1 June, 2017

Would you touch a co-worker?

It’s early in the morning. I’ve skipped my coffee, as I’m heading to a meeting that includes breakfast. I’m tired, and I don’t feel like I’m at the top of my game. As I arrive at the meeting, a co-worker puts his hand on my shoulder and tells me coffee is now being served. This warm encounter wakes me up and prepares me to meet the other attendees.

When was the last time you touched a co-worker, affiliate or client? That might be a while ago, as we Finns are aware of our personal space, and thus we don’t touch each other without a reason. We think that’s a shame. The value of touch is not a fortune cookie aphorism, but a big part in the relationships we primates make. Although technology can allow us to work from our homes, for example, we can never digitize a human touch.


A touch creates a connection

A study was made in the USA regarding NBA players and the ways they interacted with each other. The study showed that teams with players who made physical contact with each other during games won more games than teams that didn’t have such players. Besides winning more games, these teams also showed greater co-operative skills when compared to other teams.


Touches and encounters have significance in the school world as well. Recently there were news about an US primary school teacher who personally greets all his students daily. These greetings are not simple handshakes, however, as Berry White Jr. has a personalized way to greet every student. According to White, the students are more enthusiastic and energetic during lessons due to the greetings.


A touch is a sign of approval, and a way to communicate that you have noticed a person. The high fives, group hugs and fist bumps of basketball courts and schoolyards may not fit the Finnish work environment as is, but we can still learn from them and find natural ways for us to touch each other.


Touch a co-worker

Hotel Helka is a scene for many joyful encounters, as colleagues from all over Finland get to see each other after a long time apart. These encounters involve physical contact, and thus, meetings at Helka involve touching as well.

A touch can be a small gesture. A handshake suits us Finns very well. If a hug seems too bold, a good pat on the back can be a good introduction in touching beyond standard greetings. Would you pat a co-worker on the back for a job well done?

“We can help you if it seems too challenging to start touching. Our meeting package includes a pat on the back from me, free of charge” says Helka’s CEO, Jukka Räisänen.