Is Hugging Accepted in the Workplace?

huggingBetsy Karing and Linda Russell work at an Arizona Printing company, where Betsy is the Vice President of Production and Linda is a Manager within one of the various printing departments. Linda’s mother has been seriously ill for the past six months and has been hospitalized for those six months. Linda and her siblings have been taking turns being with their mom at the hospital, but her brother told her to go into the office to try and get her mind off of her mother and they will call her if anything changes.

Although, Linda didn’t want to leave, she did need a break from the stress so she decided to go into the office and try to get some work done to release a little of the worrying she was going through. Within a few hours of her being at work, she received a call from her brother telling her to get back to the hospital because her mom was taking a turn for the worse. To avoid a big scene Linda ran into the ladies room to let out her cries. She ran into one of the bathroom stalls and started balling! Betsy who happened to be in the ladies room at the sink washing her hands at the time; heard Linda crying and asked her what was wrong and if she’s ok. Linda came out of the stall and told Betsy about her mother and about the phone call from her brother.

Betsy didn’t know what to do. She wanted to show empathy toward Linda and what she was going through, but because of her job title and they were at work, she wasn’t sure what to do or how to show it. Should she give Linda a hug of understanding and comfort or toss the paper towel she used to dry her hands in the trash and give Linda the two handed handshake as a show of concern?

I wrote this quick little anecdote in response to an article that someone on LinkedIn mentioned and posted regarding hugging in the workplace. The person that placed the article is a hugger.

I am also a hugger, but common sense tells one when it is appropriate to hug at the office and when it isn’t. However, there were so many wacky comments regarding hugging not only in the workplace, but one women stated that her husband is not to hug her or touch her without her permission. I found her statement to be very COLD! I didn’t post this on Linkedln, but I did want to know what others thought about giving or receiving hugs in the workplace (when appropriate of course). Comments are welcomed!

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