How To Turn Into Superwoman During COVID-19 Part 1
Working from home, teaching your kids, and studying for the CPA Exam amidst the coronavirus pandemic is no small feat.
Let’s face it: the way we’re having to go about our days is anything but business as usual. States are announcing variations of a statewide stay home order, schools are closing up shop, and millions are either being laid off, fired, or moving to a remote work environment entirely. With the kids at home full-time, and your work and CPA exam studies sharing the space with them, women in finance are looking at a whole new set of challenges. This is especially true if you’re more accustomed to working in an office setting or haven’t homeschooled your children before. So, what’s the solution? Creativity.
Check out the resources you have available.
There’s definitely a learning curve when adjusting to a work-from-home lifestyle, even when it isn’t amidst the spread of a health pandemic. It can feel a little wrong at first, and you might catch yourself feeling out of place as you walk to the kitchen for a glass of water at 11:30 in the morning on a Tuesday.
When working from home, it’s important to put together a system that works for you, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to exactly replicate an office environment. And that’s okay! There are plenty of resources available so that you can carve out a personalized workflow for what you need during this time.
Use videoconferencing platforms
Despite the fact that most people are working remote right now, save for essential workers, you want to ensure that the distance is felt as little as possible. You want to continue engaging meaningfully with your clients and colleagues, and face-to-face conversation is a way to do exactly that. Since meeting in person is not a viable option while in quarantine, videoconferencing is a great alternative.
When looking into videoconferencing platforms, there is no shortage of options. All you have to do is take your pick. Some of the more popular options include Zoom, Skype for Business, and Google Hangouts, all of which are available to sign-up and download online. Worried about your 9:30 AM meeting seeing the pile of unfinished laundry in the corner? (Also, a very common work-from-home issue.) Zoom has an option to choose a different background for your call, so you can procrastinate on running that load of sheets for as long as you like, while still maintaining an attentive level of communication. If you aren’t looking to download anything new, even a FaceTime or WhatsApp video call provides for a closer replication of an in-person meeting. Your clients, and the social butterfly that lives within you, will thank you.
Try out educational tools
With all of the school closures, a lot of mothers are now having to double their work load as both female accountants and homeschool teacher. While some schools are creating online curriculums and providing students with specific technology to continue with the school year digitally, others are not able to supply as much or transition online as quickly. When you haven’t previously homeschooled your children and have to continue working remotely, all while studying for the CPA exam, it can be overwhelming to come up with lesson plans. (Note: how to get your kids to complete their homework before turning on the television is, unfortunately, not covered in any CPA exam study guides.)
Fortunately, there are plenty of educational tools online that you can use to help tailor your little one’s studies (and your not-so-little ones, too). There are museums and zoos that are making virtual tours and livestreams available online while field trips are off the table. Google’s Arts & Culture platform is collaborating with 1,200 museums to stream their exhibits, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Guggenheim, and the Van Gogh Museum. The Louvre and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History are also offering their own virtual tours online. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute has webcams set up, and Oakland Zoo, among others are also offering livestreams.
There are learning websites, like Khan Academy, that are offering resources for those children whose schools weren’t able to offer a remote alternative. Khan Academy in particular is offering daily schedules by grade level and instructions for parents on how to use their site. This way, you can work while your children continue learning. No holographic teachers just yet, but getting close.
Search on social media
When in doubt, hit up social media! If you’re needing some help with a particular work/study dilemma, ask your peers on Twitter for advice or reach out to your women’s social group. If you’re part of a professional women’s organization or a women’s networking group, ask them for help on whether you should let your manager know you’ve been double-booked for a meeting/teacher conference via email or video. While we’re all going through a difficult time, your children included, make sure you’re maintaining your network despite the trials and tribulations of what daily life has become.
Social media isn’t reserved just to your work, but can also be a big help as you navigate your children’s days on a round-the-clock basis. Pinterest is a treasure trove for crafts and activities that you can set up for your kids that are both engaging and stimulating for them. That way, you can get some quiet time while you send those emails/prepare for a call with your client/pore over your exam flashcards.