Now that the stimulus checks have all been sent out, many Americans are hesitant on using the funds. They aren't sure if the rumors they're hearing about the strings attached to them are accurate or not.
Now that we have all received our stimulus checks, we are now facing a slew of rumors and myths about the money we have received. This money was welcomed with open arms, helping pay bills, and keeping food on the table for many. Thanks to Social Media and other media outlets, and just the sheer amount of information (correct or not) that's available, rumors and misinformation have been spread about the realities of our stimulus checks. We are here to set the truth straight, calm your worries, and get rid of these myths once and for all.
According to AARP, once the CARES act went into action, the IRS sent out over 140 million stimulus checks. As this relief arrived and people started spending it, some hesitation did arise. The question if we will need to pay back the IRS and if these funds will be counted as part of our income in our 2020 taxes are at the forefront of this hesitation. With income and employment being so unstable, these are very understandable questions. Yes, this money is a blessing now. But, will it turn into a curse later?
First and foremost it is very important to know that you will not be paying back your stimulus checks. The IRS has even come out and said on multiple occasions that this will not be something that you will have to pay back. The stimulus check, according to CNBC, did get the nickname "recovery rebate" which is one of the main reasons why this concern began. Why won't you have to repay the IRS? That is due to the nature of tax credit the IRS is considering our stimulus checks. There is a certain type of tax credit, says Wealth Hacker Report Jeff Rose, called an Earned Income Tax Credit. These credits are completely refundable. Even if you don't owe any taxes at the end of the year, if you have any earned income tax credits, you will still be receiving a tax refund. This is how the IRS is treating your stimulus checks. It is something you're owed, not something you will have to repay. This is how those who don't file for taxes, like those who receive social security, disability, and railroad retirement benefits were eligible for a stimulus check. As long as you have a social security number and you meet the income requirements to receive a single or joint filing stimulus check, you will receive a stimulus check, with no strings attached.
Since the IRS is treating your stimulus check like earned income tax credit, it also will not be counted as part of your income when you file your 2020 tax return. You've received this money and it is taken care of, nothing else is required for you to do about it. Ironically, there is an opportunity for you to receive more money if your stimulus check wasn't calculated correctly by the IRS. These mistakes will most likely be caught when filing your 2020 tax return, or if you didn't claim a dependent child on your tax forms, or alert the IRS to a dependent child. You won't, on the other hand, be receiving any extra stimulus money when you file your 2020 tax return if you received the proper amount. The only way that will happen is if there is another stimulus check released, which for now is just a myth and rumor.
Also, know that the stimulus check will not reduce your refund that you're owed on your 2020 taxes. You will receive every penny that you're owed, and your stimulus check will not be deducted from it or even affect it. The stimulus check will also not lower the amount you owe in taxes, either. That can be confusing since other tax credits can reduce how much you owe. But, the stimulus check will not be one of them. At the end of the day, your stimulus check will not be affecting your 2020 taxes at all.
There have been some situations, according to CNBC, that some individuals have been overpaid and given more stimulus money than they should have received. If this happens, you will not have to pay that back either. This is incredibly rare though, and more often than not, is actually a scam. As we have mentioned in recent blogs, scams regarding the stimulus checks have become rampant since they were first released. If you receive a very official-looking check in the mail for more than your stimulus amount, and it is requested of you to pay back the difference in cash, certified check, money order, or in gift cards, that is without a doubt a scam. The IRS will not contact you via phone, social media, email, or texting. If you receive any messages about your stimulus checks through these platforms make sure to report them and then delete them right away.
We hope this insight helps you better understand your stimulus check, and what you are expected to do with them now that you've received them. If you have any further questions about them, or about the 2019 tax date that just passed us on July 15th, please don't hesitate to reach out. We will be very busy over the next couple of weeks, as we have been leading up to the 15th, but we will try and get back to you as quickly as possible. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
To survive the pandemic, many brick and mortar shops have added or have switched to online selling only. That has come with many new hurdles to jump, including dealing with sales tax in a whole new way.
