How to Remain Hopeful During COVID-19 (and Why it Matters in Business)

July 2, 2020


It’s no secret that this is a difficult time for everyone — but it’s important to remember that staying hopeful matters, especially for recovery and setting yourself up for future success. 


Maintaining a positive state of mind in this new reality is key to nurturing both your team and company culture. In fact, researchers have found that the more hope someone has, the more likely they are to succeed, particularly in times of change.


Learn how to foster hope, optimism and flexibility in your workplace culture. In this guide, we’ll cover:


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Acknowledging the present

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way companies operate. But taking a mindful approach to navigating these challenges can help you manage stress that can stem from the uncertainty and change. 


Being mindful involves focusing on the present moment, and being aware of your feelings. On the contrary, pretending like nothing has changed can make you and your employees feel scattered, overwhelmed or stressed. 


“We need to acknowledge that the situation has changed, and […] that we don’t really know how it’s going to turn out,” says Alexandre Bommelaer, Managing Director at Area 17. “So we need to actually, really face it, and face it with optimism and positivity.”



Here are some other ways to promote mindfulness and acknowledge the present:


  • Offer frequent reassurance. Let your team know that while you don’t have all the answers, you’re ready and willing to support them through difficult times. This type of regular communication can help validate any feelings of anxiety, and boost morale. 
  • Connect with one another. One employer notes that their department “has sanity conference calls on Friday, which is a time to unwind and be together, usually participating in a fun virtual activity.”
  • Practice compassionate leadership. Now is a good time to prioritize your own health, and the health of your team. Consider flexible scheduling, relaxing work expectations and promoting rest. Or, try starting a meeting by asking everyone to describe how they’re feeling in one word — and be sure to participate in this activity yourself to encourage vulnerability.
  • Gather helpful resources. Help your team (and yourself) find better ways to cope with the current state of the world by offering reliable information, tools and resources. Consider sending out a weekly newsletter with mental health insights, hosting meditation sessions or providing reimbursements for wellness mobile apps.

Building a support system

It’s important to create a solid support system where you and your team can lift each other up, especially during uncertain times. 


“I think a lot of our brains are in a ‘fight or flight’ mode, and with that comes more stress,” says Becky Woodford, Marketing Operations Manager of Leash & Paws. “So really just trying to build upon that and counteract it by really supporting each other.”


How might a team support each other? One employer says: “Our company has been conducting wellness calls to our employees to determine how they are handling the current events. We also have been sharing details about positivity and ways to keep your head up in difficult times. In addition, we are making sure that we share all of the ways that we are keeping employees safe, with continuous communication in emails and notices.”


Other ways to maintain a positive state of mind for you and your team include:


  • Communicate regularly with employees. Open communication is key to building trust with your employees, so be transparent about changes that affect the company or their role. Encourage them to ask questions, and make sure they know where to find your company’s latest COVID-19 updates.                                                     
  • Celebrate often. Look for opportunities to support your team by celebrating wins — big and small. One employer shares: “We are there for each other no matter what, and we will throw a potluck at the drop of a hat. I sing to the employees over the intercom on their birthdays, I instituted clinic karaoke on random days, […] we have random themed dress up days. If employees feel like they are valued, heard and cared for, they will go the extra mile for you.”
  • Seek community support. Research how your local community is responding to COVID-19. Many communities are supporting local businesses and their employees through GoFundMe initiatives. It may also be worth checking out what resources are available from your local chamber of commerce, or joining a Meetup group of like-minded employers to share ideas and insights.


Daring to change

Routines certainly have a time and place — but there are also times when breaking away from your comfort zone may be the right answer for your business. “Never ever get stuck in what you think your business is,” says Lex Hamilton, owner of Lex Hamilton Floral Studio. “I think we get stuck in a routine, rolling every day, like we’ve run our businesses in the same way.”


Many businesses have shifted their strategy to meet new demands. For example, Roaming Hunger, a food truck booking service, was forced to rethink their business operations to stay open (and safe) once COVID-19 hit. “We really started to think about people in their homes who maybe don’t have access to freshly prepared hot food. And we started working on bringing food trucks to apartment buildings and community centers.”


Moving to a remote workforce has been a reality for many businesses — but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. If you’re combating a productivity dip, for example, try making a bold change by restructuring the workday, using a strategy like time blocking to keep team meetings effective and engaging.


Looking to the future

Keeping your business afloat during COVID-19 can be a challenge, and at some point or another, you’re bound to feel discouraged. Not only that, but your big ideas might seem to fade into the distance as you turn your focus to supporting your employees, or reallocating funds to other areas of your business.


Read more: How to Navigate Business Uncertainty During Covid-19


Try keeping your sights set on future possibilities to keep your business moving forward: 


  • Encourage employees to share good ideas
  • Document those ideas for easy reference in the future
  • Brainstorm creative ways to move forward with the most impactful ideas
  • Implement ideas for a finite period of time (e.g., one week, one month, one quarter)
  • Test and tweaking ideas to find what works best for your company


“We will get through this and the sun will be rising as long as you […] keep looking forward,” encourages Robert Koenen, CMO of Boxed WaterTM. “Don’t compromise your brand, don’t compromise your business. If you had a good idea before COVID-19, that will still be a good idea after COVID-19.”


Even as you reopen your doors, there may still be days and weeks that test you as you continue to navigate business uncertainty during the pandemic. But using strategies to help you and and your employees stay optimistic, positive and hopeful can be incredibly impactful when it comes to setting up your business for future success.


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