How business etiquette has changed in the world of Covid-19

 Covid-19, office, coronvirus

A firm handshake is no more a rule of interpersonal skills - at least, it's on hold for a while because of social distancing guidelines.

By Konkana Bakshi

Published: Thu 30 Jul 2020, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Aug 2020, 11:50 AM

Etiquette is always evolving - it's never etched in stone. What's intransigent is the way you build a relationship through sincerity and the continuous evolving etiquette in the business world.
A firm handshake is no more a rule of interpersonal skills - at least, it's on hold for a while because of social distancing guidelines intended to keep people safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nobody is likely to be shaking hands at a time when staying six feet apart is the norm. Elbow bumps and such are a tad too immature for business greetings and are not appropriate in formal settings.
The new style
One can either go the traditional route and follow the Indian greeting of Namaskar - clasping your hands together and putting them over your heart as you approach someone - which has become acceptable worldwide as a greeting. I would recommend offering a sincere greeting using warm facial expressions with a smile, eye contact, a nod and placing your right palm on your chest. The whole idea of interpersonal skills is to build a better relationship through a greeting, which produces a hormone called oxytocin. Previously, we could break the ice with a handshake, but now we will just have to enhance our facial expressions as the former is not an option anymore.
Declining RSVPs
The rules around declining RSVP have become a bit more flexible. In the time of coronavirus, you can change your RSVP to decline if you cannot attend.
However, when it comes to saying no to business/social invitations, like colleagues asking you to join them six feet apart in their networking events, I recommend you master a script to politely decline. Just say something like: "I'm so thrilled to receive your invitation but I'm just not ready to socialise yet."
Masks in business
My friend and colleague Ms Jessica Leiffring said this recently in an interview and I second her wholeheartedly. You can absolutely ask your colleagues or business associates politely to put their masks on. It's one's responsibility to be mindful of safety - not only for themselves but for others around them too. And safety is always more important than etiquette.
Till next week, #beextraordinary.
Konkana Bakshi, Founder, Savoir Faire Academie and former Miss Elegance World

More news from WKND
Telling stories that 'stick'


Telling stories that 'stick'

Everyone knows that oral and written traditions of storytelling are the most effective ways to pass on values. The modern marketplace is no different

WKND1 year ago