The pandemic has impacted every part of our personal and professional lives, there is no doubt about that. Many local restaurants and businesses right here in the Lowcountry have sadly had to close their doors due to lack of sales through the shutdown and the slow resurgence of opening back up. One of the many challenges businesses have had to face, to keep their doors open and to survive, is switching from brick and mortar sales to adding online sales or going to online-only sales. Restaurants who have never done takeout or delivery have added those options to their customer, and have had some serious adjustments to make.
For these companies who have decided to move online, they were facing more than just learning how to run their business online and how to promote themselves on this new platform. They are now adapting to a change in sales tax. Thankfully, here in South Carolina, this isn't a huge shock as the state already collects sales tax from most online retailers. Since 2018, a new ruling was made that said each state can make online shoppers pay for sales tax, even if they aren't buying products from their home state. Those who went into the pandemic with this knowledge and were successfully working online had already planned for this. Making the transition to an online business and adding on this extra layer can be difficult. This new ruling decided even if a business didn't have a physical presence in the state they were selling to, they now have to collect taxes from any state that has given the company more than 200 sales transactions or if the company made $100,000 in sales within a particular state.
What makes matters worse is that not every state or jurisdiction of states has the same guidelines when it comes to this ruling. A business here in SC might get a ton of orders from Florida or Texas, but each state will come with its own set of stipulations when it comes to collecting sales tax. The company in question is then responsible for collecting both percentages of sales tax and for reporting them correctly. It's a lot to know and understand. For a company to be successful in this and to not get stuck owing tons of money in back taxes, is to understand and know what each jurisdiction's guidelines are. What else can be helpful is to have someone on staff or working with a company like ours that knows and understands how to deal with each particular state that you are selling your product to.
How does this affect your business beyond just your taxes? You need to look at your product and how you track your sales and how you keep up with your bookkeeping. Can you keep track of all your sales to every state? It's not just where you're selling to, this is also affected if you're storing your products outside of your state or not. Remember, just like any tax law or rulings, they can change and fluctuate often and you need to stay on top of these changes.
In any big transition that a company goes through like this situation, working with us at Pathways can make it a much less painful experience. We understand these tax rulings and know when they change and fluctuate. Once you've made the decision to move your business online and you understand each jurisdiction's sales tax, you will need to register through your state to become compliant. If you are a business new to online sales or would like to build your online presence, don't stress too much. With the world as it is, the trend for online shopping is predicted to only become more popular. Even more so than it is now. It will be a challenge to make this transition, but it will be worth it. Your clientele will appreciate it, and so will your bank account. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
In the beginning, working from home with your spouse can be exciting. Is that excitement going to last forever? Here are some tips on how to successfully work at home with your partner, to maintain your relationship and your career.
We have all shared workspace in new ways in the last three months than many of us expected us to. Some with our whole families, some alone, and some with their spouses. Each situation comes with its pros and cons, adjustments, and excitement. We've spent time talking about how to set up your own home office and how to make the most of your space. But, what happens if that space is not entirely yours? Sharing a workspace with a spouse can be challenging, but thankfully if you put in the time and effort, it doesn't have to be.
From the moment you entered the serious stages of your relationship, we're sure you started hearing the age-old saying that relationships, to be successful, take work. It's no surprise to any working professional that this saying applies to any relationship, personal or private. You need to cultivate and work hard for any connection to be a successful one. As many of us continue to work from home and to deal with this transition, we have to cultivate a healthy working relationship with our spouses. This might be something you never thought you'd have to do, but even with this new necessity, these tips and suggestions can make your professional and private lives equally as happy under the same roof. To make this a successful working relationship on top of your personal one, you need to make sure you're taking positive steps in this transition together. Acknowledge that this is going to be difficult, and could even get a lot harder. If you're both dedicated to making it work and supporting one another to make sure that each of you succeeds in your workday, it will work out.
