5th June 2020

The crunch of coronavirus change for a fractious family of four

Time to read 4 minutes


Two months into lockdown and I’ve been thinking about how we, as a family of four, have adapted to change. It was not planned, not something we had time to consider. If I compare how meticulously change is implemented in the work environment, I wonder whether we as family met the principles of managing change?


A few months ago, my kitchen table was just a kitchen table. A place where we came to eat food and share stories with family and friends. Fast forward two months, my kitchen table is now littered with schoolbooks, laptops running Zoom calls and coffee cups. This change has been forced upon us. But, did we as a family adhere to the six principles of change?


Principle One: Clarity

The ‘Stay at home’ message was clear. Our school was clear regarding what was expected in relation to our children’s education. Catherine, my boss, was clear in her intentions for what the change meant for us a business. But was I clear in what my daily routine was going to look like? No, I flitted from one thing to another – from teaching decimals to making supper, from unloading the dishwasher to composing emails. I did not have a clear outline for what the lockdown change meant in terms of a family routine. Two months in, we have adjusted. My daughters can load and unload the dishwasher and know how to sort out the dark and light washing. We are clear about what we need and what is expected of us. Principle One ticked off the list ü


Principle Two: Belief

Did we believe that the change in circumstances was a good one? Well, whilst we might not like lockdown, the belief that it would ensure the infection curve would not rise exponentially was our focus. Did we believe, we could both live, work and home-school together? We like a challenge, we relish a challenge, we accepted the challenge. We could do this, but it wouldn’t always be plain sailing. Settling back into the school routine on Monday mornings is always tough – motivating the little ones to attempt some maths before they scamper in the garden or demand a snack. But ultimately, we have settled. We are at ease with the ‘new normal’. We believe that what we are doing in our little bubble is helping support the lockdown principles. Principle Two ticked off the list ü


Principle Three: Desire

Did we desire this change? No, but it was essential to greet this change with enthusiasm. To enjoy time spent together and attempt to squeeze in some creative exploits. Painting a water colour of the bridge across the river in a local hamlet, after a cycle ride there. Sounds idyllic? Well almost. The sandwiches got dropped in the mud; my youngest slipped down the riverbank; and my eldest isn’t too keen on creepy crawlies. If I look back through a tinted lens it was perfect. Closer inspection maybe not. Whilst we haven’t desired this change in circumstances, much like many don’t desire specific changes in working practices, we’ve made the best to get some desirable experiences out of it. Principle Three ticked off the list ü


Principle Four: Fairness

Everyone has endured the lockdown change. Some may have flouted the rules but we didn’t – should we judge those that did? We have to believe that the change is fair and just – our adaptations and sacrifices are for the good of all. In the workplace we ensure that change is managed fairly across the organisation. In our household we’ve all come together to ensure we treat one another fairly – we’ve allowed room for the meltdowns and moans, and we’ve embraced the giggles and laughter. We’ve learned to be more tolerant and fairer. Principle Four ticked off the list ü


Principle Five: Commitment

Were we 100% committed to making these lifestyle changes? Yes, we had to be. We’ve embraced it, but it’s not without reservations. Could we make this work? Could we be teacher and mum, school kid and playmate, DIY Dad and conference call taker?  Could we still get the day-job completed on time? There have been early mornings, late nights, and lots of work in between, but we’ve survived. We’ve learnt we need to be more kind to ourselves, we’ve committed to the change that was necessary.  Principle Five ticked off the list ü


Principle Six: Purpose

We all understood the purpose of the change – we listened, watched and read the government guidelines. However, we also needed to understand our role in our new family dynamic. At work during a period of change, we have a clear sense of purpose and our contributory role is clearly defined. But at home we didn’t have a project plan and a whiteboard with what the daily tasks would look like.  Now after two months we understand where we all fit into our new family dynamic. We have a sense of purpose. Principle Six ticked off the list ü


So yes, we kind of adhered to the principles of change. But, at times it was more by luck than judgement. In the workplace it’s necessary to manage change and communicate it clearly to colleagues. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the family unit can learn to manage its reaction to change. Family members can learn to support one another and take care of one another. We can adhere to the principles of change – we just need to keep a sense of perspective and accept that our kitchen table is overflowing.


Esther McVee

5 June 2020



The six principles of change are examined in the Scott Bradbury WATCH & GO video ‘Change: What Managers Must Do’. E-posters illustrate these principles and the video comes with a handy downloadable learning guide summary with more helpful advice.  To see the video and the guide, along with the full WATCH & GO video library, please call +44 (0)1638 723590 or email video@scottbradbury.co.uk  You are welcome to have a free trial.


The crunch of coronavirus change for a fractious family of four

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