Office wear making a statement: “Okay, let’s cuddle”

For Wristband Resources, which is based out of Milwaukee, the second Friday in March 2020 was “D-Day.” There are no more concerts, festivals, or school retreats. Mike Ginger, the chief information officer, was commuting between his home and the office, but he didn’t know what to instruct his employees to do. Sales have fallen to nearly zero for the company of 140 employees.

About two weeks later, requests started pouring in again. Mr. Ginger checked the delivery addresses to see where his wristbands were shipped and found the unlikely culprit: the commercial construction. First-time customers of Wristband Resources, who were reopening their construction sites, wanted an easy way to indicate which employees had completed their temperature checks for the day.

It was a wonderful moment for Mr. Jengler and his teammates, who realized that a pandemic could be nurtured in unexpected uses for a multi-colored set of bracelets. By that summer, his company was shipping bracelets to hundreds of offices as they reopen. Wristband Resources ended 2020 without any online retail losses; Covid-related bracelets made up about 60 percent of its revenue. The company ended 2021 with better online sales than in 2019.

“We’re going to a laser tag event to celebrate,” Mr. Ginger said. “I’m proud that we stayed true to who we were while a lot of our competitors were chasing PPE products.”

Mr. Gengler said that due to the typical holiday slowdown in business, it was too soon to know how Omicron would affect its sales, although he added that some companies may use the bracelets for identification purposes as their vaccine mandates take effect in the coming weeks.

At Clyde & Co, an international law firm, the bracelet strategy provided a measure of relief to team members who were concerned about the personal intricacies of a personal business. The company has asked more than 2,000 employees in Britain to return to the office two days a week starting in September, although after the latest government guidance, those employees are now working from home again.

Emma Thorne, a company assistant, has been answering troubling questions about the impending return to the office all summer from her parents, one of whom is undergoing immune-threatening medical treatment. Ms. Thorne is also pregnant, which is another factor in her desire to stay away from her colleagues. With her red wrist on, she was able to walk around the office without repeating her security preferences.

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