We urge you both to recognize together that this is going to be a change, and it's going to be hard. But, you WILL get through it. Take the time to nurture your relationship together and apart. Work hard to cheer on one another and to support one another's careers. Let this be another important milestone in your career and your relationship, and push to come out strong. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Your job may not be one you can do from home. What happens when your bank account is dwindling and unemployment is running out? Are there other options available to you?
The state is opening back up, but that doesn't mean everything is following suit. It doesn't mean that everyone is going back to work, and unemployment isn't going to last forever. What happens if it's impossible to work from home? Many people are still without jobs for the foreseeable future and need some help right now. If your bank account is needing you to look for a job now, what can you do to gain temporary or new employment during the age of a pandemic?
Starting a job search for temporary employment or starting your career path all over again during the pandemic may be the last thing you want to do, or think you can do, right now. But, think again. Due to the growth in technology and the ease it gives to the world of business, working from home is easier than ever before. It's become much more accessible to find these jobs and to do them from the safety of your couch. Every day more and more jobs can be transferred online. As long as you have a computer, a phone, and a good internet connection, you're already set up and ready to go. Thankfully, the remote job market and its popularity were on the rise before the pandemic hit. Please note, if this is a path you're taking, you need to be diligent in going after and getting these jobs. You need to create and stick to a schedule, and you need to show up every morning and get the job done. This can be very difficult when you're working from the comfort of your home and in your PJs.
Working remotely and on your devices can seem daunting if it's not something you've done before. No need to fear a lack of skills, training, or education, there are jobs of all kinds for all levels of skills and abilities. If you still feel unsure, there are thousands of YouTube videos available, free of charge, and other free resources that can help you along the way. With the world changing so rapidly and the need for a job becoming apparent, we wanted to share some great jobs, opportunities, and tips for working at home. We want to help keep you safe and keep your finances under control.
Even if you don't have a specific degree in teaching, there are opportunities out there for you. Many online programs will accept a bachelor's degree in any subject. Teaching English online to students overseas or who have English as a second language is a great example. There are online and virtual tutoring opportunities as well. You might not be teaching these students directly, but you're helping them develop their skills. There are opportunities for you to create videos on a huge amount of topics for educational purposes. This can help you flex your knowledge and your creative skills in subjects you're already passionate about. If you do have a background in education and administration, you could also find remote jobs to help develop curriculum and help plan and manage the current and upcoming school year. You can teach at all levels from kindergarten to college. It's a fun, unique, and creative opportunity that can be full or part-time.
This field is huge. If you are a creative individual or you are very precise, have strong research skills, and can write an excellent business report, then these jobs are for you. Again, your skill sets and background can vary to get into this filed depending on your specialties. Blog and content writing for social media and websites have boomed during the pandemic and in recent years. You can be a copywriter or editor. You can edit and proofread papers and projects by students and professionals. Sometimes an extra eye is all someone needs. You can work with authors who need help with the stories they're writing. You can even begin blogging, writing articles, or writing books yourself. There are jobs to transcribe radio, video, and voice interviews too. Writing jobs and positions range from being full-time positions to working project to project. In most situations, you can create your schedule. Doing these jobs can be a little tricky, be warned. Make sure they are legitimate positions. If they sound too good to be true, they usually are. Make sure you do your research and you and a real interview and contact person when doing these jobs.
We chose this category because of the massive amounts of opportunities that have arisen in the tech world and jobs driven by the tech world. Data entry is a great entry-level job in this world. If you're very organized and have a wide knowledge of basic software and email, a virtual assistant can also be an excellent opportunity. You can help someone order their groceries, answering emails and phone calls, run their website, and social media pages all from the comfort of your home. For those who are more tech-savvy, companies like ZOOM, Microsoft, and more have positions available to you. Companies are looking for customer and tech/IT support that can also be done from the comfort of your home. The range of opportunities is huge, you just have to go looking!
