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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Group hugs increase profits
Business News Online staff try out a group hug
Hugs: productivity could increase at BBC News Online
Giving your colleagues a hug first thing in the morning really can boost profits, judging by the experiences of one company.

Workers at Farrelly Facilities and Engineering begin and end the day with an embrace.

It's produced a happier workforce

John Farrelly
Since they started this routine, at the end of 1999, profits at the heating and air conditioning business have more than doubled.

One of the directors, John Farrelly, told BBC News Online that none of the 50 workers was forced to cuddle.

He said: "Certainly everybody begins the day with a friendly gesture.

Staff morale

Footballers celebrating a goal
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"It might be a hug, or it might be a pat on the back, or a handshake."

The idea was introduced by Mr Farrelly's brother, fellow director Jerry Farrelly.

He was persuaded of the benefits of staff hugs on a management course aimed at improving staff morale.

Business nonsense

Group hugging, like fire-walking, could be considered as one of the management fads of the 1980s.

That is certainly the way the St. Luke's advertising agency sees the practice.

In an advertising campaign for BT, it decided to contrast business sense with business nonsense.

One of the images showed staff embracing - with the implication that you could waste your time on weird gimmicks such as group hugging or you could make some sensible business decisions.

Day off for birthdays

At Farrelly Facilities, in Sutton Coldfield, they insist that hugging has helped workers to make the right decisions.

There are other measures too.

People get a day off for their birthdays, exceptional work is rewarded with days off or bonuses, and there are regular company nights out.

John Farrelly says it has all helped to increase profits.

"It's produced a happier workforce and encouraged people to work harder."

Radio 5 Live breakfast
"A hug in the morning..."

Group hugs
The key to a happy workforce?
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