Remember Handshakes


By Robin Kantor

Dr. Anthony Fauci calls it “a major way [to] transmit a respiratory-borne illness.”  So…Is a handshake now dangerous or just hibernating?

With so many working from home, the outlook is murky. Eventually you’ll encounter others in real life and greetings will be exchanged. The elbow bump is awkward. A serene, hand-over-heart motion conveys honesty; both warm and humble at the same time. Alternatives are hands clasped at chest level or behind one’s lower back, combined with a nod. Recently mask-wearers were observed social-distancing with a namaste, which conveys connection and warmth toward the other.

In sports, the fist bump is common. Maybe it’s a step back to the ease of a handshake; a hint of touch and trust without actual finger contact.

Will these alternatives, like masks and bottles of hand sanitizer, become a part of the corporate landscape? Much depends on professionals returning to the office carrying over the casualness of remote work but seeing a handshake as old-fashioned.

The handshake could return, though maybe after an extended delay. If it doesn’t survive the coronavirus, something might be lost. A handshake involves touch, and brief moments of contact bring subtle psychological benefits. Touch lowers the heart rate and establishes bonding and trust. And really, anything is better than a wave through a Zoom screen.

Have you been replacing your handshake? Is it working? We’d love to hear your story. Email us at

Ref. Alex Williams, NYTimes, 8/20/20