Research perspectives

Research shows employees want workplace physical contact reduced – and more guidance

Almost half (42%) of UK workers would like an outright ban on some physical interactions in the workplace, from kissing (27%) to hugs (15%), according to research from Totaljobs. The research found that three-quarters (76%) of workers said they want to see physical contact reduced in the office. Women were found to prefer no physical interaction when greeting colleagues of either sex – male (51%) or female (53%).

The survey of two thousand adults also revealed that one in three workers experience an ‘awkward’ greeting at work at least once a month, with a third claiming that their wellbeing has been affected by an awkward greeting. Meanwhile a quarter (25%) said they were concerned with how they were interacted with in the workplace, meaning they actively avoided certain colleagues or clients.

Overall respondents were found to be unsure about what is expected of them and around two-thirds (68%) think workplaces should have clear guidelines on what is considered an appropriate greeting at work, to avoid causing offence. Only one in seven (15%) however had received any sort of guidance from their employer in the past year.