The average person spends a third of their life at work so naturally, we become good friends with our colleagues. This is great news for happiness in the workplace and employee engagement however this can make it easy for boundaries to become blurry. Everyone’s boundaries are different and what one employee deems appropriate, another may find inappropriate.
Let’s have a look at the stats…
Research from The Creative Group shows that 35% of respondents said it was very common to greet their co-worker with a hug rather than a handshake and a further 30% on top of that said it was somewhat common to do this. With regards to a client or business contact; 23% said that it was very common to greet with a hug and 29% said it was somewhat common. That means that in both instances between co-workers and clients, over half of the respondents regard it to be conventional and accepted to greet with a hug rather than opting for a handshake.
Since the #MeToo movement, physical contact in the workplace has been put under a microscope and people feel more cautious around even innocent forms of touch. It’s a movement that has seen 55% of companies make or propose changes to how they handle sexual harassment in the workplace. Some companies have even created a specific outline of rules around areas you can and cannot touch and have even gone as far to stipulate a ‘5 second rule’ on the length of time you can touch a person for… sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
We asked Jason Demillo from Logical what his thoughts were on the effects of this movement; “I’ve seen instances within our client base where males have been hesitant to assist their female counterparts through fear of their intentions being misinterpreted. This erodes collaborative team culture and is detrimental to organisations. Open dialog should be encouraged so that we maintain the ability to work supportively with one another while respecting an individual’s space”
Here at Logical, we consider clients and candidates to be friends. We’ll often go out for coffee with them or hit the pub for a few beers after work. Our team typically go for the failsafe handshake but we’d love to know – would you hug your business partners?