© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2020.
From holding in that uncomfortable cough to avoiding hugs and handshakes, uncertain times lead to a range of uncertain behaviors. From a generational divide over social distancing to hoarding diapers and toilet paper, the world is upside down, and old rules of etiquette are in question.
It’s important to behave during a pandemic – remaining six feet apart, buying only what we need, thinking of others, calling home, staying put, banning outdoor shoes in the house, washing hands, washing hands, washing hands – and for goodness sake, not touching our faces or picking our noses.
Rules for shopping at the grocery store include buying only what we need without hoarding, refraining from touching products and that we have no intention of purchasing, and socially distancing in the aisles and at checkout lines.
And there’s the question of whether wearing gloves is good for your own protection but possibly bad for everyone else.
Some of us are lucky enough to be working from home. Does job insecurity bring out a competitive streak among coworkers? How do we prove our worth to bosses who can’t see us working? Do Zoom or Office Teams show who works the hardest and who is the smartest, or just showcase who is the most vocal? Can we set boundaries between work and home life while simultaneously home-schooling our children?
While a pandemic renders the handshake obsolete, washing our hands before dinner and not touching our faces during meals were rules that were included in Emily Post’s first book in 1922.
The cornerstone of etiquette also remains the same. It’s integrity. Speaking your truth with kindness and respect will never go out of style.
Stay safe and kind,
Ms. Not-So-Corporate Manners