I wrote a few weeks ago about the differences between French-Swiss working culture, and UK culture. These were my first observations, and as I've spent more time in the office, I've started to notice more differences.
The one thing that really stands out to me is the kissing. There is so much more kissing in the office! I'm not talking about a full on French kiss, of course. Just kisses on the cheek. Although given a Swiss greeting is three kisses, it can mean an awful lot of time spent kissing people. My company shares an office with a partner company, so there are even different cultures within the two teams. For example, my team does an awful lot less kissing than the other.
One person stands out to me. Every morning, this French gentleman comes in and greets every woman in the office with three kisses. I spent Friday morning counting the number of kisses. He reached 42 kisses while I was watching.
While a friendly greeting can be very pleasant in the office, my more restrained, British background says to me that this can be inappropriate. I'm not sure I want to kiss everyone I meet, partly because of the amount of time it takes! An hour a day could be wasted just in greetings.
The other problem I find is that a kissing culture can make people feel uncomfortable. Greeting friends and family with a kiss is one thing, but would you want to kiss your boss every day? I wonder if it leaves the door open for boundaries to be blurred. There have been so many stories in the news about inappropriate relationships at work, and how some bosses have abused their position. Perhaps kisses do stop at kisses, but maybe it's also a slippery slope?