A full year after publishing this article, we’re still living with COVID-19. But with effective vaccines at hand (and shots going into millions of arms each day), there’s reason for optimism. Will life (and business) finally return to something like normal in the second half of 2021? Stay tuned.

March 2020

The streets of my city are eerily quiet. Bars and restaurants are closed. So are schools, theaters, museums and concert halls. Retail stores are struggling or shuttered. And “Working From Home” is the new normal for many of us, whether we wanted to or not.

How can you keep your business going in this time of social distancing and COVID-19?

Keep in touch. Reach out to your clients and key prospects. Ask how they’re managing, and if there’s anything you can do to be of help. And be attentive to how they respond. It’s probably not the best time to pitch new business. But you never know when opportunities will arise, even during a pandemic.

Keep working. You may be working from home for the first time, or you may be an old hand. Either way, set and maintain a business-like routine. Get up, get dressed and get ready for work as you usually would. Decide what your working hours will be and stick to them (with breaks and time for lunch, of course). And advise your clients and colleagues that you’re available and how you can be reached.

Keep (virtually) connecting. Even if you’re now working ten feet from your bedroom, you can still have face-to-face meetings. Use Zoom, GoToMeeting, or another platform of your choice to connect virtually with clients and team members. Tip: When positioning your laptop or webcam for online meetings, consider what people will be seeing behind you.

Keep communicating. When all this ends (and it will end), will you be ready to move forward? Especially if you’re not very busy, this would be a fine time to review your communication strategy and make sure you’re engaging effectively. (I’d be happy to help; just let me know.)

Keep fit. Take time to take care of yourself. Get outside and walk, even if there’s no particular place to go. Ride a bike, or go for a run. As long as you keep your distance from other people, getting fresh air is highly recommended. None of us benefit from sitting in front of a screen all day and then lounging on the couch all evening.

And finally, one more point:

Keep the faith. As we’ve all been learning over the last few weeks, there are no guarantees. In business as in life, we can’t always control what happens. And amid shutdowns, lockdowns and quarantines, lots of people are in no mood for business as usual. Patience and compassion will go a long way. When things do get back to more or less normal (as they inevitably will), the way you interact now will be remembered.