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.
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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.

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.

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.

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.

It varies from the “cognitive trust” – which springs from reliability and competence. Both are influential to performance, but affective trust tends to be more salient for a team at the beginning of a relationship, according to studies.

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IDEAS

Linus Pauling
“If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas.”

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 established in advance, and employees are trained for the same, but current circumstances are not allowing for any transition time.

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