A day in the life of a Stagecoach franchisee (during lockdown)

Mum-of-three Kate Parkinson runs a children's performing arts school with her husband, Dave, in Chorley, Preston and Oldham.

A day in the life of a Stagecoach franchisee (during lockdown)

Mum-of-three Kate Parkinson runs a children’s performing arts school with her husband, Dave, in Chorley, Preston and Oldham. As the news of the outbreak increased, Kate – with help from the support team at Stagecoach Performing Arts – had put in place an action plan that she could initialise if the country went into lockdown and, therefore, classes were cancelled. She shares a number of virtual resources with her students, via social media or email, including exercises and challenges they can do at home and then share with their online community, using #stagecoachathome

Here’s how Kate spent Tuesday 14th April.

8am – When my schools are running as normal, I’m usually up and out of bed before 7am, but this new normal means I can have a bit of a lie in. So today I get up at about 8, do a workout, and then tackle the not-so-simple job of getting my kids out of bed!

9am – We always aim to be in our home office for 9am. Dave responds to emails whilst I handle the accounts. We’ve always managed the operations side of our business from home, so at least that feels normal and familiar to us already.

10am – I spend some time scheduling the virtual content that I want to go out to our students via social media. This is a really overwhelming time for children so, in an effort to provide them with as much stability and routine as possible, I schedule our training videos to go live at the same time as their normal lesson would start. And for the little ones – we teach children from the ages of 4-18 – we email the videos out to their parents, as we feel social media sharing is more appropriate for our older students.

11am – We walk the dog before returning home to prepare an early lunch.

12pm – We have lunch with the girls. I’m sure we’re not the only family who are finding that lunchtime is getting earlier and earlier!

2pm – I attend a Google Hangout with the Stagecoach support team. My business is a franchise and I can’t tell you how reassuring it’s been to have the guidance of my franchisor to rely on during such an uncertain time. They check in regularly but it’s usually on these calls that we spend time talking through the content we’re sharing with our students or I might ask them for more advice. I also use this time to check in with other franchisees around the country.

3pm – The luxury of running your own business, especially during lockdown, is that you can customise your schedule to suit your family. Every afternoon, we decide what we want for dinner as a family and then Dave and I take time out of our day to prepare it together. This is a new thing for us but something I hope we can take back into our normal routine once the lockdown ends.  

4pm – I have a trampoline competition with the girls. Why not? They also take this time to show me any new dance routines they’ve choreographed, how their music practice has been going and any new songs they’ve learnt. I’m a massive musical theatre lover and the apples haven’t fallen too far from the tree!

6pm – Dinner time. When you consider how much time we spent lovingly preparing the meal, it doesn’t take nearly as long for us all to devour it.

7pm – There’s been one consistent rule for the family during lockdown – they have to sit and watch Richard Osman’s ‘House of Games’ with us every night!

8pm – We get the girls off to bed for some reading, whilst we catch up on Game of Thrones – I know, we’re a little late to the party but what a great time for a series binge! We started watching it initially a couple of years ago but were always too busy to finish it. This lockdown has really taught me that it’s ok to stop and enjoy some time out with my family. I’m fortunate that I’ve always been able to work my hours around what suits the girls, but I must say that I’m enjoying the excuse to have in-home spa nights and catch up on my favourite TV shows.

9pm – I go to bed and put my phone away. It’s so tempting to spend all of my time on social media, especially because I use it a lot for business reasons. My new rule is to leave my phone somewhere else in house when I go off to bed. It’ll still be there in the morning. 

Kate Parkinson
Kate Parkinson