Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Cuddle Tent: Five-Star Accommodations For Domestic Staff?

We've based each 'relaxation tent' on Moroccan and Indian relaxation practices... During the day co-workers will be required to cuddle each other in a variety of different positions and will need to switch partners every two hours - so that you have a chance to bond with everyone.  - Team Tactics

OK, so enough with all the endless yapping at the downstairs weekly staff meetings, it's time to break out the pajamas and bunny slippers. Thinking outside the box will soon give way to cuddling inside the tent, if Team Tactics has their way -  so let's take a closer, more intimate look at their unconventional team-building proposal.

Could this be your next staff meeting?
An avid reader of Evil HR Lady, I happened upon her recent post of how Team Tactics, a U.K. based team building service provider, has started offering to facilitate whole-day cuddling events for your workplace. That's right - cuddling with your co-workers. In a tent. For two hours each partner and in multiple positions, depending on the issues that are being worked out on the team.

And as you can imagine the responses to her posting, they alternated between hostility and horror. Usually both. 

But I say that anything which shocks us is good for us, as it provides an opportunity to explore exactly why we're feeling it (or in the case of cuddling, touching it). As a comparison, I'll never forget a good friend years ago who swore that visiting palm readers had immense value - and not so much for him because he actually believed what was being predicted in his future, yet he found value in his reactions themselves to those predictions. For instance, if the palm reader would say that he'd be dead within a couple of weeks, he wasn't necessarily so worried about that actually coming true, yet the initial rush of emotion upon hearing the statement uttered gave him great insight into what was actually going on in his life; if it was unpleasant reaction, then he suddenly knew why as he could zero in on why being dead would be awful for both himself and those he loved and would leave behind. Likewise, if was a pleasant emotional rush experienced, he'd also be able to focus on why being dead would be preferable to being alive, and he could then seek to repair those areas in his life which needed some serious attention. Yet, it took for him these types of shocks to his system, which he found most palatable coming from a third party, and not from simply reading another self-help book.

I believe the same can happen when we hear of out-of-the-box (or, in this case, in-the-tent) ideas for human resource management and organizational development. We won't necessarily want to sign up for Team Tactics' cuddle party - yet we can observe our reactions and think about what would happen... if we did.

...cuddling, and particularly skin on skin contact, promotes Oxytocin and Serotonin release.  Oxytocin has physical and psychological effects on the brain, including influencing social behavior and emotion, whilst Serotonin is the hormone which allows humans to feel happiness...  - Team Tactics

From my limited education in sociology, I do know there are cultures, societies, communities, what have you, which would not scoff at workplace cuddling events. I doubt these populations would be found in most parts of the industrialized "advanced" western hemisphere, where touch of any kind from another human being is often associated with sexual intercourse, and, even more tragic - often not the consenting variety type. Take a look at the online responses to Evil HR Lady's posting, and you will see an enormous amount of pain being expressed from people simply visualizing touch from another person and the ensuing psychological damage they imagine would occur.

Of course, anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of HR laws in the United States will know that any touching of a co-worker, no matter how innocently intended, is strictly off limits and cause for the company being required to investigate the incident, with termination of the offender not far behind. Same goes for verbal comments, and even too-long glances at a co-worker - all have been determined in our society to be just plain wrong. But it does cause one to also think: how did we get here? And what would happen if we actually could cuddle our co-workers - with no sexual molestation thoughts or fears among anyone in the group?  What would really happen, then?  

At the beginning of the day there will be a group admission session, where co-workers will talk about the negative traits of their colleagues and address any issues within work they'd like to discuss. This is to clear the air and allow you to feel more at ease with each other going into the day. During the last hour of the day, there will also be a group cuddling session, as well as a conflict resolution cuddle session.  - Team Tactics

Is this the cold, disengaged reality on your estate?
In a country where study after study, including the infamous and recent Gallup study reported by Psychology Today which showed that 70% of the American workforce is disengaged from their jobs (including 18% which are classified as actively disengaged, which means, yes, I'm afraid to tell you, Citizens, their anger at their workplaces is so intense they are actively sabotaging their teams - and the estates which they work for), and where the anger workers have for their jobs are seemingly worn like a badge of honor, I wonder if the traditional team building army of consultants and activities are, well, not always working out for us so well?

How did our society get to this place of such overwhelming hatred for our jobs and our workplaces - and such intense pain at the thought of being touched by another human?  Could the two be connected in any way? 

Could Team Tactics be on to something?

What say you?  As always, The Citizen welcomes your comments!

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