I’ve been speaking about this for years. I feel strongly that we are made to be touched. Hey, I even like to hug! Yes, I like to reach out and hug people - touch people and shake a hand. That comes naturally within my family and with many of my friends. I also know that not everyone is comfortable with it and I’m good with that too. I know my limits and I always respect a person’s space. And for some, I also know that a handshake is the most I can expect.
But did you know that many post World War II infants’ experienced abandonment and touch deprivation issues that led to serious developmental problems? Newborn babies and infants who ended up in orphanages and institutions suffered mental and physical illnesses, social problems, and many other related disabilities.
For the most part, these children had their physical needs met but their emotional needs were lacking. Some observations suggest that as many as 30 percent of these types of emotionally-deprived infants eventually died because of the lack of human touch.
And the broad spectrum of developmental problems that stemmed from limited human touch was largely viewed as permanent and pervasive. The lack of appropriate human contact at a very early age leads to serious developmental issues.
You may have similar concerns brought about by the far-reaching impact of technologies used in our everyday lives and to improve safety performance. There are numerous handheld applications that help to make safety communications and reporting more efficient, but relationships can and will suffer, particularly if we don’t take deliberate actions that put us in direct contact with others. Technological improvements and current e-learning advancements bring about similar challenges where personal interactions and face-to-face activities are lacking.
We are living within a society that is losing touch with people in more ways than one - so go ahead - reach out and touch someone. We all need to be touched!
We need human touch from our leaders and peers. Touch helps us to connect with others in ways that help to repair, rebuild or build relationships. Touch helps us to show empathy, understanding, and at times it’s symbolic, signaling a beginning or end to something important.
Touch brings people together and improves our ability to influence individuals and groups. To get our message through to people who need to know that working safely is the right thing to do - all of the time! And for people who feel comfortable with this kind of contact, touch helps lead individuals to work safer on a day-to-day basis.
Try to remove human touch from the lives of some of the toughest individuals in the world - within our armed services and from various elite levels of sport - it just won’t work!
Human touch may have a temporary affect, but the lack of it is permanent. Sorry HR and labor law attorneys, I promote appropriate touching in the workplace and I’ll keep hugging as much as possible.
How about you - don’t you think we’re losing touch, too?