Nailing the "Group Hug"
It all started when Kris, our Art Director, greeted our new employee with a hug. It was awkward. She held out her hand and he went in for the hug. Immediately she patted him on the back awkwardly. Then the boss came out and went to shake her hand, this time she was awkward because she didn't know what to do, and the boss was awkward because she didn't mean to shake a new female employees hand.
After settling in and adjusting to the new workplace, she brought it up. "What about that awkward moment when I first started!". Everyone died laughing. It was funny and fortunately, she saw the funny side of it as well.
From that moment everything changed. This one person who broke down the barriers to creating an office family was instrumental in creating an office culture where hugs were normal greetings and, somehow, were no longer awkward.
Kris is a gentle giant. Perhaps he can get away with it, or perhaps that makes it all the more powerful.
Now, I suppose you can consider hugging a "thing". Not long after, another employee started and was also hugged upon arrival. She loved it and is the first to hug people who go on holidays, start as a new employee or just because she thinks they are great.
There are a few things that have happened from here:
It's what families do and if this is your work family, it certainly will be something that you will learn to love about working at Marketing Eye. Lunches are a big thing and are something that is celebrated together. We make it together, eat it as a family and wash up the dishes. It leaves you with a warm heart and an unbreakable bond.
TOO BUSY AND STRESSED
Don't worry. This is exactly when your office family who know you all too well now, put their hands up and ask if they can help. They don't beat around the bush. "You're stressed out... let me help!" It is something that comes out of everyone's mouth. The support is phenomenal, to say the least. No-one needs to have a stressful day because they are unsure as to whether they will meet a deadline. If you are not going to meet it, then everyone will drop their work, stay late and help you get over the finish line.
PERSONAL SPACE IS GONE FOREVER
So, this is the 'thing'. Once you have hugged another colleague, all boundaries are gone. I am sure it's like getting nude with your colleagues (ok, I'm not being weird, as it is a thing - not in Australia but for those who practice unusual ways to bond). So hugging is the norm. Kissing is not. Stealing someone candy off their desk is yours to take. Doing quirky pictures with your face all over it, so that when you come back from holidays you know you were missed, is hilarious but the perfect welcome home.
This has all been the natural progression from our fearless, kind, generous Art Director who we adore. Who would have thought?