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Has the Humble Handshake Had its Day?

Has the Humble Handshake Had its Day?

From deskless working to robot receptionists, weΓÇÖve covered a fair few developments which might revolutionise the office. But hereΓÇÖs a new one: is it time we wave farewell to the handshake and adopt the fist bump instead? Scientists say yes.

Unhygienic Handshake at Work


ΓÇ£The science bitΓÇ¥

According to a recent study by scientists at Aberystwyth University, handshakes are the most unhygienic greeting out there. By contrast, a fist bump, which provides minimal contact, reduces the transfer of germs by 90%. A firm, business-like grip is worst of all, providing maximum opportunity for the transmission of germs.

6 alternatives to the humble handshake

So what to do if you still want to look professional in meetings? A number of greeting methods have emerged as more hygienic alternatives to the handshake. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Fist bump: the preferred greeting of the Aberystwyth scientists; itΓÇÖs fun, youthful and most importantly, transfers the least germs of all the hand-to-hand greetings they tested.
  • High five: This retro classic is a useful alternative for those who feel the fist bump is a little too edgy. ItΓÇÖs also the second choice of the Aberystwyth scientists who found that it transmits fewer germs than a handshake, although significantly more than a fist bump.
  • Limp shake: Technically, itΓÇÖs still a handshake, but it is a more hygienic alternative to a firm, business-like grip. Perhaps more importantly, the lack of enthusiasm it conveys to the recipient should deter any repeat attempts to shake at the close of the meeting.
  • Curtsey or bow: This no-contact greeting was suggested ΓÇô we think tongue firmly in cheek ΓÇô by Public Health England. It has got a certain old-fashioned charm; speaking of whichΓǪ
  • Raising your hat: Maybe itΓÇÖs time to bring headwear back into the office so that we can all tip our hats to one another to start a meeting. There is something appealing about an office full of people attired Mr Benn-like in bowler hats. Or is that just us?
  • Wear a badge, like this guy: HeΓÇÖs behind the Stop Handshaking campaign in the US. The campaign sells lapel badges to help you declare yourself a no-handshaking zone. Although you will need to get close enough to allow other people to read it.

Will you eschew the shake?

At its heart, the handshake vs. fist bump debate is a question of etiquette vs. hygiene. Which one will win out? Would you rather conform or stay flu-free? In times of epidemic, the latter is particularly important.

Of course, other changes to the office such as remote working and video conferencing are already helping to minimise the need for face-to-face contact, reducing the number of awkward ΓÇ£handshake or fist bump?ΓÇ¥ moments we all find ourselves in.

Meanwhile the general cultural shift towards a less formal workplace might make it more acceptable to ditch the handshake in favour of an ironic fist bump or cheeky high five. We reckon there must be a few tech startups out there doing this already.

What do you think? Would you be happy to wave goodbye to the handshake? How would you replace it?

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Author: | July 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

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