For most of the country, school is back in session or at least just a few weeks away. In some cities, students may be returning to a hybrid model, which is some in-class time combined with online learning. Others may remain completely virtual until 2021. For entrepreneurial parents, that means performing a balancing act of running your own business and making sure sales are on the rebound, while also ensuring your child is engaged online, following new protocols, and keeping up with assignments.
When COVID-19 shut down most schools last March, teachers and administrators scrambled to figure out some way to transfer school learning to online learning. Schools were faced with the challenge if providing teachers and students with the technology to make the transition happen smoothly, figure out some kind of grading system that was fair under stressful conditions, and make teachers, students, and parents accountable so the new virtual system would still provide crucial instruction. I’m not sure how your kids fared, but for us the results were mediocre, at best.
At the same time, business owners (with the means to do so) also had to pivot to a virtual model and figure out how to run their businesses without in-person interactions and still meet the needs of customers. That also meant learning how to manage remote employees and learning about the regulations associated with virtual companies.
Now that the new school year is here, we’ve had many months to see where the mistakes were made and apply what we learned so we can work from home productively while ensuring our kids are engaged and learning until schools open again.
Here are some ways you can make it work for your business and family, too.
Back to Business
Time to Focus
Everything that has gone on over the past few months has made focusing on business challenging. Trying to navigate through the government’s protocol mandates, applying for relief monies, and setting up systems for seamless remote communication all had to be accomplished while you kept your family engaged and safe at home. Now that school is starting and some businesses across the country are opening up their doors again, it’s time for you to focus on ways to grow your business. During all the tumult you may have let some maintenance and compliance deadlines pass by.
Here’s a quick checklist to get you back on track:
- Renew business licenses
- File for S Corp status (the deadline to file has been extended to Sept. 15, 2020)
- 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
Get the Kids Involved
Bored kids at home are the worst kind of distraction, especially when you are running your business remotely and you’re all stuck in one house. Make “safer-at-home” a teachable moment by having your kids get involved 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 not only helps your business, but it also gives 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 these are weird times, but it’s still 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.
Plan your day as if the kids were leaving the house by making lunches the night before or making sure they have all their school supplies ready to go so you aren’t disturbed during your working hours. Create a “no-fly-zone” where family and pets are not allowed nearby during work hours.
Schedule Work Around School, if Possible
Find out exactly when your child needs to be online and try and schedule important meetings or big projects during those times. If your child is engaged, you know you’ll have some quiet time to get things done. You most likely will need to get up earlier and go to bed later than your kids to get work done, but that can pay off in a big way by making the midday hours less stressful.
Back to School
Reach Out to Teachers
Teachers will be working in a vacuum more than ever this fall, so it’s important for you to keep an open line of communication with them. Let each teacher know you’ll be running your business while your child is online 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. Believe me, teachers want parents who are involved in their students’ learning experience. Teaching and learning online is still a new experience for everyone so we need to work together.
Set Up Learning Pods
As I said, we’re all in this together so reach out to the other parents in your children’s classes and see if you can set up socially-distanced homework clubs so kids can get out of the house, be with their friends, while still focusing on schoolwork. Parents can switch houses so you can get some time alone to work. Hire a tutor to help the kids with their homework or to engage in some physical activities or art projects they may not have access to while they’re at home.
Break Up the Day
Kids at school get breaks between classes and you should set these up for your students at home. Use a timer to keep track of how much time your kids are spending “in class” and when they can take a break. Try and keep to as normal a schedule as you can, as if they were actually 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 in this hopefully “temporary new normal” your home being your office and your kid’s school. Mistakes will be made and that’s okay. The key is to communicate and compromise.
Let CorpNet help you get your company back to business! Call today!