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Totaljobs recently did a survey on the humble workplace greeting and how it has become a confusing and difficult terrain.

Navigating what ostensibly seems like a simple ‘hello,’ is now a minefield for both initiator and recipient. No wonder two-thirds of us want clear guidelines on interactions at work, from awkward hugs to accidental nose bumps.

The #MeToo movement has encouraged people to start speaking out – including in the workplace – and has led to a plethora of changes in how we engage with colleagues. It has empowered people – both male and female – to speak out about abuse or discomfort with less fear of repercussions.

The UK workplace feels emboldened to speak up more readily following headline-grabbing examples, such as the petition by workers at Ted Baker which saw founder Ray Kelvin stepping down following claims of ‘over-hugging’.

It’s clearly a highly complex, embarrassing, and in some instances even humiliating subject, and while it troubles workers in their 20s less than their older counterparts, we all have an opinion on what is right and what is wrong.

People are comfortable with different levels of contact at different distances and levels of intimacy, which relate to how comfortable people are with personal space violations.

76% want physical contact reduced, whilst 42% want an outright ban on some interactions. 

41% of men greet women differently for fear of making them uncomfortable. 28% consciously change their greeting to avoid it being perceived as sexual harassment. 

68% think workplaces should have clear guidelines on what is an appropriate greeting.

An outright ban on some human interactions is a step in the wrong direction. It’s leading down a hole where we will start banning any form of interaction in the work place, preventing people from even looking at each other because it makes them feel weird. 

Here at JMC Legal Recruitment, we have a family environment and people who work here are genuinely friends, we embrace a modern working place and are certainly not an environment where top buttons must be done up at all times.

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