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The personalities that benefit most from remote work

Getting into remote working

Getting into remote working

Workers around the globe have been forced to take on the promise and challenges of virtual teamwork.

Many people are more used to working in person and haven't had the opportunity to prepare for a productive virtual working culture. Getting into a rhythm of remote working with a team can be challenging, especially with many different personalities and aptitudes.

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The personalities that benefit most from remote work

The personalities that benefit most from remote work

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200601-the-personalities-that-benefit-most-from-remote-work

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Getting into remote working

Workers around the globe have been forced to take on the promise and challenges of virtual teamwork.

Many people are more used to working in person and haven't had the opportunity to prepare for a productive virtual working culture. Getting into a rhythm of remote working with a team can be challenging, especially with many different personalities and aptitudes.

Working well

Virtual teamwork places greater emphasis on communication and organization.

Over the short-term, newly formed virtual teams experience more negative outcomes, such as team conflict, lower satisfaction, less knowledge sharing, and poorer performance. But, they will adapt and improve over time.

Adapting quickly

At an individual level, some people will find it easier to adapt than others.

  • A study revealed that when people are imaginative and enjoying a new challenge, they are happier to embrace virtual teamwork.
  • Extroverted individuals prefer face-to-face work, and virtual work may lessen the energy they get from social interaction.
  • Introverts are better at adapting to a virtual environment as it involves less face-to-face interaction.
  • Those who like to make quick decisions prefer virtual teams.

Changing personalities

Some initial findings suggest that adapting to virtual collaboration may be changing our personalities.

  • Students that participated in one study scored lower on agreeableness - a main personality trait - after a period of virtual working,
  • They also grew more extroverted and open-minded.
  • Students with more extreme personality scores, such as low agreeableness or strong extroversion, came out f the experience closer to the average.

Optimizing work for all

There are established ways to cultivate positive team cultures, even virtually.

  • Schedule time for virtual water-cooler chats.
  • Consider how you're going to work together and what the rules of engagement will be.
  • Introduce a daily stand-up meeting, no more than 15 minutes, during which each member says what they did yesterday, what they plan for today, and outlines obstacles.

The aim of stand-up meetings, informal virtual chats, and other new routines is to help people feel they are part of a team, which will increase mutual trust - a hallmark of a high-functioning team.

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Personal Connection

A sense of connection and belonging are sentiments that are helpful for building “affective trust” – a form of trust based on emotional bond and interpersonal relatedness.

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Statistics On Remote Workers
  • Loneliness was reported as the biggest downside for 21% of remote employees, and one of the reasons that makes them more likely to quit.
  • Most remote managers say they’d be more inclined to stay if they had more friends at work.
  • Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues have a 20% increase in performance over their peers who don't.
  • Positive social relationships are correlated with better life expectancy.
Dynamic Icebreakers

If your icebreaker questions are intriguing, cheeky, humorous – the answers you receive will be, too.

Many remote teams will kick off their weekly meeting with an icebreaker question or insert it during their morning stand-up meeting. Even more popular is asking a series of icebreaker questions during the onboarding process when hiring someone.

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Working Remotely

There is ongoing turbulence in the workplace due to the uncertainties provided by the new virus, resulting in a whole lot of people working from home. Normally the work-from-home policies are esta...

Common Challenges of Remote Work

Even high-performing employees can face a decline in job performance and engagement when working remotely. This can be due to:

  • Lack of face-to-face supervision, which leads to a two-way communication gap and even mistrust.
  • There is a delay in the procurement of information as remote workers aren’t able to sense the atmosphere and real-time events at the workplace, leading to a lack of ‘mutual knowledge’.
  • A sense of isolation among remote workers, leading to a feeling of less belongingness within the organization.
  • Distractions at home due to unplanned work-from-home transition, with employees balancing childcare and many other responsibilities along with work.
Improving Engagement And Productivity

A few specific, research-backed steps that can be taken to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees:

  • Establishing Structured Daily check-ins, by establishing a daily call or touchpoint.
  • Providing several different communication technology options, using virtual communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc., and making use of video conferencing.
  • Establishing clear rules of engagement for communicating with the coworkers or the managers, according to the levels of urgency.
  • Providing opportunities for remote social interaction by talking about non-work activities, thereby reducing the feeling of isolation among remote workers.
  • Offering encouragement and emotional support by listening to the workers, acknowledging their stress, and keeping their needs and issues in focus.
Early times

Before the Industrial revolution, everyone worked out of their home and sold their goods from there. With the Industrial Revolution came the need for automation and factories, and employ...

