First there was the tech company promoting workplace romances with an office "love fund"; now there's a corporate cuddle coalition.
A Chengdu company has a new policy of letting (or forcing) its staff to hug their young, attractive, female CEO and one another three times daily. The embrace must last at least 3 seconds, and any employee who delivers a less-than-enthusiastic hug will be fined RMB50. The company has dubbed the policy "hugging for love" (爱就来一起拥抱) and claims it fosters their unique corporate culture.
A new employee at the company uploaded photos of his colleagues willingly or awkwardly hugging their boss.
"The regulation leaves me speechless," he remarked.
Every morning between 8:30 and 9, the pretty boss will stand at the front door of the office, and the employees will line up outside, waiting their turn to "enjoy a hug with the beautiful CEO." After lunch, between 12:30 and 1 p.m., department directors are expected to hug every employee in their division. Finally, between 5:30 and 6 p.m., employees are supposed to hug their coworkers in other departments.
But the employees' reactions to this new policy are not all that loving.
A new male employee seemed more frightened and embarrassed than adoring as he raised his shoulders and quickly backed away from the boss's open arms. The director of the technology department, another male employee, held up his arms in front of the chest as if to defend himself from the CEO's embrace.
The company's female employees generally seem more comfortable with the physical intimacy than their male counterparts. But at least one, the director of the administration department, chooses to pay RMB50 every day in order to avoid the stipulated intimacy.
The policy has attracted much attention among Internet users.
Online, a recent graduate asked for the name of the company, saying that he is "more than willing" to be a part of it. Another poster, who works as a human-resources manager in another firm, is considering implementing a similar policy. And the general manager of Chengdu Xinglu Mechanical and Electrical Equipment Ltd. (成都兴泸机电设备有限公司)said that he regards hugging as an "effective and convenient way" to express love among employees.
But there are, of course, those who disagree. Forum user Chao Ge (超哥) questioned the purpose of the policy. "Why not kissing?" he asked. "This is nothing but promotional hype."
Another commenter worried about the effectiveness of the regulation. "An ostentatious display does not indicate or cultivate true unity and love," she wrote. "People glued together all day can still be manipulating behind each other's back."