Could your work environment be better? Would you like to see productivity increased? Science proves that cuddling your colleagues tightly helps! Next Tuesday it is Heel Holland Hugt day (The Whole of the Netherlands Hugs Day). A good occasion to try.
Basketball players do it all the time: patting teammates on the back and giving chest bumps, high fives and team huddles. And they do it for a reason. Researcher at the University of California, San Francisco Michael Kraus discovered that the more basketball players do this, the more successful they are. Both individually and as a team. ‘Touch enhances collaboration’, he concludes, after studying successful practitioners of this sport.
Through physical contact oxytocin is released. This so-called ‘cuddle hormone’ helps you to experience warmth and trust. A coherent sense of confidence and commitment lowers your blood pressure and lets the stress leave your body. Moreover, it leads to more energy and higher productivity. Your teammates and you not will only reap the harvest from this on the basketball court, but also at work.
Take for example the results of Farrelly Facilities and Engineering. The employees of this heating and air conditioning business reported good results on their daily morning hug ritual 15 years ago already. In the three years that they had been embracing each other on entry, productivity and profit had more than doubled.
Hugging in the workplace helps to create happier and more productive working environments and to reduce absenteeism. Tweet this.
Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson also did extensive research into the effects of hugging. She encourages you to go on a hug diet, because, she says, just as you need sufficient nutrients every day, you need a hug. Hugging creates positivity resonance (positive emotions, synchronicity in biochemistry and behavior between huggers, as well as the incentive to invest in each other’s well-being), which adds to a sense of unity and belonging. This brings out the best in you and the one you are cuddling. And because positivity is contagious, hence the people around you.
Also psychology professor Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University thinks a hug diet is a good idea. Hugging is healthy, she says, and leads to less absenteeism at work: ‘A hug-a-day could keep the doctor away.’ That too is an effect of the oxytocin hormone release. This will give your immune system a boost, making you less susceptible to stress and the flu virus. Additionally, if you have been infected with the virus already, you will experience less severe symptoms.
Neuroscientist Paul Zak even recommends a minimum of eight hugs a day (pets count too :)) to make you happier and feel more connected, and to nurture relationships. And he’s not alone. Psychotherapist Virginia Satir famously said: ‘We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.’
Convinced of the benefits of giving big hugs in the workplace? Then, after reading this article, go to a colleague, spread your arms, wrap them around your colleague and press him or her firmly against your chest. It might feel a bit strange at first, but trust me, you’ll get used to it in no-time. Certainly on Heel Holland Hugt day it’s worth trying, wouldn’t you say? So, are you in?