“No physical contact” rules in the workplace – handshakes also may be banned

What do you think? Is this going too far? Or is it better and safer all round?

A report in the UK’s Metro has revealed that employers may consider banning all forms of physical contact in the workplace in order to avoid potential sexual harassment charges and claims. The traditional handshake would also be included in these blanket rules in order to prevent any misunderstanding about what kind of touch is appropriate between people.

According to a survey on the Metro website by Totaljobs which has now garnered over 5000 votes, three out of four people want a total ban on physical contact in the workplace.

Metro revealed the following results of the survey:

  • One in four of 2,000 adults questioned by jobs site Totaljobs said they had avoided a colleague or client because of the way they greeted people
  • Two out of five said they found greetings awkward
  • A third of workers said their well-being had been affected by an awkward greeting, such an unexpected kiss or hug, or even an unwanted chest hug

The implementation of such blanket rules certainly do take away grey areas in the workplace with people knowing exactly where and how they stand in relation to each other and provides a solution to resolving uncomfortable (not to mention unacceptable) physical contact.

But we are also not robots. Will such rules have the potential to become dehumanising, meaning that if a colleague is upset, a comforting hug from a potentially long standing fellow worker becomes off limits? Will affection and compassion become lost as a result?

What are your thoughts and what would you like these rules implemented in your workplace?



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