Franchisees and franchisors share how they are adjusting to the new normal
As more of the UK turns to self-isolation and social distancing, balancing personal and professional lives with home-schooling and other duties, remaining positive through these trying times is paramount.
In this new series, we speak with franchisees and franchisors from across the UK to find out how they are coping with “the new normal”.
24 years ago, Chris Wootton launched his Poppies franchise in West Lancashire. Starting from a home office, he built what is now the largest and most successful franchise in the network. In 2018, Chris took over as franchisor of the cleaning franchise. In the wake of the recent pandemic, Poppies franchisees have witnessed an influx of customer questions as attentions turn to maintaining cleanliness in their own homes. Chris explains how his network is coping with the current pressures.
On balancing work and personal lives
“With both, our franchisees and many clients, forced to work from home, it’s become crucial to maintain a divide between the workplace and your home life. Some might have a dedicated office space set up, which is great. But for others, the new arrangement might mean a temporary desk at the kitchen table. In the second instance, finding and maintaining a distinction between the work and home could prove a challenge.
“To help, stick to as much of a routine as possible. Dress for work and try to avoid distractions. Work in hourly or two-hourly blocks to start with and take regular screen breaks for maximum productivity. Set goals for yourself to achieve each day and during the week. Of course, it’s just as important to know when to switch off. Have things planned in the evenings – or whenever you’re not working to make the most out of your down time.”
On staying positive
“The key here is to focus on what we can control. Business is very different for many business owners right now, and our franchisees are no exception. But this is the perfect time to do a deep-clean – no pun intended – of your business. That back-office admin you keep putting off, the research you need to do, that update to your business plan, turn ‘downtime’ into valuable action. Plan, prepare and get ready to hit the ground running again when things change for the better. Which they will.
“On a personal level, think about what makes you happy and what your passions are. Whether it’s staying active or playing a musical instrument, these activities shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because your situation at work has changed. Looking after our wellbeing by staying connected helps too – get into the habit of calling or video calling loved ones or why not try joining in with organised events like online quiz and games nights. Taking care of yourself this way will have a knock-on effect with your work, and you’ll be more able to concentrate and focus at the job in hand during the day.”
On staying connected with customers
“Whilst we might not be able to physically visit our customers right now, we can still offer much-needed advice, reassurance and company. Poppies is a business built on relationships – with clients and with staff. There is no better opportunity than now to re-kindle or strengthen those. Technology and social media mean that franchisees can share hints and tips, share best practice in video format and communicate regularly and help those who are isolating feel less lonely and vulnerable. Pulling together is how we’ll get through this, not just as a franchise network, but in our own communities too.”