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Handshakes and More Office Rules Changed by COVID-19

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Not as many people work from home as you might think. According to The Boston Globe, 38% of people with a college degree are working from home; but that rate drops to 11% for people without one. Moreover, many Americans who lost their work-from-home jobs during the pandemic have been forced to take up jobs in essential industries — most of which require going in to work.

Learn: When These Big Companies Are Planning To Return To the Office
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Even for those who are fortunate enough to work from home, that landscape may be changing with access to effective vaccines. The two-dose vaccines Moderna and Pfizer are in full distribution, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also readily available.

In short: Some offices will start to open — and the culture is going to be completely different from pre-coronavirus times.

Here’s some common office etiquette that’s no longer in practice.

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No More Shaking Hands

Although we’re all washing our hands plenty, that doesn’t mean handshakes are appropriate. Instead, they’ve been replaced by elbow touches — or a simple, “Hi.” It probably feels weird to avoid shaking hands with a new boss or co-worker, but handshakes will likely make a comeback when social distancing guidelines are lifted.

Related: 22 Everyday Things Wiped Out by COVID-19

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You Can’t See a Smile — or Share Yours

It can be harder to read someone’s mood when you can’t see the bottom half of their face. This may make meetings feel awkward; but try to forget you’re wearing a mask and act as you would have before the virus. Even if your smile isn’t visible, people can usually see it in your eyes or hear it in the tone of your voice.

Find Out: Can Employers Require You To Get the Vaccine?

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You Can’t Pack a Conference Room

Conference rooms and breakrooms are becoming a thing of the past. Even if you’re working in a physical office space, large meetings may take place over Zoom as companies figure out how to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

See: 30 Ways Offices Will Change After COVID-19

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Ixnay on the Office Snacks

If you were previously allowed to bring food into the office, you’ll have to hold out on snack breaks unless you’re outside or in a separate space by yourself. This also means you can’t share snacks with your work bestie or bring in any homemade desserts.

Take a Look: States Where the Most Workers Are Headed Back to the Office

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Cubicles Are Replacing Open Spaces

Open office environments are no longer safe when packed full of workers. Because of this, some companies are choosing to install cubicles or even just plexiglass barriers between each work station. This may feel like a tacky throwback to the ’80s and ’90s, but hopefully, it’s a temporary solution during this wild time to be a working American.

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