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Help! I Don’t Know How To Be An Office Person Anymore

Pre-Covid, work greetings were simple. Now there’s even a new uncertainty about how to say hello in person to clients and co-workers.

“Do I give them a high-five? Do I give them an elbow? Do I give them a handshake or a hug?” asked AJ Eckstein, a strategy consultant based in San Francisco. “Some people say that Covid is not a big issue; other people are still very afraid of it. It’s always trying to judge what that person is comfortable with. And it’s always that awkward fumble, kind of similar to when you try to give someone a handshake and they are going for a high-five.”

I, too, have felt uncertainty wondering what are the new norms for how to interact with co-workers and be an “office person” again. The version of me who chugged coffee before 9am, coordinated her outfits, took a 30-minute train ride and worked a whole day surrounded by co-workers in a row of desks feels like a stranger. Talking with colleagues face-to-face now both thrills and exhausts me. I’m not alone in having a bumpy return to office life.

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