Handshakes Could Be Banned Under 'No Physical Contact' Rules

When we were younger, we were always told to shake a prospective employer's hand upon meeting. How long you should hold the end of the recipient's limb and how long is too long when it comes to an awkward handshake.

Well, now this could all be a thing of the past because employers might be considering banning handshakes under rules regarding physical contact in the workplace.

Handshakes could be banned in the workplace. Credit: PA
Handshakes could be banned in the workplace. Credit: PA

According to the Metro, this ban could clear up any confusion about what touch is acceptable and what isn't - which, in turn, could avoid sexual harassment claims.

Kate Palmer, associate director of advisory at HR consultancy Peninsula, told the publication: "Some employers may put a complete ban on physical contact. Whether that's going too far or not is a question I would pose, because it's contextual. Does shaking someone's hand go too far?

"They may just say 'no contact at all' because there's no grey area. It makes it simple, but it takes away affection which in some ways is a sad thing.

"I haven't seen anywhere go as far as banning shaking hands, but there may be an employer who has gone as far as that."

Kate added: "You're probably safe with a handshake - unless your employer says otherwise. If there's a rule, follow it.

"That's the most physical contact I would have with a fellow employee. Even if it's a sensitive situation, when someone is upset I would be very mindful of a hug or putting my hand on their hand. Try to separate it from being too personal."

Kate also pointed out that the level of contact you can bestow on someone differs depending on the person themselves.

She gave one example that it might be more acceptable to pat someone on the back on a construction site than it is in an office.

Maybe a high five? Credit: PA
Maybe a high five? Credit: PA

Kate explained that employers should ensure that there is a physical contact policy in place and also provide training for members of staff and the policies should remain even at a work do.

Kate concluded: "The workplace does extend outside the office. The classic example is the Christmas night out. We get a lot of queries about how to control staff behaviour at events."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd is a Journalist at LADbible. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class BA in Journalism. Becky previously worked as Chief Reporter at Cavendish Press, supplying news and feature stories to national newspapers and women's magazines.

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