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Shaking Off the Handshake

Survey shows openness to less-contact greetings.

That firm handshake that your parents always said would show people you’re serious may be going the way of paper resumes and dial-up internet access in the business world. In a post-pandemic workplace, the thought of the ol’ grip and grin with clients and co-workers may be less appealing than it used to for many. According to a survey by YouGovAmerica, less than half of more than 23,000 U.S. adults said they would return to shaking hands after COVID-19. Of those surveyed, 31% were a strong “no” to returning to the handshake tradition and 26% remained uncertain. YouGovAmerica offered respondents a number of handshake alternatives. Here are the top five:



Coming in at No. 1, 62% of respondents were open to the office wave as a way of greeting. This no-contact option maintains respect for social boundaries while offering a personal greeting that allows you to show enthusiasm — or signal to your waitstaff that you’re ready for the check. Either/or.



A bit less personable than the wave, an affirmative nod still offers a sign of acknowledgement to the nodee, even if it can seem a bit dismissive. Still, 55% of YouGovAmerica respondents were open to the workplace nod. It kind of has a cool and detached “Mad Men”-esque vibe. S’up, my colleague?



In the pre-pandemic setting, going in for the elbow bump would likely have drawn some quizzical expressions if not complete bewilderment; however, the elbow-first approach has become fairly commonplace as a less-contact greeting — with 25% of those surveyed down with the Bow of El.



It may seem overly formal as well as old fashioned, but bowing had a surprising showing among the survey-takers. In all, 13% said bring on the bow as an option to the more familiar howdy do’s. Honestly, the idea could be kind of fun. You didn’t watch all those seasons of “Downton Abbey” for nothing.



What the … ? It may seem like it would be more at home as the secret greeting down at the lodge of the Loyal Order of the Water Buffaloes, but footshaking — raising your foot and tapping it against someone else’s raised foot — got 7% of the vote. No doubt from a small group of people with impeccable balance.


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