You might sometimes wonder when you take someone’s clammy, sweaty hand if shaking hands is really the most hygienic thing to do. It turns out, when we shake hands with someone, you can be transferring germs either to or from a hand.
It sounds like a no-brainer when you really think about it. There’s no way to tell what someone did with their hands before they shook yours. Did they cough in their hand? Did they touch a doorknob that was touched by someone who coughed in their hand? With how often we use our fingers and hands even touching elbows is much more hygienic.
The CDC estimates that 80% of all infections are transferred by hand. That’s an incredibly high statistic. Washing your hands directly after hand shaking with someone is one way to go about things, but here’s a thought: what if we could eliminate hand shaking altogether?
So what’s a good way to show professionalism on your meetings if you can’t handshake? You might not want to go straight to fist bumping or high fiving (although these methods reduce bacterial transmission by half or more), unless you really know someone. A great option to avoid contact entirely would be one the Japanese have been using for years – the head bow.
Now we know that not everyone is going to adopt head bowing, fist bumping, high fiving or otherwise any time soon, but this will get you thinking about that next hand shake and how dirty it can really be. Maybe you can try employing less physical contact methods in your office to start – and help curb the spread of diseases like the flu.