Rules of etiquette on shaking hands with female colleagues
Business etiquette has undergone a strong shift towards equality between men and women in recent years. Experts argue that this contributes to a safer and more business-oriented environment. But not everyone has time to adapt to the new norms. In particular, they may make mistakes during greetings, when it is customary to give each other a hand.
OBOZREVATEL has collected some tips on how to behave properly in a business environment from the point of view of modern etiquette and how to adhere to the principles of gender equality.
Greeting with a handshake is generally accepted by everyone, regardless of position, gender, age and other circumstances. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, attitudes towards this gesture have changed. The rule is simple: either everyone shakes hands with everyone else, or no one shakes hands at all. If the company has the first option, then a woman may not wait for a man to give his hand: this is an outdated rule. The initiator of such a greeting can be anyone.
When someone comes to a meeting, it will be polite to greet this person by standing up from a chair. With colleagues of your job level or age, this rule can be ignored, but for managers, clients or senior people, it is better to show your respect in this way.
The times when this task was solely the responsibility of men are a thing of the past. Now the door is held by the first person who enters. It is not so hard and does not require a lot of physical strength to do it. This way you won't create pandemonium at the entrance while you line up in the right order.
Using the elevator
The same approach is practiced by modern business etiquette in the use of the elevator. Those who are closer to the door are the first to enter and exit the elevator. This helps to avoid situations when, for example, a petite girl has to break through the crowd of gentlemen like a rugby player trying to pass in a narrow passage. It is also polite to ask those waiting with you which floor they should go up to. Then those who have to go higher up should be the first to enter.
Help with carrying things
If you see someone in the office with a stack of folders or other items about to fall out of their hands, it's polite to offer to help them. The gender of the person in this situation doesn't matter. Unless the person is carrying something really heavy, which will require male strength. For example, a large container of water for the water cooler.
Payment for lunch
The strict rule here is the following: a man cannot pay for a woman's meal, as this can be seen as a manifestation of dominance, i.e. a form of harassment. Modern etiquette suggests that a formal business lunch is paid for by the inviting party. The check can be divided into equal parts or everyone pays for themselves by prior agreement. This would be appropriate in less formal situations.
If you don't know what to do, ask
Adequate business communication should be based on communication like any other. Therefore, before making any gesture of courtesy, it will be appropriate to ask how much it is even needed. Inquire if the person needs help. This is enough to form an impression of yourself as a polite and attentive person.
Earlier OBOZREVATEL shared etiquette recommendations on communicating with superiors.