How do you feel about physical contact in the workplace? Do you think hugs and kisses should be banned? That’s what nearly half of the people want in the UK, according to a recent survey.
The survey by UK site Totaljobs found that three-quarters of workers (76%) want physical contact reduced, while 42% actually want “an outright ban” on some interactions, including workplace kissing (27%) and hugging (15%). The survey also found that one in three (30%) people experience an awkward greeting at work at least once a month. Forty-one per cent of people in their 20s want no physical contact at all and
Among the most awkward greetings:
25% have been trapped in an unwanted hug
19% have been on the receiving end of an unexpected kiss
15% have received an unwanted chest touch after one has opted for a handshake, the other a hug
13% have had an accidental kiss on the mouth thanks to ill-timed air kisses
12% have had an accidental headbutt
Some are so cautious about potential weird touching that a quarter (25%) actively avoid awkward colleagues or clients.
Psychologist and body language expert, Jo Hemmings weighed in on the subject, saying in a statement, “Interactions in the workplace have become a confusing and difficult terrain in recent years. Navigating what ostensibly seems like a simple ‘hello,’ is now a minefield for both initiator and recipient so no wonder two-thirds of us want clear guidelines on interactions at work from awkward hugs to accident nose bumps.”
Most people want to limit workplace touching to handshakes “with two seconds or less of direct eye contact.”
It seems that, even though so many people are uncomfortable, workers are also unsure about what is expected of them when interacting with clients and colleagues.
Two-thirds think workplaces should have clear guidelines on what is considered an appropriate greeting at work to avoid issues, but only 15% have been given any guidelines.
I’ll give you one guideline: While I am not anti-hug myself, you should never under any circumstances go for a handshake with the same sex and a hug from the opposite sex. Men do this to women far too often and it is unacceptable. Hug everyone or hug no one. Want more rules for workplace hugging? Here they are.
No big deal? Not so. One third say their well-being has been affected by an awkward greeting, and 15% said that replaying awkward or uncomfortable interactions in their head has negatively impacted their productivity.
Alexandra Sydney, Marketing Director at Totaljobs, said in a statement “Whether it’s an unwanted hug or a mistimed kiss on the cheek, our research suggests that workplace greetings have the potential to stray beyond awkward and could have a real impact on job satisfaction and productivity.”