10 rules for hugging in the workplace

It’s Friday and the end of another working week.  So we thought it was time for a bit of Friday fun. Now we are not huggers at the HR Rev offices (but only in the workplace of course, we are not completely devoid of affection) but in today’s casual office environment, what happens if there comes a time when you want to hug a co-worker.

Most office etiquette experts say that generally, an arms-off policy is best. And yet, most admit that they too have been in a situation where they’ve either given, or received, an awkward co-worker hug.

I thought it was about time we had some hugging rules for the office, so here goes:

The hugging rules:

  1. Don’t hug those you supervise.  The caveats: You can hug a subordinate if your being supportive in a non-creepy way (major family or personal loss—sideways, kind of arm around the shoulder, you care about them hug); at a wedding and you are congratulating them; it’s a hug for a professional win (promotion, giant sale, big project completion, etc.) and it’s with a group, not alone in your office with the lights off; or, if you would feel comfortable with your spouse standing next you and watching that specific hug.
  2. Hug your external customers or clients when they initiate the hugging sequence. The caveats: Don’t hug if it is required to get business (that’s not hugging, that’s harassment). Don’t let the hug last more than a second or two, or it gets uncomfortable; and, don’t mention the hug afterwards, just plain wierd!
  3. Don’t hug the person in the office you’re having an affair with (No explanation needed!!).
  4. When you hug, hug for real.  Nothing worse than the “fake” hug! A fake hug is worse than a non-hug.
  5. Don’t whisper “you smell good” when hugging someone professionally. That’s creepy; in fact don’t whisper anything at all whilst hugging!
  6. Don’t close your eyes while hugging professionally.  That’s weird and a bit stalker-like.
  7. It’s all right to announce a hug is coming.  Some people will appreciate a “Hey! Come here I’m giving you a hug—it’s been a long time!
  8. It’s never all right to hug from behind.  (Definitely creepy!)
  9. Never hug in the toilet.  It makes for an awkward moment when other employees walk in and see that!!
  10. If you’re questioning whether it’s ok to hug someone professionally, well, that is your cue that it probably isn’t.

Ok so no policy needed, but do you have any office rules on PDAs, we’d love to hear them…

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A version of this article originally appeared on The Tim Sackett Project.

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