Different Personality Types CAN be Productive and Work Remotely? Here’s how.

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From time to time discussion is reignited around pros and cons of working remotely. In last week’s Australian Financial Review, Professor John Spoehr director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders Business School stated that the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that around 25% of people who are employed work some hours each week remotely, mostly from home.

As someone who has regularly worked remotely for the last decade I began to consider, is working remotely more productive, is it suited more to people who lean towards being outgoing and extraverted or those who are more reserved and lean to towards being introverted, and what are the latest tips and tricks if these groups choose to work remotely?

On the question of is working remotely more productive, a recent study by Stanford University and Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, found that people working remotely tended to work longer hours—9.5% longer—and were 13% more productive provided people are properly set up to work remotely, in other words working on the kitchen table or sitting on the lounge won’t support you to work productively in the long –term.

On the topic of whether introverts or extroverts are better suited to working remotely research from Harvard Business School, and Michael Segovia, lead trainer for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a widely used personality assessment tool), says that anyone, regardless of their personality, can work from home, however, you have to set things up a little differently for each group.

Main areas common to both types that need to be in place if they want to work remotely successfully are:

  • Prioritise your family and your health
  • A dedicated, organised workspace is required where work can be left and returned to
  • Time needs to be planned, and discipline is required including start and finish times, regular breaks, and non-work activities such as going to the gym
  • Face-to face contact with others is essential for both types
  • Regular engagement with the workplace culture is a necessity.

If you lean towards introversion some specific tips include:

  • Having a quiet space free from interruption. If you are working from home this means not being interrupted by family members
  • Define and apply a clear set of rules that separates work, family, and social life.
  • Communication is vital in any team project, avoid becoming an island. Consider weekly meetings, tele or video conference where questions can be resolved, ideas shared, and solutions formulated.
  • Take regular breaks to re-energise.

If you lean towards extraversion some specific tips include:

  • Know how you are going to get your needs for social interactions met by ensuring you plan out how you intend to interact with others:
    • Formal and informal meetings/ ‘meet ups’
    • Use of social media
  • Be planned and organised
  • Consider dividing your time between working from home and working in a “co-working” space
  • Have the discipline to go-offline for periods of time:
    • Turn your mobile phone off. I use a great app called ‘shush’ where my phone can be silenced for a set period of time, in fact it is on ‘shush’ now
    • Turn off the audible automatic email notification
    • Consider having a dedicated channel for non-work chatter – something like Slack, Hangouts or Skype SMS.

Remote work is both flexible and adaptable to the needs of all personality types, all need alone and social time, just differing amounts.

Viventé Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.