Stepping into the remote world can be hard if it's your first time. Hunting for a particular job like this can take time. But, be diligent. Trust in your skills and what you can offer. There is something out there for you. Look for free resources online that can help you learn more. Trust in the technology, and it will do the rest. Don't forget, friends! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Retirement funds and how to care for them have been a hot topic during this pandemic. For some, it's been easy to leave them untouched. For others, retirement may no longer be an option. But with the creation of the CARES act, some incredible tools have been introduced that can help you maintain and save your retirement funds.
Hello Summerville! As you read this, we hope you continue to be safe and healthy. It's been nice to come to work every day and see a sense of normalcy in our incredible town. Let's keep it up! It is very clear to everyone that this pandemic has affected our finances in more ways than one. One of the many unsung woes during this time has been retirement plans. The CARES act of 2020, the act that has supplied us with our stimulus checks and other resources, has also been geared towards helping retirement plans stay alive. With the unemployment rate being so low, the difficulties of getting unemployment, and the need of making it through financially has put pressure on retirement plans. Many are making the decision of taking out their funds because it is necessary.
There are now options that can help you get economic relief that won't require you to decimate your retirement plans. Thanks to the CARES act, new changes have been put into place to help support those with retirement and IRA plans who are dealing with the effects of a very flimsy stock market that continues to fluctuate. With these new adjustments under the cares act, retirees are allowed to pull out as much as they would like from their retirement plans, but you don't have to if you don't want to. If you do leave your account alone for the next year or so, it will give you the benefit to recover from this flimsy market. There is a benefit to leaving your benefits alone.
These changes and opportunities are groundbreaking and will help you save your retirement and IRA while still supporting you financially now. Before the CARES act, withdrawing from your IRA and your retirement plan came with some serious repercussions. But now, that has all changed.
Allowing people to tap into their retirement accounts and giving them a few years to pay it all back is huge! These changes are providing financial assistance now from the money that is already yours, while still helping you protect and pay back into your retirement. It will still guarantee that you have retirement funds when the time comes to actually retire. Make sure to chat with us about your next steps when it comes to making these choices, even as great as they are. Make sure to include your financial advisor when making these decisions, too. They will be able to walk you through the best benefits available to you and what is going to be the most cost-effective way if you'll need to pay back these loans. They can also walk you through how to keep your retirement plan intact.
Don't forget, friends! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
With the world as we know it changing every day, we have been trying to stay on top of what's happening to help our clients and ourselves. We want to use this changing knowledge to protect our finances, our employees, to know if are eligible for assistance, and how to help our clients navigate through these strange times. Today we are going to be talking about Employee Retention Credit.
Hello, Summerville! We are so excited to see our beautiful town get back to some sense of normal. Everything about our daily and professional lives continues to change, but we are relieved to see that individuals and businesses continue to move forward. One of our main focuses these past two months has been how the current pandemic is affecting our finances. There has been a lot of help thanks to tax day being pushed back, the stimulus relief fund, and the CARES act. Each has seen its ups and downs for individuals and small businesses, bringing a mixture of relief and frustration.
Most of the financial help that we hear about day to day is that for personal finances, but businesses of all sizes have needed just as much help through these difficult times. Many have been required to operate at 50% capacity due to safety protocol during the pandemic while others have been completely shut down after they were deemed nonessential. With the signing of the stimulus relief package and the CARES act, businesses of all sizes were put into consideration. Small business loans and other forms of relief were immediately put into action, although their first big wave was not received well nor handled well.
Just like you as an individual, businesses have been on top of filing and working towards a way to help their companies survive so their employees have a place to come back to when this is all over. Most employers who were able to apply for any kind of assistance did so in March, but there are still opportunities and things to apply for if your company hasn't already. In this blog, we are going to be talking about one of these forms of assistance that is still available to businesses, and that is employee retention credit.
WHAT IS IT?
