Changing business etiquette in the time of Coronavirus

By By Konkana Bakshi, Founder, Savoir Faire Academie and former Miss Elegance World

Published: Thu 19 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 27 Mar 2020, 12:59 PM

More and more clients are asking the same question: How do you decline a handshake, especially in the business or formal setting when you don't want to fall sick? COVID-19 has become a major concern around the world.
What can you do without coming across as being impolite?
Comply with rules: As a rule of thumb, I believe considering the current situation, one should be mindful of not offering a handshake, a hug or even a social kiss. Show your social responsibility in how you comply with the new hygiene rules. A sincere smile with a nod is a warm greeting. The sincerity in your facial expressions while offering a greeting is essential here.
Improvise: You can either choose the route of Prince Charles, who opted for a namaste during his official visit, or politely decline a handshake altogether. Safety is always more important than etiquette. Being safe is your responsibility and shows support to the public health system. You can clasp your hands in front of your chest, or put your hand over your chest with a sincere smile without physical touch.
Be socially responsible: There were several humorous posts and memes about the virus until a few days ago on social media. It's our responsibility to spread awareness in a way that's reassuring and sincere. There is nothing funny about the safety of public health.
Be mindful of your posts, as they influence people around you. We need to set an example for the younger generation about social responsibility.
Walk the talk: You set the rules around you with your actions, not always with your words. When you practise impeccable hygiene manners yourself, people around you follow. Good manners are generally contagious. Unless you demonstrate practising hygiene yourself, preaching would have little value.
Remain calm: There is much panic in the world concerning the virus. Everyone knows about it, reads about it and talks about it. You are always following the WHO update always. Refrain from making any generic statements unless you have something positive to say or share. A good way to offer some serenity would be to offer hopeful and optimistic information about the concern.
Train your staff at home and work: It's important that we educate them to maintain hygiene. Keep masks, sanitisers and tissues everywhere, so they are reminded of maintaining hygiene at all times. Walk the talk for them.
Be mindful: Pay heed to the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because the outbreak is playing out differently around the world, be aware of what local health officials are recommending.
Stay safe and stay calm. Until next week #beextraordinary

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