New Business Etiquette Code in a Covid-19 World
Coronavirus has changed our ways of greeting and meeting. A handshake, a kiss on
the cheek, a hug, the clink of glasses at a dinner toast or blowing out candles over a
birthday cake are simple gestures that are on hold indefinitely. With the "new
normality" and people going back to work they wonder how the new business
etiquette code will look like in the office, at meetings and at corporate conferences.
How can you greet someone without looking rude?
Good manners should not disappear. Today we look at new and safer ways of showing
respect and affection for others. Etiquette is always evolving, it´s flexible to the
circumstances, however, respect for oneself and for others should never change. As
long as showing respect means keeping our distance and avoiding big gatherings,
safety is always going to be more important than etiquette.
Without no doubt, swapping out handshakes for head nods it´s going to be the big
change when greeting in the Covid era (a greeting which it´s already a tradition in
Japan). A sincere smile with a head nod is a warm and respectful way of greeting. Eye
contact is now essential when it comes to greeting.
The best business greeting in times of a pandemic is namasté, that is, a slight bow and
hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to
the chest. Namasté is the traditional greeting in India and conveys the same welcome
message as a handshake. Therefore, we can be polite and respectful without having
Coronavirus has also changed the way we communicate. Today we rely more than ever
on technology, both at work and in personal life. Making video calls on platforms such
as Skype, Facetime or Zoom is part of our day-to-day life. With no face-to-face
interaction, we need to improve our listening, attention and response skills, without
leaving aside our image and personal grooming. Respecting times, being patient,
taking notes, speaking slowly and clearly are business etiquette gestures. Nobody likes
to waste time talking and not be heard. Listening attentively and respectfully is a
hallmark of the business culture. The image is also important when making a working
video call we must dress professionally, even if we are at home, and always
maintaining our impeccable personal grooming.
INVITATIONS AND RSVPs.
Social etiquette rules dictate that once attendance at an event is confirmed, we must
attend. However, coronavirus has also relaxed the rules for rejecting invitations. Many
events, weddings, meetings and other social gatherings have been cancelled, and more
cancellations are expected to come in the coming months. In the case of events like
weddings, be sure to send a gift anyway and write a personal note expressing how
much you regret having to decline. When it comes to saying no to casual invitations,
you can reply as follows "thank you for the invitation, but I'm not just ready yet". We
must never stop replying to an invitation.
Definitely they´ve been the principal actors during the lockdown. The use of the mask in
public may become a social and style norm, as people start looking to wear masks that
match with their clothing and accessories. This is not the first time public health has
determined fashion norms. In 1920s women wore gloves as a way of avoiding germs at
time where serious diseases like typhoid fever were of concern.
Interacting with others with half of our face covered means losing some of the non-
verbal ways we rely on to express ourselves, like smiling. That´s where gestures such
as a thumbs up or a mock salute, come in.
Let us project in the future, a future after this pandemic, a future full of trips, kisses
and hugs. Project yourself in the future and let yourself dream.