I was absolutely drawing a blank on what to write for today’s article and then @TheKrayze1 said “appropriate workplace touching”. I immediately thought, “is there any?” but of course there is. It’s a fine line we all walk trying to avoid a trip to the HR office and a sexual harassment case but there are some ways that you can help yourself out.
What is appropriate workplace touching?
Appropriate workplace touching is touching that is necessary to the success of your job.
What does this mean? It means that if you are in a physically demanding job and need to assit one another in lifting something that it’s okay to support, help, and touch while handing things off. It means that a handshake, pat on the back, and a high five is acceptable.
Appropriate workplace touching is if you are working in a kitchen and you need to place your hand on somebody’s back while calling out “behind you” as you pass with a scorching hot pan. Appropriate workplace touching is a touch that if observed by your VP wouldn’t cause a raised eyebrow. It’s not gratuitous, meaning there is a reason for the touch and it’s not an “optional” touch.
It’s not appropriate workplace touching is it’s at all personal, sexual, or flirty in nature. You shouldn’t be touching people’s arms, legs, or person while speaking to them, even to demand attention. That is appropriate to keep attention on a date but not in the workplace. It’s not appropriate to walk up to a coworker and start massaging their shoulders just because you notice them rolling their neck and shoulders. Don’t assume that they want your hands on their body.
Appropriate workplace touching means that even if you got “handsy” at the happy hour you do NOT bring that into the workplace. If you have a secret affair going on you still keep that out of the workplace. If you are attracted to somebody but they are in a relationship, keep your hands to yourself. If you are interested in them and they are single, keep your damn hands to yourself then too!
Appropriate workplace touching broken down my gender.
Ladies, you have to admit we have it MUCH easier than our counterparts with dangly bits when it comes to appropriate workplace touching. I’m surprised men want to touch us at all with all the cases of sexual harassment being thrown around. Sometimes they are harmless, but we tend to be so nervous that we assume the worst, and I understand why, but we typically jump to the red flag feeling. Guys live in almost constant fear of doing or saying something that gets taken the wrong way and leads to them losing a job.
On the flip side, we feel a certain amount of freedom in touching men, assuming they’ll welcome any touch from us, any attention. Most of the times you are probably right. The other times the men are very reluctant to say anything because, what kind of man would complain about being flirted with or touched by a woman. The thing is, do not assume they want you touching them because you have breasts. Just because they may not always feel comfortable voicing their discomfort doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling awkward. Err on the side of caution just like a guy would have to.
The long and short of appropriate workplace touching:
If you have to question it, DON’T DO IT!
What are your thoughts on appropriate workplace touching? Is there even such a thing as appropriate workplace touching?