You may or may not be familiar with this term or what kind of help it provides. This is a business relief provision that encourages employers to keep employees on the payroll, even if they're not working. It helps provide relief to unemployment offices to limit the number of people applying for unemployment. It was also created to help guarantee that employers will have returning employees once they can open up again. Thanks to the creation of the employee retention credit, the government will reward your company for keeping your employees on your payroll and for deciding to choose this assistance. It is refundable tax credit taken against certain employment taxes that can equal up to fifty percent of an employee's wages that you, as an employer, are still providing. The tax credit is fifty percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee that has continued to be paid by the employer. This means that your company can be awarded a $5000 tax credit per qualifying employee. This was created as a business relief provision. The money your company will be receiving is a refundable payroll tax credit for qualified wages that will be paid or have been paid to your employees between March 13th of this year until December 31st of 2020.
You and your company are eligible if you have been directly affected by COVID-19. If you have been forced to work at half capacity due to safety precautions, or you have been forced to shut down entirely because you are a nonessential business, you are eligible. No matter the size of your company, you are still eligible. Your company is eligible for this tax credit if your gross receipts for this current quarter are less than what they were in the same quarter this time last year. You are NOT eligible for this tax credit if you are a governmental employer, or if you are self-employed or a small business that has taken small business loans or other small business loans created to help with issues caused by the pandemic.
WHAT TO KNOW
Once you have decided to pick this type of relief, you can begin claiming it right away by reducing your payroll taxes sent to the IRS. If it ends up that your tax credits exceed your payroll taxes, you can ask for a refund directly from the IRS. If your company has over 100 employees, the only wages that can be obtained are of those who were full time and are not working right now. If you have under 100 employees, you can claim all of your employee's wages regardless if they are working or not. Wages up to $10,000 can be claimed, and this does include how much your company pays towards health insurance for each employee. Since you can claim 50% of this $10,000, the max credit you can receive is $5,000 per employee. The tax credit will be repaid to you after subtracting your share of your employee's social security taxes, and it will be treated like you overpaid your taxes, and it will be returned to you.
In comparison, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was also created to offer similar benefits to businesses. You can't apply for both or receive benefits from both, you have to pick one or the other. When deciding which is best for you and your employees, always pick the aid that will help you and your employees the most, not one or the other. Since the applications for the PPP were suspended on April 17th of this year, this will now dictate your choice of what is available to you and your company. As the country slowly begins to reopen, pay close attention to how this will affect your business. You may be able to go back to work at full capacity, and you may not. There could potentially be more aid coming, we will just have to wait and see what the coming weeks will bring. If you and your company have been unable to receive any kind of benefits, keep your eyes open for this opportunity.
These have been difficult and confusing times. You aren't wrong in feeling overwhelmed and confused. We where are here to support you, Summerville. You are not alone in your fight. Also don't forget, if you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Even though the curve hasn't flattened as much as we'd like, and we've spent a lot of time focusing on staying safe at the moment, it's time to start thinking about the future. Your company is going to overcome all of this, and we are going to talk about how!
April was gone in a flash wasn't it, Summerville? Time has a very strange and unique way of passing. It's been hard keeping the days in order. Thankfully, working from home or with a small staff in our offices has helped us keep track. Can you believe that tax day came and went with so little attention this year? That's right! Tax day has officially been moved to July 15th! If you haven't paid and filed your taxes yet, that's ok! You still have time to do so. But, we do recommend filing your taxes sooner rather than later. This will help with refunds, getting your stimulus checks, and possibly speeding your small business loan applications up. Do what you can for your small business now to help your company in the coming months.
Although things are still unknown in the current market and our personal lives, it's time to start thinking ahead. We've spent our last few blogs sharing tips and suggestions on how to keep your employees safe, how the pandemic might affect your small business, the realities of your stimulus checks, but now it's time to start preparing for the beyond. It's a heavy truth that life as we've known it could be very different after all of this settles. But, we still want your company and the future of your company to be strong and prosperous. So, let's be hopeful and work towards that, together. As the best tax accountant in Summerville, we hope these tips and suggestions help you as we move forward in this very strange and uncharted time.
