Does your personality type influence how you work from home? The situation we currently find ourselves in is anything but expected. And yet, you are probably reacting in a predictable way.
The research behind Myers-Briggs Personality Type claims that each of us have innate preferences that influence our response to any situation. Given how many of us are now thrust into so much change, knowing exactly what we need personally will both preserve our well-being and help us to be more supportive for our colleagues, direct reports, and teams.
In a recent article, The Myers-Briggs Company published the following tips based on each personality preference.
- Ensure that you can, and you do, connect, and communicate frequently with others. Schedule regular informal remote meetings and get-togethers.
- Include and connect with your Introverted colleagues too – don’t assume they don’t want to hear from you!
- Make your home working environment stimulating. For example, play music, or take regular breaks in a different room, or outside, or with your family.
- If you need to do focused work, plan the times, and find a place where you can avoid distractions.
- Find a place to work that is quiet and as free from distractions as possible. If you need to block out noise, consider using headphones.
- Without people around, you could get too absorbed in your work. Take breaks, have lunch, talk to or message someone.
- Allow yourself time to reflect during the day. Perhaps go for a walk, or just move away from your computer.
- Don’t forget to make time to engage and communicate with your colleagues, especially those with Extraversion preferences.
- Keep focused on the big picture. Ask for direction if you get lost in details or specifics.
- In the initial stages of a crisis, the practical details of what needs to be done might be unclear – but more clarity should come with time.
- Some people with a Sensing preference might become fixated on getting the details of their work right, or getting their physical workspace perfect, or find they are snacking too much. Stop, take a break, and ensure you maintain contact with others.
- Set aside a specific amount of time for researching or developing a project, and stop and move on when this is over.
- Find out which channels are available to communicate your ideas. Make full use of them.
- Working remotely, it is easy for ideas to go into a ‘black hole.’ Follow up, seek feedback, and check there has been action.
- There may be a temptation to over-complicate things, piling one idea upon another. Getting together (virtually) with someone with a Sensing preference may help move things forward.
- Make full use of online tools for collaboration, brainstorming, and idea generation with others.
- Without the social cues of face-to-face contact, the online communication of Thinking individuals can be very direct, task-focused, and impersonal. So, don’t forget greetings in emails – allow time for social niceties in video or voice conversations.
- Misunderstandings can easily occur in remote communication, for many reasons. Don’t immediately assume that the other person is incompetent.
- State things clearly and persevere when communicating remotely. Without direct contact, you need to bring others along with you in order to achieve your goals.
- Make the reasons for the decisions you take clear and allow time for others to comment.
- Ensure attention is paid to your own needs. These may not be as visible to others when working remotely.
- Build on your existing network of relationships to gain co-operation.
- Misunderstandings can easily occur in remote communication, for many reasons. Don’t immediately assume that the other person has a hidden agenda or is out to get you.
- Find ways to make sure that your team and organization celebrate success and show appreciation for effort – including your own contribution.
- If you find you are suddenly and unexpectedly working from home, get into a new homeworking routine quickly. Make sure that your organization facilitates this.
- Maintain a structured day and set boundaries around working hours to keep ‘work’ and ‘home’ separate. If possible, have a separate area or office for work.
- Set clear, realistic goals and priorities at the start of each day.
- Some of your Perceiving colleagues may begin to adopt more flexible working hours. If you receive an email or IM from them late at night, it’s not necessarily urgent!
- Working remotely, it might be difficult to be casually playful or light-hearted with colleagues. Make full use of video conferencing and other media to keep in touch. Be spontaneous.
- Keep sight of overall deadlines, but maintain variety day to day – for example, by moving between projects.
- While remaining aware of meetings and other commitments, allow yourself breaks and make use of the flexibility of home working. Go for a walk, bake a cake, do whatever works for you.
- With flexibility comes responsibility. Be respectful of other’s working patterns; for example, set a delay if you are sending an email at midnight.
When we are aware of our own needs and tendencies, we are more confident, compassionate leaders for others. Take this time to reflect on your personality type and be patient with yourself. Regardless of your individual type preferences, remember that we are all in this together.
The Myers-Briggs Company. (n.d.). Virtual Delivery and MBTI Type. Retrieved April 10, 2020, from The Myers-Briggs Company: https://www.themyersbriggs.com/download/item/A09B49DD7EDD428EB319047708ABFA7E