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Is Home the Center of Your Universe This Fall?

How one CPA manages remote work and school at home.
August 20, 2020

“You can do this.” 

Maybe, as the school year begins, you just need to hear a veteran CPA say that.

VSCPA member Niki White, CPA, chief customer officer at Strategic Risk Associates in Richmond, has worked remotely and homeschooled her two children for the past four years. Whether your children are beginning school virtually this year, tackling a hybrid option or something else entirely, Niki has advice. In a Zoom lunch-and-learn Aug. 18, 2020, she offered the following tips.

‘The biggest thing I can tell you is: Simplify.’

Simplifying your home, school and work lives will do wonders for making you feel in control. At home, declutter and get rid of visual clutter. For schooltime, make the schedule as simple as you can for your children and take an inventory check each night to make sure you’re prepared for the next day. At work, block off time on your calendar when you know your children will need you available to answer questions, and keep other hours open for meetings. 

‘I’m really stingy with my time.’

Though Niki jokes that there are 24 hours in a day and she uses every one of them, she says it’s important to be intentional when you are juggling work and school at home. Make sure you get enough sleep and that your children are doing age-appropriate activities independently, such as helping make meals or doing laundry. Only commit to activities that work with the priorities you set as a family.

Be strategic.

  1. Plan: First, make a plan that works for your family. Right now, Niki lays out her family’s schedule a week in advance. But based on your own needs, you may need to plan a month in advance or, conversely, just a day.
  2. Set expectations: Discuss with your child which school tasks they can complete solo and which require help. Decide which comes first and set expectations for questions and interruptions.
  3. Delegate: Allow your children to take ownership over household tasks and celebrate their achievements. Let go of things you don’t need to do on your own (such as trading in-person shopping for a delivery service).
  4. Follow through: Sit down with your family and review each day. What worked? What didn’t? What do you need to reset for tomorrow?

‘Don’t just get through it. Thrive in it.’

After years of balancing home, work and school life, Niki believes that she and her family have come out the other side stronger and more connected. “I’m so grateful for knowing my children more,” she says. She believes parents should approach this fall with a positive mindset of not only surviving but thriving as parents and as families.

Want to watch Niki's lunch and learn in full? Find it here, available only to VSCPA members.

Looking for more?

Here are a few other resources that may help!