All of the financial help and small business loans that have been created and promises may or may not come through for your company. Some companies have received these benefits, while some might never see a cent of help. It's constantly changing, and we aren't sure what these new changes could or couldn't mean. We are following the news just as closely for these updates. Hang in there. This pandemic has affected every industry, and the best way to get through this is to stand strong and to support one another. We are here for you, Summerville. Take these tips to heart, they could help you in the long run.
We understand your concerns and worries. We hope this list inspires you to keep working and to keep your hopes up. We will get through this and will continue to work hard together. Also don't forget, if you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
During one of the worst times in recent history, scams should be the last thing we should be worrying about. But, the truth of the matter is that new scams surrounding the stimulus checks and government bailout programs for small businesses are starting to come to life daily, and are more powerful than ever before.
Almost all of us have been anxiously awaiting the financial relief checks since the approval of the COVID-19 Relief Bill was passed. When will they get here? Who will receive them? How much will you get? On top of all these questions its a sad fact to share that during this terrifying time when we should all be standing together, stronger parties are trying to take advantage of those who have been the most affected by this devastating pandemic. Following in the footsteps of our recent blog about social security scams, we wanted to do a followup blog on the very real reality and the possibility of scams and frauds appearing right now. They could look like the relief checks, the key to getting your check quicker, small business loans, loans to help out larger companies, and even promising the cure for the pandemic all in exchange for your personal information.
Waking up every day to the news right now is difficult. The unknowns are overwhelming and the lines to get toilet paper are still ridiculous. In this time that has brought so many of us together, it is almost impossible to think that yet another attack could be upon us. While many are still working or now working from home, the hauntingly large numbers of those who are now facing unemployment due to the coronavirus are staggering. This is leaving thousands upon thousands of people without a paycheck, unable to provide for their families or even pay their simple bills. Businesses, even if they are still operating on a very small level or have been forced to close or made the conscious decision to close, are also losing money by the day. When the news came that the stimulus package had been approved and relief checks would soon be on their way, a collective sigh of relief was felt among all of us. New small business loans and other relief options for companies are now in place as well. We all will slowly be getting back on our feet, in very small steps one way or another. But, while we wait for these checks, scammers could be and are now rearing their very ugly heads saying that they have your funds and to receive them you must supply them with very personal and private information. Let us stop you right now, and say that is NOT how the stimulus checks will be handled.
You, the American citizen, don't have to do anything or file any kind of paperwork or to receive your stimulus check. The economic impact payment will automatically be deposited into your bank account that was connected to your 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Even if you have received your tax returns in the past as a paper check, the IRS will still deposit the funds into the account they have on file for you automatically. They will also calculate the amount you need based on your income over your 2018 and 2019 tax returns and your personal need. You won't have to do any calculations or send in any kind of paperwork. The IRS will not be contacting you in any way. The IRS did just announce that they will be releasing a brand new website that will allow you to see the status of your stimulus check when it will arrive, and it will also allow you to check the bank account or it is headed to. If there is a problem with the bank account number, you will need to change that right away on the IRS website. The IRS is making updates to their website almost daily, so if you have any questions make sure you visit their website.
We hate that these scams and schemes are very real right now. Since they are, we wanted to make sure that you are on high alert. All of these warnings also apply to small businesses and companies receiving financial support during this time. Please take comfort in the fact that the Department of Justice is forming a legal and integrative response to deal with these frauds. The US Attorney General's office has also developed a special task force along with appointed COVID-19 fraud coordinators to help deal with this situation. Here in the Lowcountry and throughout the state of South Carolina, our District US Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr has also stated that his office and the department of justice are making this type of fraud a priority.
Scary times can become scarier. But, we are here to help all of you through it. Stay alert, stay safe, and stay home. We will get through this Summerville, we know it!
