Good morning – in German!

Last week I wrote about the value of touch in the workplace. Basically, I’m for handshakes, high fives, pats on the shoulder and even hugs in the workplace as one way of creating and maintaining good workplace relationships and there’s science to indicate the importance and value of touches.

Gaby from Germany wrote this comment on the post:

I once worked for a bank in Germany (well these are two locations in which you would not normally expect “personal affection” ;-)).

The team was large, about 40 people worked in one open space office. It surprised me a lot that every morning, whoever arrived, walked through the whole office and greeted everybody with a handshake and some personal words. It did not matter if the team members came, the bosses from higher up or anybody from another department. It was known everywhere that here you greet everybody personally.

For the first week, I found that very strange and a bit intimidating. Also, it cost a lot of time all in all. Yet afterwards, I really enjoyed it. It gave everybody the chance to get to know the colleagues a bit better, to hear what they are off to or to realize that somebody is not in or just returned from a trip or vacation. There was no need to e-mail weekly lists on who is out when. We just knew it.

Btw, when I moved on to another job, I sort of missed it.

I love it! And in fact, one simple tool we teach people in our speeches and workshops is to greet co-workers with a level-5 good morning. This means a good morning, where you:

  • Make eye contact
  • Add something specific to that person
  • Touch the other person.

How do you greet your co-workers? How do you like to be greeted when you come in in the morning?

9 thoughts on “Good morning – in German!”

  1. Good morning – in UK
    Being a german working occasionally in the UK offices of my company I’m always stunned about the non-existence of greeting. But there’s a reason for this. Because all are working in open space offices everybody is trying to avoid distractions – and saying “Good Morning” or “Good Bye” is one. Whenever somebody comes to work or leaves it’s done without greetings. So the office layout that was thought to ease communication turned into the extreme opposite – and I stand out just because I keep on greeting. Odd.

  2. Good Morning Alex, Good Morning everyone,

    How are you today?

    After waking up tired and unenthusiastic, I did not expect much this morning. Until I opened my e-mails….

    Thanks a lot for sharing my comment with your readers. This really means a lot to me and contributed to my happiness.

    Have a great weekend everyone,

    Gaby (right now in Spain)

  3. I also really enjoyed the original post and Gaby’s comment. It’s amazing what a difference a seemingly small gesture can make, especially if it makes a colleague or co-worker feel like you’re taking an interest in them and their life outside the office. I just started a part-time job about a month ago, and although the company is new and we are still getting to know one another, my co-workers went out of their way to celebrate my birthday when they found out I was turning 30 yesterday. They didn’t do anything crazy; they made me a small ice cream sundae and sang happy birthday, but it made me feel really good about each and every one of them, as well as the workplace in general.

  4. Noel: Happiness at work really is about lots of little things – and being celebrated like you were is definitely one. And happy birthday :o)

  5. I was an instructor when my 2,900 person organization was implementing difficult and painful new software. I was standing behing a woman’s chair, telling her ‘click here, click there.’ I touched her on the shoulder. She fliched, and screamed “Don’t touch me.” Please, no sexual harassment complaints for me. Different strokes.

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