Another COVID time innovation; Unique way to maintain social distancing

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Even though we return to workplaces, try to embrace the new normal and discover new ways of interacting with colleagues, things are nowhere near normal. Handshakes with a foot or elbow taps are being exchanged, meetings are at a distance, while hugs and kisses are a thing of the past.

Now more than ever we need to be mindful of questions like who feels comfortable and confident to interact with people, and who would prefer to keep their distance, as this can help avoid any awkward encounters with colleagues.

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Dubai based, Create Media Group has come up with an innovative approach, by introducing color-coded wristbands for their employees that communicates just how comfortable they are with socializing, without having to put it into words.

The traffic light color system created by their team includes a green band indicating a member of the team is “OK with hugs and high-fives,” yellow means that they are “Fine with talking but not touching,” and red means that they prefer to “keep distance.”

“I think we have all realized that everyone is reacting differently to the current COVID-19 situation, and there is no clear way to identify how people are feeling about interacting when they first greet each other,” said Create Media Group’s managing partner, Tom Otton.
“When you take this into a large office environment, we needed a way for everyone to feel as safe as possible by showing how comfortable they are engaging, but without feeling uncomfortable about it. The bands have allowed everyone to do that as we have started to come back to the office.”

The bands serve its purpose even from a distance as a clear, visual symbol, so if a team member wears the red band, their colleagues can see, appreciate and maintain the 2 metre distance that they prefer.

This consideration is vital because you just don’t know what each person is dealing with in terms of ‘at-risk’ family members or being at-risk themselves. The bands have eliminated the uncomfortable moment where everybody says ‘hello,’ but sometimes they’re just not quite sure if a fist pump is acceptable or if they should keep their distance.

While team members were away from the office as Dubai self-isolated for a few months, Otton says Create Media Group was able to weather the storm of the pandemic.

“Fortunately, being in the digital space, we have been able to navigate through this time with a great team and trusting clients,” he says. “We’ve needed to hire a number of new roles as our client profile and requirements have evolved in response to the changing environment.”