The coronavirus has changed the way we live our lives. It has changed our daily schedules, where and how we work, and has changed the face of education for our children. For parents working from home for the very first time while their children in school are also working from home, the landscape of living and working together has been altered. What does this mean for parents and their children and how can they be the most successful in these times of change?
So much has changed within the last few weeks since our last blog post about how small businesses and corporations need to operate during this time of crisis. It continues to change the work world so much, that we wanted to follow that blog up by discussing just how much COVID-19 is changing and affecting the lives of everyone in the working world down to the youngest of your family. One of the biggest reliefs and changes during this time is the 90-day deferment on taxes for everyone, allowing both individuals and corporations to pay and file their taxes on July 15th instead of April 15th. But, with that relief, comes a bit of a struggle. Many of us are working from home for the very first time and with children our children that are school-aged or younger. Going from the office to our home offices, kitchen tables, or couches has been a huge shift, especially if you're working alongside your son or daughter as they are virtually taking classes and sending in assignments in brand new ways themselves. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about your small business or corporation meeting tax deadlines for a few more months while you're getting adjusted. The biggest adjustment is working from home, being productive, and trying not to drive one another crazy!
As COVID-19 changes the guidelines on how to work, we wanted to break it down to the individuals affected by these huge changes and to share some tips and suggestions on how to successfully make this transition productive both to your company and to your well being. Without the latter, your work and productivity could suffer. So, let's get to work!
Every family, personal work space, and your job at hand is unique and different. Through this unknown time, you'll have to find what works best for you. These suggestions might be the perfect solution to your learning curve, or they might be the complete opposite. Take these as stepping stones, and continue to see what works for you and your family. In the end, whatever works for your family is the right way. There is no right or wrong way, there will just need to be a lot of trial and error until you reach a comfortable level of living. Hopefully, by then, life will be back to normal, or as close to it as possible!
One of the most consistent things we have seen to be successful for working parents and their children is to stay on schedule. The key is to create a schedule for this new way of living and to stick to it. This applies to both parent and child. All of this will depend on how old your child is and what their needs are, but living as consistently to your life before moving home is very important. Begin by waking up at the same time, get ready and dressed for the day, and eat breakfast at the same time. The temptation to sleep in, stay in the same PJs for days and eat whatever whenever is going to be a huge temptation. Don't fall into that trap! We aren't saying you need to get dressed to the nines or dress your children for picture day. The key is to change out of your PJs every morning and into another outfit that makes both you and your kids feel productive and normal as possible. Then, we recommend creating a schedule for your students for the whole day, not just during school hours. This will help them stay adjusted to their normal school day, stay on top of their expectations of getting homework done and studying completed, and allocate their free time. This way their grades don't drop while they are spending all of their time watching TV, playing video games, or on their phones. Keep them on a schedule that will create your workday too, one that allows you to stay close to your schedule too. For our parents with young children, keep them on a schedule as much as possible and one that is as close to what they have been living with. Take advantage of nap time, quiet playtime, and lunchtime as your work hours. You might need to get a little creative, and that's ok!
It will be very important to sit your family down and talk about what's happening in the world and what these changes mean for everyone. The situation will change expectations, free time, and it will also mean spending all of your time together during work and play hours. You will also need to communicate with your boss, employees, and colleagues that they might need to be more flexible because of your new work situation with your children. Express that your children could walk into a work call or video meeting at any time, and you might need to get up and leave to answer an emergency or a baby crying at any time. If anything, mention this often so it is never a surprise and not something that is forgotten by anyone. This is also the time to set boundaries with your kids. This might mean allowing them more TV, video game, and screen time to give you more space and time to get work done. If that is the case, explain to them that this extra free time is a treat and that everything will return to normal once work and school go back to their normal schedule. Set boundaries, especially for your school-aged children, and let them know when they can come into your work space, and when they can only come in when it is an absolute emergency.
