The New Office Etiquette for the New Normal
Things are slowly getting back to normal after nearly 2 years of disruption that this uninvited guest called Covid-19 brought into the world. Markets are opening up, Metros are welcoming urban nomads, villages and towns may soon do the deserted look as the youth catch the first train to their workplace and wear the armour once again.
While Work From Home is unlikely to become a thing of the past soon, we may expect offices filled with a significant number of employees once again. We can soon see corporate employees queueing up for the Metro to reach their respective workplaces and meet their co-workers after an unexpectedly long gap.
But is everything really back to normal? Will it ever be like the pre-Covid era again? These are the questions that hold even more significance for the corporate world that we all are a part of.
While we have almost grown accustomed to working from home, returning to the office might be a big change for many. But saying goodbye to your home desk and getting back to the office cubicle are not the only change you need to brace for.
It’s going to be a whole new world and you need to adjust to the office etiquette you were following in the pre-Covid era to be a true gentleman in the office.
Ditching The Handshake
Covid has changed a lot of things in our lives, including the way we greet our colleagues. We saw world leaders using Namaste or Elbow Bump instead of the traditional handshake to greet each other. The elbow bump is likely to stay here for a few months at least. So no matter how close you are with your office friends, the new office norms are likely to keep you and your best friends in the office at a distance of 2 meters. We might have to wait for another 6 months before the handshakes and hugs become normal.
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The Morning Ritual
For those seeking a cup of coffee or tea right after reaching the office, returning to office is going to be a little unpleasant. You’ll be greeted by sanitizer bottles at every desk in the office and it’s better you ensure your hands are not carrying germs before you take a sip of your favourite beverage. You wouldn’t want to be the person who brings Covid inside the officer. Ensure that you have sanitised your hands after you come out of the metro, cab, or your office lift. Try to steer clear of the railings and other places that may have the infectious virus.
At The Office Canteen, Show Courtesy and Patience
This time when you go to the office, you can’t flock next to the water cooler or the coffee machine to gossip with your buddies. You might have to wait for your turn to get your dose of caffeine and return to the desk patiently. With such a dangerous virus roaming freely, the offices can’t afford to have crowded canteens and eating areas. Be it taking the coffee or your order from the canteen, be patient and wait for your turn. Also, there’s no harm in being courteous… specially in the kitchen. It will only make you the genuine gentleman and your colleagues would certainly appreciate such behaviour.
We have also survived through a very depressing phase under emergency-like conditions for several months. Many people want to return to the office so they can finally meet more people and come out of the cocoon and listen to more thoughts and views. You need to adapt to the change and once again embrace the opportunity to work with people around you, unlike at home.
A cheerful office is a productive office, and every employee contributes to it. Try to be funny and make others laugh with your humour. This will not only help in strengthening the bond but also make the workplace fun. We have also grown habitual of working with headphones on while working from home. You’ll need to let go of some of these habits to adapt to the change as things return to normal.
Specially during Fridays, you need to keep the energy as many employees would like to utilise the work from home option to turn normal weekends into a long weekend. Offices working with half strength need to be full of energy so that the workers don’t get bored or over exhausted.
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With lesser employees at the office, you become everyone’s favourite colleague and build a strong bond with your team members. The better the bond, the better the team. You need to make your presence felt. The only way you can add more value to your role is being cheerful and not just productive. You might have known your colleagues for a long time, but you have not met them for over a year.
Such a long period is enough to change people and some of your colleagues might have changed drastically due to what has happened in the past one year. Therefore, you need to be compassionate and patient in order to come up as a true gentleman and not just a corporate employee.