Earlier this week, Wall Street Journal workplace columnist Sue Shellenbarger tackled an issue nobody was wondering about: whether you should shake hands, fist-bump, or otherwise greet people in your workplace.
The answer (surprise!) is: it varies depending on the company culture.
“Ashley M. Harris worked for a San Antonio, Texas, public-relations agency that was very ‘huggy,’ she says. ‘You would walk into a meeting and give your client a kiss on the cheek and a hug, saying, ‘How good to see you,’ while holding onto their arm,’ she says. ‘It took a lot for me personally to get used to the hugging.’
“But at a university where she later worked, she threw her arms around a former professor of hers, and ‘he literally did a step back’ and tensed, she says.”
In case it’s all too confusing, the article came with a clip-and-save guide to interacting with your coworkers, sorted by industry. As you can see, in “entertainment, media” an appropriate greeting would be a kiss or hug, while in manufacturing you still shake hands. If you work in PR and your coworker wins the Super Bowl office pool, you are permitted to give a bro-hug. Not sure how? The guide comes with an illustrated diagram.