Making an introduction, landing a client, securing the job, finalizing a deal, and endless other business interactions are all bound together by one common gesture—the handshake. So simple, yet so powerful, the handshake has been symbolic of professionalism, respect, and camaraderie for millennia. It is one’s handshake that could make or break their reputation, but in the wake of a pandemic where people are required to remain at least six feet apart, will business professionals be so willing to extend a hand?
What does COVID-19 mean for business interactions of the future? Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American physician and immunologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggests that while the handshake is unlikely to completely die out, the age-old tradition will not make a speedy return once businesses reopen. There certainly exists a new normal that professionals will have to adapt to, and the meaning behind the handshake will have to shift.
“We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom because, as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness.” – Dr. Anthony Fauci,
Many doctors have petitioned for a new social-standard when it comes to professional greetings for years. Humans carry about 3,200 bacteria from 150 different species on their hands, that are easily transferred via a firm handshake. A fist bump, strong eye contact, or a slight bow are all much more hygienic practices that society may see creep into the business world’s social standard.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the world reacts to a new normal that exists post-pandemic. While it may not be immediate, professionals can expect a changing landscape that will challenge the status quo of business interaction. Perhaps a high-five will develop an elite status and rise to prominence among professionals and dignitaries across the globe—we’ll have to wait and see.
Read more in CTV’s in-depth article: New Normal: Will COVID-19 mark the death of the handshake?