Exceptional times demand exceptional measures. The current restrictions mean that some companies have had to cease their activities completely, while others have done their best to introduce working from home. Business travel is a no-go; face-to-face meetings are virtually impossible. Video conferences are a good solution for most situations, however cannot replace all physical communication. As a result, many meetings are being cancelled or postponed.

Our latest Dictionary of Business Etiquette entry provides options for making the best of things without offending your opposite number:

You should definitely…
… be understanding. Even if, for you personally, meetings are crucial to keeping your business going, your reaction should be friendly and accepting. This will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

… consider alternatives. Could you maybe have an online meeting instead? If not, try to fix a new date even if it can only be provisional because no-one knows how long this situation will continue.

… stay in touch. Solidarity is particularly important in times like these.

… make use of your time. Do as much advance preparation as you can now and provide your customer with updates. This will maintain a dialog and ensure you are ready to go when business resumes.

… stay on the ball, using Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or telephone. Keep in touch with your stakeholders; maintain your presence on all channels.

You should definitely not …
… put people under pressure because you risk losing the customer if you do.

… hold on to all advance payments or deposits you have received. Check the individual contract terms before you make any decisions. Also consider whether refusing to make refunds it is worth the hassle it will involve.

… lose your nerve. Everyone is under immense pressure and feeling the consequences. Don’t take your frustration out on customers, coworkers or employees.

… bury your head in the sand. That’s never a good idea – be sure to remain active.

… simply wait things out. You can always find things to do. For example, now is the perfect time to catch up on tasks that didn’t get finished because you were too busy. Make use of this opportunity. Who knows when it will come around again.

Whatever you do, be sure to comply with official recommendations and regulations. Don’t risk your health or the health of your employees and others.