How to Express Appreciation While Working Remotely

It’s abundantly clear—2020 has not shaped up to meet anyone’s expectations! When we rang in the new year in January, very few of us expected to be navigating the challenges of an ongoing pandemic many months later. Nevertheless, here we are, working hard, innovating and discovering new solutions for challenging situations.

The Rise of Working Remotely

One innovation sweeping the workforce has been remote work. When stay-at-home orders were put in place, many employers quickly figured out ways to connect with and manage teams from a distance. Now it seems working from home may become standard practice for many as teams learn how to function, and even thrive, from afar.

There are many benefits of a remote work environment for both employers and employees such as lower overhead costs for rental space, decreased commute time, and, some studies show, greater employee efficiency. But one of the challenges of working remotely is maintaining a culture of community and appreciation even without face-to-face interactions.

As you may know, one way the Juice team stays connected is through reading together (we’ve studied motivation, habits, perseverance and more). Right now we’re reading The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White. It’s a take on the 5 love languages, a theory about showing love for others in a way that is personal to them—but this particular book is through the lens of workplace appreciation instead.

Showing Appreciation for Remote Coworkers

Appreciating coworkers and employees isn’t just for those working together in person, of course. Traditionally, we’ve had many opportunities to connect in the workplace, whether that’s through catching up after a meeting or dropping off a cup of coffee to a coworker’s cubicle. But when most of our work takes place remotely, those opportunities no longer exist.

This doesn’t mean we can’t connect or show appreciation, though. Instead, it gives us the opportunity to be proactive and to look for unconventional ways to appreciate our work team. It isn’t impossible to show appreciation from a distance, after all. It’s just different.

Here’s a list of the 5 languages of appreciation along with some suggestions for implementing the appreciation even when working remotely:

Words of Affirmation

  • connect and encourage each other over chat platforms, video conferencing, emails, mail, etc.
  • allow for time to “catch up” during virtual meetings

Quality Time

  • give the other person your undivided attention (no checking emails or clicking around during calls!)
  • participate in a virtual book club as a team

Acts of Service

  • take care of menial tasks for others so they can concentrate on bigger projects
  • be flexible and considerate of their time/schedule when setting up meetings

Tangible Gifts

  • give a gift card to their favorite place
  • purchase something for them that may be hard to find in their area

Physical Touch

  • make an effort to smile, communicate with warmth
  • give virtual high fives

Of course, the common thread that makes each of these actions truly effective is the element of personal relationship. Simply completing an act of appreciation to check it off a list is ineffective and can even damage a relationship. So take a moment to consider who your coworker is as a person, not just in the context of business. Knowing and caring about each other is a gift in and of itself. An authentic relationship is the best cornerstone for any language of appreciation.

Which of the 5 languages of appreciation in the workplace resonates with you? Which do you think your coworkers would enjoy most?