Twitter reacts to firm’s coloured lanyard scheme that indicates social preferences in the Covid age

The traffic-light lanyards were created as staff returned to office working

Joanna Whitehead
Friday 09 July 2021 15:50 BST
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<p>Are you ready to return to the office?</p>

Are you ready to return to the office?

A workplace has introduced colour-coded lanyards for staff to use upon returning to their office that indicate a person’s level of comfort with personal contact as Covid restriction are set to ease - and social media reactions have been mixed.

Matt Jones, the managing director of Oxbridge Home Learning, a remote educational service, shared the photograph to Twitter with the heading: “Now everyone’s coming back in to the office, we’ve upgraded our lanyards so we all know where we’re comfortable.”

According to the picture, green lanyards indicate that staff are “Okay with hugs and high-fives”, orange lanyards state that wearers are “Okay with talking but not touching”, while a red lanyard means “Hi! I’m keeping my distance”.

The striking approach to social etiquette as people slowly return to offices has generated some interesting responses on social media, with one user quipping, “Which person picked up all three so they could swap depending on who was coming towards them”.

Another commented: “I’m a consultant engineer in the heavy engineering sector.., just made myself chuckle imagining asking employees to do this on an oil rig or potash mine”, while one user asked “ is that red band durable enough to last the rest of my life?”.

Other users questioned the need for staff to even be in the office, enquiring as to why they couldn’t continue to work from home.

One said: “Why should the uncomfortable people be forced to work in an office with the touchy feely denials virus spreaders?”

Another said: “Couldn’t we just accept that a professional office is not the place for touching and hugging?”

Echoing the thoughts of many office workers around the land, one user quipped: “Can we have a yellow lanyard that means ‘We could’ve had this meeting over Zoom’ and a blue lanyard that means ‘We could’ve skipped this meeting by having a group email and sharing a Google doc’”.

The news comes as Rishi Sunak declared that young people were “over the moon” to return to workplaces.

The Chancellor has encouraged staff to return to the office following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July.

But unions warned the government would be risking the safety of workers if it lifted the order to work from home.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said ministers were refusing to consult with employers and unions on plans that will affect millions of workers.

The TUC wrote to ministers on Thursday to raise concerns over worker safety, saying that the government had undermined public confidence by announcing the end of face mask obligations without consultation.

Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “We all want working life to get back to business as usual.

“But as restrictions are lifted and increasing numbers return to their workplaces, it is crucial that we get workplace safety right, and give workers and members of the public confidence.”

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