Adapting business practices & working completely flexibly during lockdown. What Mumbler has been up to….

It is no exaggeration to say that Coronavirus has changed everything. 2020 has certainly not panned out the way that we had planned at Mumbler HQ!

All of us that work at Mumbler are parents, so we have had to adapt to new working patterns and ways to manage our work around looking after & homeschooling our children (at the last count we had 37 “mini-mumblers” in the business, all under 11 years old with 1 more on the way!)

All Mumbler franchises have been affected one way or another, not only with the lack of time to work, but also with lost revenue (many of our revenue streams come from local attractions as well as classes & groups. Most of which shut their doors indefinitely in March) It has been a tough time for all businesses, and Mumbler is no different.

Fortunately, as a company we are extremely resilient & very good at spotting new opportunities. The flexible working patterns & working from home is nothing new to us, and we were able to adapt. It was apparent from the beginning that Mumbler had a vital role to play: to help keeping local communities connected, to communicate much needed information to parents  & to help keep spirits up, during these difficult times.

So what have we done? 

First & foremost, as we are all parents, we have put our own families needs first. We have been able to “down-tools” whenever we have needed to & spent time caring for our own children. As a business, it is the flexibility of Mumbler with is one of the best things. There is no need to phone in sick, or let managers down by having to cancel business meetings. We are all in the same boat, we all “get” it. Family comes first, no matter what.

Secondly, we have adapted our businesses. Our usual annual content planning revolves around school holidays & term-time classes. This all came to an immediate halt at the end of March 2020 and so we switched focus onto what families needed to know right now. On all sites we create “Coping with Coronavirus” pages which were jam packed with resources & information to help families with young children adapt & stay busy. This included things like:

💜 Practical Advice for Parents 💜 Key worker “thank you” colouring sheets💜 School closures from Headteacher perspective 💜Daily schedule suggestion for home-schooling💜Holiday on lockdown ideas💜Local Libraries- what resources are still available💜Virtual Day trips to world leading attractions💜101 Things to do with kids indoors 💜Keeping Toddlers busy at Home💜Pregnancy during corona crisis- a personal blog💜Life Unprecedented- Working Mums personal blog💜Looking After Children’s Mental Health💜Ideas for baking with kids💜 Free on-line educational resources💜Our favourite kids subscriptions💜Brilliant Garden-based activities💜Family Meals from Tins & frozen ingredients.

As lockdown progressed and food & delivery services became more widespread (and so very needed!) we made sure that we kept up with that was opening locally so that parents could have a night off from cooking: Now Open in York as well as free outdoor activities where local families could exercise safely: Family Walks in North Leeds

We had Mumbler Awards planned for Hull Mumbler in March 2020, which was unable to happen (in real life) Not one to be defeated, Rachael, our Hull & East Riding Mumbler hosted the Awards Ceremony on-line in May 2020. You can read about all the winners here

Ryedale Mumbler & Scarborough & Whitby Mumbler held an on-line Awards as well in June 2020, and in doing so, has raised over £8,500 for their nominated charity, Macmillan.

Two Mumbler, Harrogate & York decided that rather than holding a traditional Mumbler Awards ceremony this year, they would instead host an on-line “Mumbler Love Local” Awards. These are not about winning, but rather spreading public messages of thanks & support to those who have helped make life easier through the lockdown period. The nominations close on 30th June and all the nominations and the lovely comments will be announced in a series of celebration blogs to be published throughout July.

You can read more about the Love Local Awards in this great article by Yorkshire Times here.

In Doncaster, the second annual Doncaster Mumbler Awards are going on-line. Doncaster Mumbler owner Caroline explains more “
None of us were prepared for the Coronavirus pandemic and the challenges that it presented to all businesses…activity providers, ante-natal and post-natal support, classes and groups have all moved online,  family attractions became virtual, we have all explored our local areas as families, we’ve bought online and local retailers and restaurants delivered to our homes. Teachers have adapted and changed how they deliver lessons to students at home and those parents with businesses have juggled them around home schooling. We’ve all had to adapt and in light of the current covid-19 measures and uncertainties we have made the difficult decision to move the Doncaster Mumbler Awards online this year. I hope everyone will show support to the companies and individuals that they love and nominate them for an award!” Find out more about the Doncaster Mumbler Awards here. 

As local attractions & classes slowly begin to open, we continue to adapt our businesses & provide the information that local parents need to know. Our working hours & patterns may have changed, but the requirement to keep young children entertained never will!

Flexibility has always been key for Mumbler, but now so more than ever. Our franchisees have been incredibly supportive of one-another during lockdown. They have shared ideas & resource, as well as being a friendly ear to each-other; no one knows just how difficult it can be to be a working parent, unless you’ve experienced it yourself!  We are looking forward to things settling down a bit more, and our children being able to (safely!) get back to school; whenever that may be. In the mean time, we will continue to do everything to keep our local communities of parents connected.

If you’d like to find out more about launching a Mumbler franchise in your area then drop us a line here. We’d love to hear from you.


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