Office protocols for the future

Today is typically a day off and that provides some time in the morning to read and write. There is time for a second cup of tea. There is the Merriam-Webster “Word of the Day” to consider. If the Tampa Bay Lightning played the night before I can watch their highlights online. It is a space in the day, after morning prayer, to catch up on the news, emails, and let curiosity lead me where it will. Today, curiosity lead me to an article about “returning to the office.”The parish office has been opened for months and months, but I have a friend who has not been in their corporate office since March 2019 and there don’t seem to be any immediate plans to return in the near term. When the company Salesforce had a national convention in September (1000 people attending) they understood that there would be difference expectations, reactions, and reservations about greetings. So they came up with the idea of color coding on the name badges: Green: OK to hug. Yellow: Let’s do the elbow/fist bump. Red: Let’s wave hello. Just one way in which employers are navigating these uncertain waters. The reporting article in the NY Times had the subtitle: “Employers are desperate to figure out a way to safely get employees back to their desks. Enter the humble wristband.”

Stephanie Hayes, a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, extended the core idea of color coded wristbands to explore the possibilities of a broader possibility for the use of color-coded wrist bands in the office setting. Her tongue-in-cheek suggestions follow – enjoy:

  • Green: Open to hugs.
  • Yellow: Elbow tap or fist bump.
  • Red: Wave.
  • Coral: Wave, but farther away.
  • Tangerine: Wave, but, like, from your house. Yeah, that’s good.
  • Lilac: Spirited high five and freeze-frame photo while jumping in the air.
  • Cyan: Top-secret handshake routine with lots of slaps and daps, a foot tap and a twerk at the end. Rehearsals are at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday behind the cafe.
  • Teal: Never touch me! Did we learn nothing from #MeToo?
  • Purple: Look, I’m not trying to be rude, but don’t make eye contact with me because it will make me want to crawl in a hole and die.
  • Orange: Please respect the fact that I am going through allergy testing to find out what things in my diet are making my skin inflamed and giving me this general sense of lethargy, and I suspect it’s probably gluten or coffee, but mostly I hope it’s not cheese.
  • Periwinkle: Finger guns.
  • Pink: I am pretty fun, actually! I just wish people got that! I’m nice! Really!
  • Beige: My stomach makes loud noises in meetings.
  • Gray: I am only pretending to be on the phone.
  • Rose: Sorry, I didn’t see you running for the elevator! (I saw you.)
  • Maroon: I’m doing my “own research.”
  • Gold: Fair warning, I might start talking to you about English regency romance novels.
  • White: I will share a low-stakes yet intriguing personal anecdote, such as the fact that I once rode a camel. It’s up to you to decide if it’s true.
  • Silver: I do not know why I’m this way, but I suspect it has something to do with my parents.
  • Puce: No, I have not seen Ted Lasso.
  • Chartreuse: I am following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means I have no idea what’s going on, either.
  • Heavy anxiety blanket the color of oatmeal pulled over head: Check back later.

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