From factories to cubicles to WiFi

Just after WW2, there was a rise in corporate headquarters and larger office spaces and cubicles. During this time, the 8-hour workday was established.

Then came the advancements in computers and technology that lead to remote workers of today. The internet and public WiFi allowed employees to do everything they would in their cubicle, but outside the office. They can also work all hours of the day.

Remote work is common

4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

Remote workers tend to have higher engagement rates and higher productivity levels. Once they switch to remote work, they rarely want to become office bound again.

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Make Time To Connect

Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.

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Communication
  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability
Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

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Extroverts Working Remotely
Extroverts Working Remotely

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Daily Morning Huddle with Coffee Chats

An informal daily huddle where everyone is face-to-face in a virtual meeting, holding a fresh cup of coffee is a great way to start the day with purpose and energy. It requires everyone to wake up early, get dressed and make a cup of coffee.

A morning routine is great for productivity too.

Dance Parties And Music Playlists

Infusing music and dance in your breaks can add a sense of pleasure in the otherwise dull and drab routine, enhancing the immediate virtual surrounding of the extroverts.

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The shared context

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Working from home misconceptions

Working from home does not mean you are a remote worker. For a lot of people “working from home” is synonymous with not really working, but instead sitting at home in comfy clothes and doing anything but working. Because no one is really watching you.

Rules for remote work
  • Assume remote, even if you have only 1 person that is not coming to the office. So make sure to share all the information from meetings in a written format.
  • Have a private, quiet, dedicated space for working in your home. Preferably with a door that closes.
  • Have the right digital equipment.
  • Over-communicate.
  • Make sure you get to actual meet your colleagues face to face.
  • Have a time overlap with your team.

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Separate Your Work and Home
Separate Your Work and Home

Simple activities make our workday at home effective:

  • Make a clear transition from home to work, by waking up, getting ready and having breakfast on time.
  • Do not check your...
Set An Agenda

Make a to-do list a day before and start without friction in the morning with complete clarity.

Having a structure of the day helps in your productivity, and gets you to finish your important tasks on time.

Disconnect From Work

Try to block some time off your workday to have a stroll outside, or to make coffee, or a midday lunch break. This brings the day under your control.

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Tips On Working From Home
  • Choose a place in your home or a corner that can be a make-shift office, preferably not around the living or lobby area where other people can potentially interrupt.
  • Take...
Adapting To Working From Home

A remote worker has a constant blind-spot and is not able to use their full senses to gauge and tweak their work. This also makes them anxious and feel disconnected from the office proceedings. If handling a team remotely, ensure that the reporting/tracking of their work is transparent.

It helps to come prepared in meetings and answer questions in writing while providing a trace of context in your email/chat. Having a preset plan covering a couple of days helps reduce the constant interactions. 

Transparency of communication ensures minimum ambiguity. 

Equipment At Home

Use video communication as it provides an emotional connection with the team, ensuring that the equipment is working properly and there is no echo on the microphone/headphone.

Have at least two modes of internet connections available, broadband/fiber along with wi-fi.

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A Central Management Tool
A Central Management Tool

Physical presence does play a large part in moving our projects forward. Managing a project remotely requires a diligent and transparent approach to keep track and maintain the various tasks, deadl...

Keep teammates accountable

Creating accountability is a great way to manage the work remotely. Accountability is shifted to the teammates, who are now supposed to be responsible for their own work and decisions.

One way to build accountability in remote teams is to assign groups and let teammates hold each other responsible. Also make teammates share their work experience and any issues they face, publicly (within the team) so that it acts as a ready solution for others, reducing repeat work.

Document Everything

Even if the team is small, document, formalize and map each process, making it scalable and automatic.

Standard Operating Procedures, if used correctly in a remote setting, can act like a central nervous system.

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22% of Americans work from home

.... while nearly 50% are involved with remote or virtual team work.

This continuing shift calls for a new range of behaviors and skills.

Communication challenges for remote teams
  • Body language. Even when we share the same space, the tone of a text or of an email is left wide open to interpretation and can generate anxiety.
  • The delay between our messages can often postpone or hide emotional reactions to our comments. Lacking an immediate response, we can become distracted, second-guess ourselves, or even grow frustrated with our teams.
3 types of distance in remote teams
  • Physical (place and time)
  • Operational (team size, bandwidth and skill levels)
  • Affinity (values, trust, and interdependency).

The best way for managers to drive team performance is by focusing on reducing affinity distance.

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