have let some maintenance and compliance deadlines pass by. 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:
Get the Kids Involved
Bored kids at home are the worst kind of distraction, especially when running your business remotely and you’re all stuck in one house. Create teachable moments (and keep kids busy!) by involving your children in the business.
- Have a website? Teach your kids how to post content, look for photos, or update messages.
- Haven’t had time to stay on top of your social media platforms? Kids today know more than you do about Instagram and Twitter.
- Use their expertise to gather analytical information on which posts got traction and which posts no one cared about.
- Older kids can answer emails, design PowerPoints, and even create engaging videos about your business.
Their involvement can help your business and give them real-world experience they can use in the future.
It’s always “fun” when you’re in a business Zoom meeting and your kids yell out, “What’s for lunch?!” 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 getting the kids’ school supplies ready to go in advance. That way you won’t have to haggle with them during your working hours. Also, consider creating a “no-fly-zone” where family and pets are not allowed nearby during business hours.
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
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.
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 they’re at home.
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 keep track of how much time your kids are spending “in class” and when they can take a break. Try to maintain as regular a schedule as you can, 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 the pandemic. 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!