During this crazy time, create a system that allows you to work and allows you to still be a family. Take breaks together from work and school to exercise together, take a car ride, or walk the dog together while still practicing social distancing. When work and school are over for the day, make sure they are over for the day. Separate work from play with the whole family, unless you have to finish a job or a project. Keeping regular dinner hours, family game or movie nights, and beyond are very important. Spending time together as a family is very needed. But, allotting yourself adult time is very important as well. It is also important to parent as a team and juggle these new schedule changes and learning curves together. Share the normal household tasks like you never have before. Switch places creating the daily schedule, serving as a teacher for the day, and even switch giving your partner the night off. Allow your partner to not have to worry about household chores or the necessary grocery trip if they're slammed with work, and let them repay the favor to you when you're swamped with work. You can even switch shifts throughout the day, whatever works for you!
This is an unknown time full of uncharted territory. Maintaining a sense of balance, normality, and regularity is the key to staying productive as a business owner and the head of a successful family. It may seem impossible at first, but keep working. You will figure out what works best for you. Remember to stay smart, keep following the WHO guidelines, and to wash your hands!
There are warnings on how to prepare for the coronavirus in your personal life, for your family, in your home. But what about how to prepare for your company and guiding your employees? How will the virus impact your company and what is the best way to deal with it as a business owner? What is the best way to work with your employees to help them through the current state of affairs?
The coronavirus - or COVID-19 - has been no stranger from any news platform, social media platform, or any conversation you have. With cases hitting the United States at a growing rate, it's common for big-box stores like Sams Club and Costco to start selling out of paper towels, toilet paper, water, and canned goods. We have seen the virus starting to shut down universities, grade schools, nursing homes, and local businesses. It is also starting to impact our imports, changing how people are traveling, and all the while there is a rising fear of what this could mean for our country and as us as individuals.
Business owners and companies are going to have to deal with new things and issues they've never had before. Managers, human resources, bosses, and project managers will be dealing with anxiety, panic, fear, worry, and doubt from employees. What then? It's time to create a focus of keeping them calm, pushing business to keep operating as normal, and being an understanding leader. All the while you'll need to keep the possibility of shutting down out of necessity, safety, or practicality in the back of your mind. This could mean the loss of income, production, employees, and employee's wages and benefits. Outside the worry of catching the virus, quality of life-based on monetary needs will start weighing on you and your employees. What's going to happen next and what is the best way to handle it?
Legal, emotional, and practical worries are making their way to the forefront for many managers. The CDC and a handful of other government organizations have released all kinds of material on how to prepare, clean, and deal with daily business operations. Take advantage of these resources, they are there to help and calm you through this unknown period. When it comes to working with your employees and steering your company through this unknown period, there will be many things to consider. Read carefully through this list and see how it can help or continue to help your company.
One of the hardest parts of this situation is to separating fear from fact. If your employee is nervous to travel because someone "might" be sick next to them at some point in their travels, this might be fear put on by the media - not because it is an actuality. Also, please be aware that acting differently towards someone in your company, or anywhere, who you feel might be more likely to pass on the virus because of race or where they come from is a nasty form of discrimination and can be grounds for a lawsuit. Overreaction from anyone because of how someone looks and where they come from, will lead to some very sticky issues and situations. We do suggest that before you do make any of these choices to keep your company running smoothly, that you receive counsel from medical professionals, the CDC or proper law advisers.
Panic and fear can destroy a healthy situation, a strong company, and the employees within it. As a leader of your company, set a good example. Be prepared, but don't be afraid. Stay educated on the topic, follow the CDC procedure, and keep up with the statistics of the situation. The media can quickly take something and blow it out of proportion. In this situation, keep your employees calm, and have a plan for what might be ahead. Respect their wishes, and work together to keep healthy and safe.
If you have any questions, are looking for more guidance, or just need a little bit of comfort follow the links below to learn more.
The Pathways Team