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I have just joined a company. What I have seen there is that our seniors regularly come to my seat and shake hands with me and all. Do I also need to do the same and shake hands with all employees on the floor, or is it just the duty of senior employees?

Will it create a good impression to go to each and every one's seat to shake hands with them and wish them good morning? There are far more experienced persons there on the floor.

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    Try that in Sweden and people will call emergency services since you're clearly having a stroke. – pap Oct 18 '12 at 11:51
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    what do you mean by "regularly" ? is it the same people over and over? – enderland Oct 18 '12 at 14:45
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    IIRC in Japan you're supposed to loudly say "good morning" at the whole office when you come in. Even if you're the first person in the office. So yeah, cultures can be weird. – Tacroy Oct 18 '12 at 15:40
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    too localised. Would depend on the country, company culture, etc. etc. etc. I've never seen people shake hands with coworkers at the start of the day, you say good morning or hi to those you meet on the way to your desk (if you know or recognise them) and that's about it. – jwenting Oct 19 '12 at 6:46
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    Like @pap wrote, try this in Sweden and people will consider you extremely strange. On the other hand, if you work in Germany and don't shake hands with your coworkers the first time you meet them every day, you would be considered quite rude (at least according to a coworker who has spent some time working in Germany). – Leo Oct 19 '12 at 12:19
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The answer almost certainly depends on what country you're in. It doesn't say on your profile, so here's an answer from where I am (Australia - though I would assume it's similar for most English speaking countries).

Shaking everyone's hands at the beginning of the day isn't normal anywhere I've worked - In Australia shaking hands is usually for the first time you meet, or perhaps if you haven't met in a while.

I would say it's likely that the managers are just doing this to introduce themselves the new guy. Although you say "regularly" I would guess that:

  • Different senior employees are introducing themselves each time (the same person introducing themselves again the next day would seem strange)
  • The same senior employee might come by again for more handshakes if they're bringing someone else with them to introduce.
  • The hand-shaking visits will probably drop off after you've been there for a few weeks
  • If the company is large, the senior employee may reacquaint themselves with the rest of your team at the same time.

Since you're new, you might want to introduce yourself to others in the company. With small companies, you can meet and shake hands with everyone in the first couple of days. For practical reasons, in a large company I would only introduce myself to the people who I interact with during the day - whether they're people I work with or just someone I happen to be making coffee next to in the break room. Just say "Hi, I'm the new guy, " and shake their hand.

How do I start the day?

Usually, I'd just say "Good morning" or "Hello" to the people I see on the way in and my team when I arrive at my desk. But don't worry about it too much. There isn't an expected morning tradition - just smile and say hello when you arrive.

5

I applaud your bravery sir, but it's usually safer to start by introducing yourself (as the "New Guy") to the co-workers in your immediate vicinity, and then let job function help you cross other people's paths.

Remember that

  1. Senior members of staff could have different motives for coming up to a set of employees at certain times in the day, not just to be nice. They could be subtly reminding their juniors to get something done, or be checking in on them, or do so because they may not get the chance to touch base with those people for the rest of the day/week
  2. It's the morning and everyone should have stuff to do. So not everyone will appreciate the interruption of a greeting in their morning ritual.
  3. The fact remains that some people will rather keep their distance until they have business with you. That's just people

Marching up to everyone's desk first thing in the morning can easily make you come off as overbearing. Or just creepy.

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    I agree with creepy..... – Greg McNulty Oct 18 '12 at 18:29
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As noted in other answers, your culture may dictate this. Not yet noted, is that religion may also. Currently, I share working space with (amongst others) a woman whose religion doesn't permit such contact with men other than her husband, so - since I'm a man - it would be a problem if I would try to shake hands with her.

I've spent all my career in the United States and have never shaken hands with co-workers, bosses, etc. as a regular way to start the day. I've also traveled to France for business purposes a couple times and do not recall it being done there either. In both places just saying a "Good Morning" (or "Bonjour") have been perfectly acceptable ways to greet co-workers at the start of the workday (assuming you're starting it in the morning! ;-).

It is common, in my experience, to shake hands upon a first introduction to someone you don't know, or when renewing an acquaintance you've not seen in some time.

  • Almost 3 years later and I get a downvote? Why? – GreenMatt Jun 30 '15 at 17:40
  • Maybe because you didn't notice the French usage of shaking co-workers hands every morning, not to mention that might also be cheek kissing if at least a woman is involved in the greeting. – jlliagre Jan 1 at 15:59
  • Granted, it is now almost 2 decades since my work trips to France, but I think I didn't notice because it wasn't happening - especially the cheek kissing, which I am pretty sure I would have noticed. Then again, I was working with scientists and IT folks: there were low numbers of females in the group and (if the stereotype holds in France as it does in the U.S.), they aren't as physically affectionate as the broader population. – GreenMatt Jan 3 at 20:34
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Will it create a good impression to go to each and every one's seat to shake hands with them and wish them good morning?

Are other people your level doing this? Or do people look at you with the look like - geeez, what's your problem, how come you didn't shake everyone's hand this morning?

If this is not some (strange) company culture/tradition, see below:

The way you describe it, sounds like the reality of this is more of a status action.

Think of them shaking your hand as saying, welcome inexperienced one, glad to have you here!...and o yeah, just to let you know I'm the boss around here.

So unless you want to send that same message I would stay away from doing that on your own initiative.

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Watch what your (non-senior) co-workers do. From your description, it sounds like they don't shake each other's hands every morning. If that's the case, it would be a bit odd for you to do so.

You don't have to imitate your peers, but it's reasonably safe to do so -- and if you're unsure of the culture, watching how everyone else behaves is probably the best way to learn about it.

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I'd probably ask a co-worker or my supervisor in terms of what would they suggest you do. I could easily see this vary from company to company even within a small geographic area as it depends a lot on the company culture. If the company is all about staying in touch, quite literally, then I could see that being what happens at the start of a work day. On the other hand, I could picture other companies where everyone works a bit like a zombie and rarely acknowledges co-workers unless something is needed.

I'd likely be quite hesitant to enforce this as there may be someone in a meeting or out and thus you'd have to adjust the plan. Some people may like it and so perhaps you end up with a list of those that would like a handshake or high-five as a way to start the day. In previous work places, I did have some co-workers that would say "Good morning" to each and every person in the office while others would just say "Good morning" to those that were seen on their way in the office so they didn't intentionally go and take a tour of all the offices in this latter case.

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I've worked for a number of companies in several countries. In one small company in India there was a guy who greeted everyone individually at the start of his day, and then shook hands and said "good night" to everyone at the end of his day (which could get terribly annoying if I was traveling in the same company van as him, with an hour ride home, waiting for him to shake everyone's hand before we could leave.)

In most places when people drift in they greet people who work near them, often as a group with, "good morning guys," people they might pass on the way to their workspace, but not much outside that. And no hand shaking, unless it's an individual ritual between any two people.

Right now I work for a small company and not many people greet each other. I'm always the first one in, so there's no one where when I arrive. The next guy in is a buddy, so he greets me and we go fix some cups of tea together...

I say "good morning" to people as they arrive if they come near my desk, some respond, some don't. One does, unless she sees a closer friend of hers in the office, in which case I might as well be invisible.

  • 1
    Welcome to The Workplace Kevin! This is an anecdote more than an answer to the question. We expect our answers to address the question directly and constructively. This anecdote shares much good information but does not directly answer the question. Please edit your answer to directly address the question and use the anecdote to support that answer. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 18 '12 at 14:29

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