The world of human contact is one that leaves some people feeling a bit uncomfortable.
In the workplace, this can become a minefield of social awkwardness.
Research from last year suggests that offices are becoming more of a place for hugging. This has been put down to workplaces becoming a lot more relaxed these days compared to how they were.
A lot obviously depends on how well you know that person outside of work. If you were friends anyway then that is probably a bit different.
If there are extenuating circumstances, such as a colleague suffering a bereavement, announcing they are pregnant, if you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time, if you are leaving or if you’re at a work party and everyone has had a few drinks, then these are probably times when it is OK to go in for a hug.
But to hug someone you barely know just as a greeting is probably going a bit too far.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some lawyers say that a hug could go down as sexual harassment if it is particularly out of context or unwanted, so it is wise to use some caution when it comes to hugging.
You have to be 100% sure that this is the right thing to do, and you feel totally comfortable with your colleague and know they feel the same about you, before even thinking about going in for the hug.
A lot depends on the sort of job you do as well. If you are a nurse or doctor and have just had to tell a patient’s family member that their relative has died, a hug from a colleague might go down well.
Alternatively, if you are going for a job interview and hug your interviewer who is a total stranger, that is totally inappropriate.
It’s all about context folks! But if in doubt, it’s probably best not to do it.