Liberty County COVID-19 Business Etiquette
In the age of social distancing, many businesses have adopted new methods for greeting customers, networking and conducting regular transactions. Video interviews, working from home and virtual meetings are just a few examples of how local business leaders are keeping in touch while keeping their distance. Use the tips below to stay professional while you’re staying apart.
Tip #1: Make it a habit to keep your hands by your sides.
Many business settings have put a nix on handshakes, and some are even doing away with fist bumps. However, for many of us, this type of greeting has become second-nature, and we often extend our hands out of habit.
Therefore, best practice is to keep your hands by your sides (or in your pockets!) at all times to decrease the chances of an accidental touch. This also ensures that no one feels pressured to return a gesture they may be uncomfortable with.
Tip #2: Adopt touchless ways to signal the beginning & end of face-to-face conversation
- The “eyebrow flash” = raise your eyebrows and tilt your head back
- The salute = bring one hand to the top of your forehead
- The namaste (popular with yogis worldwide) = place hands in the prayer position and bow slightly
Avoid: The Elbow Bump: What was once a go-to, has now been deemed a no-no! Since people have been advised to cough or sneeze into their elbows, this greeting may not be as sanitary as it seems.
Tip #3: Make sure your face coverings don’t mask your meaning.
Wearing cloth face coverings helps prevent the spread of COVID-19, but masks can also make clear communication more challenging.
Focus on your projection and enunciation to ensure you are understood through your face covering. You can also incorporate other body cues–such as nodding and hand gestures–to help you convey your message.
You might also take some advice from Tyra Banks and practice your smize! (smile with your eyes)
Avoid: Entering Someone’s Personal Bubble: Health professionals recommend leaving six feet between yourself and others. COVID-19 can be spread through contact with contaminated hands, but it also travels through small droplets that leave the body when you’re coughing, sneezing, laughing, talking or breathing heavily.
Tip #4: Keep virtual meetings professional
Whether it’s Zoom, WebEx, or Hangouts, chances are your business has adopted some method of video communication to keep everyone connected. Whether you’re attending from your home office (or the comfort of your bedroom), here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If hosting, manage your participants by requiring a specific link or password to join or by locking your meeting
- If attending, mute your microphone and position your camera properly
- Check your internet connection and technology requirements before the meeting begins
- Find a quiet place to sit and try to limit any distractions or interruptions (TV, kids, pets, etc.)
- Show up (aka log in) on time and with all necessary materials
- Dress professionally (at least from the waist up!) to keep the formality of the meeting
- Be patient while waiting for your turn and be respectful when interjecting
Avoid: Multitasking During a Virtual Meeting: As tempting as it is to work on other projects or help with homeschooling during a meeting from home, you’ll be more likely to miss important information.
Like always, workplace etiquette is based on respect for others, so use your best judgement to make your decisions. Although many things still remain uncertain, one thing is clear: it takes small efforts from each of us to keep ourselves and others safe and productive during these unusual times.