Love is in the air…and you’re stuck at work. This reminds me of the time I locked myself out of my car on Valentine's Day: a dark parking lot, myself, my husband and our locksmith… how romantic! Since you’re here, better make the most of it. How can one be festive at work with COVID in full swing again? The answer is simple: love on your coworkers, even the ones that seem hard to love.
The 5 Love Languages
Surprisingly, the 5 Love Languages have proven to be extremely accurate, tried and true methods for showing love. Not just for your significant other; the 5 love languages can be used with your coworkers as well.
Here is the low-down on each one in case you aren’t familiar with them:
Quality time means showing appreciation by providing your undivided attention. It is a chance to use those active listening skills you learned in nursing school in everyday life.
Acts of Service is just what it sounds like, you are giving love through actions that show appreciation and solidarity.
Physical touch, this does not need to mean intimate touching. It can mean offering a hug if a coworker is open to physical touch. Recognizing whether a coworker likes to be hugged when they are upset or stressed can be a great way to show your support in the workplace.
Receiving gifts may be what someone needs to be convinced that you truly do care. These gifts don’t necessarily need to be expensive. Something simple is enough to suffice.
Words of affirmation are also a great tool to use when showing your appreciation. Spoken and/or written words of affirmation go a long way with folks in this category. They feel appreciated and supported when they know where they stand as both a nurse and as a co-worker.
5 Love Languages at Work
Now that you know what the 5 Love Languages are, here is how you can apply them on the floor or in the office:
Quality Time. Sharing quality time at work can happen outside of socializing in the breakroom. Put down what you are doing to kindly educate a newer nurse. Allow a student or graduate nurse to be hands-on while sharing your knowledge. Take a few minutes every shift to catch up with coworkers or ask how everything is going. This can also be accomplished through sharing space, for example, helping to hold a patient while your co-worker performs their duties to that patient. Spending some time with someone and freely giving them your attention is all that is required to gain another work bestie with our “quality time” people.
Acts of Service. Have you ever hung a bag of fluids for your co-worker who is busier than you are? Run a specimen down to the lab for someone? Agreed to help turn a patient that isn’t yours? This is how we spread love via acts of service. Simple. Straightforward. Impactful.
Physical Touch. As mentioned earlier, recognizing this quality in others is important to keep work relationships healthy. Think about this in terms of your coworker having a rough shift. If you notice your non-hugger is crying, do you jump into their space and hug it out with them? No. On the flip side, if you are a hugger and you’re having that rough day, how would it make you feel if a non-hugger got out of their comfort zone to give you a big bear hug? I would imagine that would make you feel pretty awesome.
Receiving Gifts. Want to show this coworker some love? Grab a small gift card for coffee or to your favorite scrub store and slip it in a thank you card. Make them something if you’re a crafter. Give them a badge reel. Let them know you appreciate them with gifts of gratitude.
Words of Affirmation. Tell your coworker what a great job they have done and ask others to chime in verbally. Write a simple post-it note or offer kudos within your work’s digital appreciation system if it has one.
How Will You Show Your Coworkers Love?
Hopefully, you now have a few new ideas on improving morale at work. Decide how you will implement showing love and appreciation with the 5 Love Languages, and try it! This is a great way to combat workplace bullying, and will help build a better workplace culture. Want to know your love language? Take this quiz to find out. What are your insights and ideas on how to spread love and harmony at work?
Courtney Edmonson is a health writer/ critical care nurse who enjoys spending as much time as possible with her family and extended fur family. Cooking, gardening, and taking in the great outdoors is held in higher regard than the rewarding career she currently pursues.