Is your personality type a match for remote work?
by Michele Majul-Ibarra
In my last article, “New COVID-19 work norms,” I briefly touched on some of the challenges of working from home. There are some logistical challenges involved such as space, access to technology, boundaries, etc. Despite some of the challenges, did you know that working from home is actually an advantage for a certain personality type?
Personality refers to a person’s pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make them unique. There are multiple kinds of personalities we encounter in our daily lives. If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator, then you probably have heard that it is one of the most widely used personality type assessments, encompassing 16 total personality types. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung originated the theory of psychological type. He wrote that, “what appears to be random behaviour is actually the result of differences in the way people prefer to use their mental capacities.” He observed that each person has a different way of energizing themselves. For example “extraversion” is when a person draws energy from the external world. “Introversion” is the opposite.
You can tell the difference between extroverts and introverts by the way they behave. Extroverts mainly engage others in conversation and they like to socialize for hours on end. Introverts don’t mind socializing and chatting. They may get engaged for a while, but at some point, they may get tired of the chitchat and call it a day. After a while of talking with people, extroverts may leave the conversation feeling more energized, while an introvert may leave feeling drained. Contrary to popular belief, an introvert is not necessarily a shy person. Being shy is the fear of social judgment and being timid in the company of people. Being introverted means you think quietly before you speak and you take calculated risks. At the end of a social engagement, an introvert may require some much needed quiet time to recharge their energy. With COVID-19 in mind, introverts may actually have more advantage than extroverts during isolation.
Working from home means there are no visits from chatty co-workers. Other than family members, introverts won’t have to talk to many people at all. There may be conference calls here and there, but that is a given. With less small talk, introverts are able to focus on the task at hand with no interruption. This is an opportunity for them to be productive.
Introverts are self-sufficient
We know that extroverts draw energy from others. As such, they may prefer to brainstorm ideas by talking it out with a colleague. Working from home may give introverts an advantage because they are resourceful. They find ways to research information without having to engage in too much discussion with their colleagues.
Downtime is a no-brainer
For extroverts, social interaction is of high importance. Before the pandemic, drinks with friends on a Friday night may have been a regular routine for most extroverts as their way to get some downtime at the end of the workweek. With the current pandemic situation, their interactions are limited, with bars and restaurants closed. On the other hand, the introvert’s downtime is much easier during lockdown. All they need to do is sit on the couch with a good book and a good glass of wine and voila, it’s downtime mode!
Being in quarantine is not an easy thing for anyone regardless of personality type. The important trait we all need to practice right now is resilience. All we can do at this point is to make the best of our current situation and maintain a positive outlook as we adjust our lifestyle to fit our world’s need to survive.
This article is intended for information purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice.
Michele Majul-Ibarra, IPMA-ACP holds an Advanced Certified HR Professional Designation with the International Personnel Management Association. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org