Do you have to avoid huggers at work? (BBC News)

| Jul 20, 2017

Are you a hugger or a hand shaker - or neither? When a work colleague returns from holiday or maternity leave, do you go in for the double bear-hug, or a friendly hello from across the desk?

For those people who prefer a non-physical greeting, the direction of office etiquette may be moving against you.

There is evidence that workplaces are seeing a rise in hugging culture. In a survey last year more than half of advertising and marketing executives said hugging was common, up from a third in the survey in 2011.

Experts say it could have a lot to do with more relaxed workplace environments.

But there's a downside. A separate study last year on sexual harassment in the US fast food industry found that more than a quarter of workers felt they were hugged inappropriately.

Deborah Wallsmith, an assistant professor of anthropology at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, says that the gradations of hug discomfort depend upon nuances, relationships, and personal preferences.

"The least offensive is the one armed side-by-side hug, where the huggers are standing next to each other, and extend their adjacent arms around each other's waist.

"The most objectionable is the full-frontal squeeze that goes on forever."

She adds that she "feels uncomfortable getting hugged by former professors and former bosses".

For the full story, click here.

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