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September 2020

How to Greet Co-workers Post the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Workplace Hygiene, Hygiene and COVID-19

As more and more employees return to the workplace, catching up face to face with colleagues will be something most people will be looking forward to. But it also brings with it a number of possibly confusing situations: how does one greet co-workers while still adhering to post COVID-19 pandemic hygiene practices?

In this post we'll  take a look at some do's and don’ts, and fun ways to still engage with colleagues.



Goodbye handshakes

This one may be pretty obvious, however still hard to do as greeting with a handshake is so common and entrenched in corporate culture that we do it without almost thinking about it. For the first couple of days back in the office we need to actively remind ourselves to avoid it until alternate ways of greeting have become part of our daily habit.

Elbow greeting may not be the best idea

Though it’s been commonly advised that we greet with an elbow bump, I’ve had my reservations with it as most people cough into their elbows and therefore an elbow bump will lead to cross contamination and possibly spreading germs.


Say it, don’t spray it

Greetings don’t need physical contact, we can literally say hello and continue the conversation from there. Though I’d advise you do so while adhering to social distancing practices to avoid cross contamination that stem from airborne particles that naturally spread when one talks. In addition, wear masks whenever you communicate with colleagues at work.

Wave at the person

Well with social distancing in effect waving at the person may be the most effective way of greeting while keeping you both safe. One doesn’t need to be significantly far, waving at a colleague who's right in front of you is totally acceptable, throw in a smile and you’re good to go!

Tip your imaginary hat

A fun alternative to waving would be tipping an imaginary hat as a form of greeting. All it needs is a bit of an imagination and a nice nod in someone’s general direction.

Bow as a greeting

You could take a page out of Asian and classic European culture and incorporate the bow as a greeting into your corporate culture. It’s a good why to greet formally without having any physical contact.

The Wuhan shake

The viral sensation (pun unintended) Wuhan shake hit Social media and has become the go to greeting in many parts of the world. It’s become a fun way of greeting while keeping safe during the pandemic. It involves a simple - somewhat choreographed - toe taps between individuals in lieu of good old handshakes. Give it a go with your colleagues and see: you will also get a kick out of it (pun intended this time)

While these fun tips may help quell the inevitable anxiety that come with  returning to work, remember to ensure that employees minimise contact with with each other, and I would advise that you equip the office with the right safety measures to help keep everyone safe. These include having the right hand hygiene solutions around the office, in addition to bathroom hygiene solutions.

For  more on this, take a look at our blog “What is the New Normal for hygiene in the workplace?” where we unpack various tips and solutions that would help you best prepare for the new work environment.

There are many ways to greet and interact with colleagues while staying safe. Share your fun and creative greeting ideas with us on Facebook and let’s continue the conversation. Subscribe to our blog for more insights. Visit our COVID-19 Services page for more information.

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Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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