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What is your love language at work?

Do you feel like your supervisor appreciates you? What about your coworkers? It’s no secret that employees who feel appreciated perform better. However, expressing appreciation isn’t always that straightforward. Appreciation has to be conveyed in a way that the person it’s being directed to finds meaningful.

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While many people are familiar with The Five Love Languages when it comes to relationships, this Pacific Prime article adds a professional twist to find out: what is your love language at work?

Understanding the Five Love Languages

Sending your loved one a text or surprising them with a gift are both ways to express your love for a partner, friend, or family member. But showing your appreciation for your colleagues and team in the workplace is not as straightforward.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try. After all, you need to work on your business relationships if you want them to last. That’s where the professional five love languages come in.

The Five Love Languages

Author Gary Chapman popularized the idea of The Five Love Languages in his book of the same name. Published in 1992, the book breaks down five ways that a person would like their partner to express their appreciation. The five behaviors include:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

If you’re not sure what your partner’s love language is, try observing how they display affection towards you. People often show their affection in the way that they actually want to receive it, which makes sense since it is a language they understand.

Why love languages work

With that said, the goal of love languages is to find out your partner’s preference, which may be different from yours. Once you understand how your partner likes to receive affection, you can communicate with them in a more effective way.

For instance, if your love language is Quality Time, you may spend all of your free time with your partner, without even asking if that’s what they want. Even though that is a lovely gesture, imagine you find out your partner’s love language is actually Receiving Gifts. With this knowledge, you can consider surprising your loved one with a present instead.

While you might want to think twice before sending flowers randomly, understanding your coworker’s love language can really help your work relationships grow.

Finding your coworkers’ love language

The premise of love languages is that different people have different preferences for how they give and receive love. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to showing someone that you care, which is advice that is applicable to keeping your coworkers happy. However, since things such as physically touching your coworkers could be taken wrongly, professional love languages require some adaptations.

Words of Affirmation

Are you the kind of colleague who cheers on your teammates or do you prefer to work quietly on your own? Studies have found that giving thanks to your colleagues motivates them and improves morale.

Think about the last time you publicly acknowledged your coworker, if at all. Did you know that nearly half of workers in the U.S. feel underappreciated at work? A company culture of gratitude can prevent these feelings from occurring in the first place.

One way to increase words of affirmation in the workplace is to express team wins in meetings. Make it possible for employees to shout out another for something they did, no matter how big or small. Even acknowledging when someone comes up with a great idea during a meeting or in a Slack channel can have an impact.

Quality Time

You don’t necessarily have to go to lunch or spend time with your coworkers outside of working hours to enjoy “quality time” with them. Instead, you can get to know their goals and make time to help out with their projects. Spending time going over their reports, proofreading their work, and discussing ideas are simple things you can do to increase your time together.

Brainstorming with your teammate is another great way to make them feel valued. A group environment can do wonders for employees that thrive off of collective energy, and results in better output.

Another aspect of quality time is positive work culture. Freedom to discuss topics outside of work, casual get-togethers, and company outings are examples of ways all team members can get some quality time in. Moreover, social activities make colleagues more comfortable with each other, which means they’re more likely to help out or work together when needed.

Receiving Gifts

Giving your colleagues gifts when it’s not their birthday might sound a bit strange. Luckily, this love language can be interpreted for the workplace. The first option is to give something like a gift card or a donation on behalf of the team. Similarly, introducing generous employee perks is another way to go about it. Employees tend to feel valued when they are given supplementary employee benefits such as gym memberships and free food.

Acts of Service

Every office has that one colleague who will go above and beyond to ensure the work is done. It’s likely that Acts of Service is this person’s love language. What this means is that they feel appreciated when other people ask them to help solve a tricky problem or overcome a block.

If you notice that an employee has too much on their plate, you can offer to share the workload. Sometimes, an act of service is as simple as predicting that an employee will need a certain resource and helping them find it ahead of time. Additionally, when a problem comes up, jumping in to help them fix it is a genuine act of service.

Physical Touch (that’s legal)

Due to its nature, this love language takes the most tweaking out of all of them. In the traditional love language philosophy, Physical Touch equates to intimacy. In the workplace, this can involve emotional intimacy instead of physical intimacy, such as by showing empathy.

Being empathetic at work can do wonders for helping employees feel valued, seen, and heard. Taking the time to understand an employee’s situation and helping them work in a way that matches their lifestyle is one way you can speak this love language.

For example, you can offer to take their place during a late meeting if you know their child is waiting to be picked up. Likewise, if a natural disaster happens in one of your remote teammate’s area, you can let them know you’re there for them if they want someone to talk to.

If your coworker battles with mental health issues or chronic illness, create a safe space for them so they feel comfortable sharing their struggles.

Professional love languages and team communication

Which professional love language resonates with you the most?

Take some time to think about what makes you feel most valued at work and discuss it with your manager. More importantly, consider your closest teammates and try to recognize their love language too. You’ll probably find that everyone has a different preference. Communicating with your colleagues in their favorite professional love language may improve collaboration, resulting in a more effective and happier work environment.

How Pacific Prime can help

Whether you’re looking for employee benefits plans or company health insurance, Pacific Prime is here to help. As a leading employee benefits and insurance broker with 20 years of experience, we know how to help you find the right plan for your needs and budget. Contact us to talk to one of our expert advisors or to receive a free, no-obligation quote or plan comparison today.

Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime
Jantra Jacobs is a Senior Copywriter at Pacific Prime with over 10 years of writing and editing experience. She writes and edits a diverse variety of online and offline copy, including sales and marketing materials ranging from articles and advertising copy to reports, guides, RFPs, and more.

Jantra curates and reports on the results of Pacific Prime’s monthly newsletters, as well as manages Pacific Prime’s Deputy Global CEO’s LinkedIn posts. Complemented by her background in business writing, Jantra’s passion for health, insurance, and employee benefits helps her create engaging content - no matter how complex the subject is.

Growing up as a third-culture kid has given her a multicultural perspective that helps her relate to expats and their families while 8 years of working remotely have given her unique insight into hybrid work arrangements and enthusiasm for employee benefits.
Jantra Jacobs
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