Remote work has long been considered a perk. Employers wove enticing remote benefits into job listings. Companies that allowed permanent full-time remote work were considered progressive. And orgs that didn't offer remote work missed out on a competitive advantage.
But 2020 has flipped the script. Remote work is no longer about convenience or flexibility; it's a matter of public safety. Covid-19 has forced many teams to go remote for the first time.
In a new report, "The Impact of Behavioral Drives in a Remote Workplace," The Predictive Index examined the relationship between employee personality and remote work. The report provides helpful takeaways for remote team managers so they can better optimize their talent.
Here are five key findings:
1. Remote work is entirely new to many people
Thirty-three percent of respondents indicated they'd never worked remotely before Covid-19. In addition, most people stated they feel less confident in their company's business strategy than they did prior to going remote.
These results may vary by industry, but Covid-19 has hit companies indiscriminately, forcing all to adapt. No matter your comfort level with remote work, regular communication is critical to your success. Make use of standups and check-ins to help build trust for the road ahead.
2. Preference for remote meetings varies by personality
When looking to foster strong team communication, always keep in mind the different personalities of your people. According to the report, how well employees respond to remote meetings depends on how they're wired.
Employees who are less extroverted say they feel more heard since moving to remote meetings. These individuals prefer to think things out before talking. So, while in-person meetings may be intimidating to them, the safety of virtual meetings makes discussions more approachable.
By contrast, those who feel less heard in remote meetings tend to be more dominant. These individuals enjoy driving initiatives and influencing outcomes. It's fair to say these personalities love to "control the room," and that becomes a lot harder when the room is virtual.
One way to ensure dominant personalities feel heard is to add ground rules. Decide who'll have the floor in remote meetings, in what order, and for how long. Of course, do so in a way that's fair and inclusive of all participants.
3. Social personalities are the least confident while remote
Whereas dominant employees love influencing outcomes, those with high extroversion love influencing others. So it may come as no surprise that the lack of in-person interaction has taken a toll on these outgoing personalities.
According to the report, social personalities feel the least sure of their actions since going remote. By contrast, those who feel the most confident tend to be introspective, patient, and methodical with their work.
To accommodate social personalities, check in more frequently. You can also use an app to match up interested individuals for virtual coffee chats so team members can have more face time.
4. Analytical personalities see fewer opportunities to collaborate
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is collaboration. When teams span different cities and time zones, it can be difficult to foster the same team cohesion you might have in an office.
The Predictive Index found those who struggle the most are analytical, task-oriented people who enjoy fast-paced work. In the report, 41 percent of analytical respondents said they're collaborating less since working remotely.
Since these personalities are so task-driven, collaboration isn't always a natural part of their workflow. By encouraging remote group collaboration, whether over Google Drive or another shared service, you ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
5. Despite growing pains, most people want to work remotely
Working remotely in a global pandemic hardly qualifies as a perk. Yet for all the challenges, there's upside. In fact, 77 percent of employees say they're content to work from home permanently, either full or part time.
As you determine your long-term plans, keep your people's personalities top of mind. You may not have predicted the shift to remote work, but by understanding your employees' remote preferences, you can ensure a more engaged and productive workforce.