A simple handshake appears to be a thing of the past according to author and creator of the column ‘Ask a Manager’, Alison Green

A hug was once reserved for close family and friends, but she says it has infiltrated the workplace – leaving huggers delighted and the rest of us shrinking back in the hopes that we can avoid an unwanted squeeze.

A workplace hug hasn’t become the norm in every industry, but there are sectors where it’s common in both greetings and goodbyes – especially as workplaces become increasingly informal.

“You’re greeting a colleague who you haven’t seen in a while – and suddenly, without warning, they’re enthusiastically opening their arms and heading in for a hug.

 

That can be odd for those of us who aren’t huggers, or who aren’t huggers at work. And the fact that different people have different preferences around hugging makes the whole endeavour fraught with awkwardness and peril.”

Should we err on the side of caution?

Huggers would do well to remember that their preference for hugging is trumped by a colleague’s preference not to have that type of physical intimacy with someone they work with.

Unwanted physical contact isn’t always innocent. Sexual harassment in the workplace is all too common.

have been harassed, what now?

You will want to know all your options before deciding what to do. This is what we are best at.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to raise a grievance with your employer – but it depends on your circumstances. You shouldn’t have to put up with being harassed and many people just want to leave work and never return.  We are experienced negotiators and will try to secure you the best exit terms if this is what you want to do.