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Communicating comfortably

by Amber Yoder

New approaches and communication tools are needed as we begin adapting to a new way of being together physically. We can’t just ‘re-enter’ the world of work and public gatherings and expect it to be unchanged. So as communicators, how can we make it easy for people to feel comfortable in a shared workspace or at a live event? What communication tools can we use to make a difficult transition a little bit easier?

Here’s one approach: The Coronavirus comfort bracelet

The simplicity of this approach is what makes it work so well. Different people have different comfort levels. Navigating those conversations over and over again with each new person can be exhausting, and maybe a little anxiety inducing. These bracelets remove that entirely, and allow people to interact in a way that is comfortable for them while respecting others’ boundaries. In that way it’s a surprisingly elegant communication tool. In fact, the idea has really taken off – with Social Bands stepping in to help fill the market need. They offer color coordinated brackets marketed to employers and event coordinators. We look forward to seeing these (or something like it) at events and in workplaces. And honestly, we kind of wish they had been around pre-pandemic. Not everyone is a hugger…

Another approach is simple signage that uses levity to re-enforce safety and health procedures. Signage and wayfinding is becoming even more important in workplaces and public spaces. They communicate safety, which can help relieve anxiety of workers and patrons. And it can be a way to share a voice that is friendly and human rather than sterile and corporate.

Re-entering and re-opening isn’t about going back to the way things were. It means finding new ways to navigate shared spaces. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it.

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