According to a 2017 Gallup study 43% of American workers report spending at least part of their week working remotely. The study also found that 80-90% reported that they would like to work remotely at least part-time. Telework has become a new reality that is redefining work relationships. The author in this study explored whether employees who work remotely have different preferred languages of appreciation than those working in the face-to-face settings. Communicating appreciation is considered one of the 12 core elements that increase employee engagement.
It is also identified as the most important factor associated with employees enjoying their job. However, expressing appreciation is not a common practice between coworkers or between managers and subordinates. The author studied several forms/languages of appreciation, including words of affirmation (using different channels to communicate praise), quality time (hanging out with coworkers, scheduling a call to chat about non-work-related topics), acts of service (scheduling a call or meeting when it is convenient for coworkers), and tangible gifts.
The author sampled 2,640 participants who work remotely and 86,393 individuals who work onsite from 2014 to 2018. There was no difference between the two groups regarding gender ratio. There were more people in the 30- to 39-year-old age group who worked remotely.
1.) Both groups prefer words of affirmation the most, quality time the second most frequently, acts of service third and tangible gifts the least.
2.) More teleworkers chose quality time as their preferred way of being appreciated compared to workers on site.
3.) Fewer teleworkers chose words of affirmation or acts of service as their primary language of appreciation compared to workers on site.
Implications for Practice
Employers should 1.) be proactive in communicating appreciation to remote workers, and 2.) create quality time for remote workers by keeping them up-to-date through virtual meetings and checking in to compensate for the lack of short-chance encounters that typically occur in face-to-face settings.
Location of Article
This article is available online at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/SHR-03-2018-0018/full/html (abstract free, purchase full article)