To hand-shake, fist-bump or smile: hot to greet your colleagues in the new norm

Has the pandemic killed off the handshake? This go-to gesture used to greet our esteemed colleagues and business partners has been a part of Western culture for well over 2,000 years. But has the pandemic killed it off forever in favour of the fist bump, the elbow bump, and the head nod and smile combo? Now that we’re out and about, meeting our colleagues and contacts back in the office, at meetings and at conferences, just what is the accepted greeting etiquette?


According to a recent article on a decided sense of caution prevailed in February across France, Germany, Italy, the US, Britain and Australia. The majority of people participating in an Ipsos survey on the subject said they planned to greet others – in both work and social settings – with socially distanced gestures. Handshakes, hugs and kisses on the cheek were out of bounds. The modest hand wave, smile, head nod and fist bump were very much the flavour of the day.


But the research also showed that people will, over time, want to return to their old greeting habits, particularly in the UK and Germany. History shows us that this is human nature. Following the 1918–1920 Spanish influenza pandemic which killed tens of millions globally, for example, it wasn’t long before people were exchanging kisses and/or shaking each other’s hands again by way of a greeting.


Has the way you greet your colleagues and business partners changed since the pandemic? Or have you reverted to your usual routine? Please get in touch to let us know. And, if you’d like some help finding your new dream job and nailing the interview, please contact us. With 124 open vacancies currently on our books, strong relationships with over 400 leading organisations worldwide, and more than 30 years’ experience in the field, we will find you the perfect match for your exact requirements.