Monday, November 25, 2019

A candid discussion about hugging in the workplace

A candid discussion about hugging in the workplaceA candid discussion about hugging in the workplaceFortunately, we live in an era where mora people finally feel comfortable speaking up about unwanted winzigkeit and situations that make them uncomfortable. Conversations are being sparked by news from Hollywood, politics, and workplaces, as well as more casual encounters with family and friends.This leads many to askIs there any place for physical touch in the workplace?Follow Ladders on FlipboardFollow Ladders magazines on Flipboard covering Happiness, Productivity, Job Satisfaction, Neuroscience, and moreWe believe thereisa role for appropriate touch in work-oriented relationships.Early in our research, we found that less than 1% of employees choose Physical Touch as their primary appreciation language and it is the most frequently chosen the least liked language. But Dr. Chapman and I chose to include physical touch in the appreciation languages for two primary reasons.First, alth ough there are clearly significant challenges, we didnt want to advocate atouchless societyevenintheworkplace. Appropriate physical touch in the proper context can be extremely meaningful. In a recentAtlantic article, developmental psychologist Tiffany Field argued that, As we get more isolated, we need platonic touch more than ever, even if we dont realize it. A vicious cycle is happening, wherein the less people initiate, the more abnormal it seems when someone does, and the more likely it is to be upsetting.Secondly, physical touch happens naturally in the workplace, largely as a demonstration of spontaneous celebration a high five when you complete a project, a fist bump when a problem is solved, or a congratulatory handshake when a major sale is closed. (For a general discussion of the appreciation language of Physical Touch,read more here.)Hugs need further discussionHugs, however, require another level of consideration. Recently, I was invited as an expert to participate in a media discussion about hugging (this was after significant attention given to hugging by public figures in professional relationships.) The discussion was interesting , but people largely focused on their personal preferences. I dont want anyone outside of my family touching me, let alone hugging me Or, Im a hugger that is the way I show affection, even to friends.We can clearly affirm that there are cultural, dezentral and personal differences with regards to the acceptability of hugging, and the settings and types of relationships which frame the parameters. The acceptability of a hug varies greatly from one person to the next.The core issue, really, is not whether it is right or wrong to hug or even am I ok with hugging? Rather, the key question to ask (and answer)What is the purpose of a hug? In actuality, there are avarietyof potential purposes for hugs in work-based relationships. Hugs can be a way to show warmth (Im happy to see you), affection (You are truly important to me) and gratitude (Thank yousomuch for all youve done for me.) But we must balance the warmth and respect we want to show someone with the boundaries of whats appropriate.There may be alternative actions which could be done to convey the same message desired by the person who wants to give a hug to someone else.In the case of hugging,the recipient gets to define whats best for them. Hugging is not for everyone and it can make some people extremely uncomfortable. Each person gets to define how much personal space they want, and it is important to remember that some people have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.Understanding that other people are different than youThe premise of both the Love Languages and Languages of Appreciation, is knowing your language and also realizing that other people prefer other languages. To successfully communicate love or appreciation, you have to do it inthe language (and actions) most valuable to the recipient. This is an important reminder that its not about whatyouwant. The fact that you are a hugger or that you need a hug is not a sufficient reason to ignore someone elses wish not to be touched.So, how do we find balance in the workplace? The first step is to accept the premise that the recipient of a physical gesture isalwaysthe person who has the authority to determine what is an acceptable form of physical touch to them.When in doubt, ask first.Exclaiming, I am so happy for you and asking, May I give you a hug? is more appropriate than exclaiming, I am so happy for you while simultaneously giving them a hug, and then stating, Sorry, I couldnt help myself - Im just naturally a huggerTalking about touch and especially hugging ahead of time is important. The responsibility seems to fall especially to those individuals on both ends of the spectrum. For those who do not want to be touched (or specifically, hugged) by colleagues, you should take the initiative and say something like Ive observed you seem fairly comforta ble with hugs, but I need to let you know that hugging feels uncomfortable to me and I would request you honor that boundary for me. For those who are huggers, you would be wise to have a conversation with your coworkers and state I grew up in a family and culture where hugging was a normal part of life, and often giving a hug is a natural response for me. I want to respect everyones boundaries and will try to think before I act, but if I happen to slip and make a mistake, please let me know.An important next step is tofigure out and use other ways to communicate warmth like greeting someone warmly with a smile, looking the person in the eyes, shaking their hand, accompanied by a enthusiastic, Im so happy to meet you (or whatever the appropriate verbal communication is.)ConclusionPhysical touch in the workplace can bebothvery positive and healthy,andextremely unhealthy and damaging, depending on the individuals involved, the types of touch, and the cultural context. This fact, I bel ieve, contributes to the strongly held beliefs on both sides of the issue. And, given the individual and cultural differences involved, both perspectives are equally valid. Hence, the dilemma (and discussion) about physical touch in the workplace will probably continue.Note ALWAYS make sure you know your companys policy on touch and physical interaction in the workplace. If you are unsure, check with your supervisor or Human Resources Officer to make sure you fully understand the legal boundaries laid out by your employer.This article originally appeared on Appreciation at Work.You might also enjoyNew neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happyStrangers know your social class in the first seven words you say, study finds10 lessons from Benjamin Franklins daily schedule that will double your productivityThe worst mistakes you can make in an interview, according to 12 CEOs10 habits of mentally strong people

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.