John Hackston of The Myers-Briggs Company discusses the role of personality type in satisfaction with technology and remote work.
Recent researchOpens a new window from The Myers-Briggs Company shows that remote and hybrid workers are less likely to be looking for a new job than are office-based workers. But the study also shows that those who want to leave often cite an interesting reason: they feel their organization has not provided them with the equipment they need to do their job from home.
The Importance of Providing the Right Equipment
The results showed that just over half (54%) of remote and hybrid workers agreed or strongly agreed that their organization had provided them with all the technology and equipment needed to work from home. Compared with others who took part in the study, these people were more likely to be positive about their work, to enjoy their job, and to feel that their organization valued their contribution, and they were less likely to find their work stressful.Â
Significantly, they were also less likely to quit their job. 31% of those who had not been provided with the equipment they needed were looking for a new job, compared with just 16% of those who felt they did have the technology they required. Put simply, they were twice as likely to quit. They were also more than twice as likely to say that they found it difficult to concentrate when working, implying that even those not looking to quit were likely to be less effective in their jobs.
Survey respondents were also asked whether they expected their organization to provide them with all the technology they needed to work from home. Almost two-thirds, 65%, did expect this. Workers in situations where there was a mismatch between expectation and realityâ€“where people were expecting to be supplied with the right tech, but they were notâ€“were again twice as likely as others to be looking to quit.
So, what can organizations do to provide remote and hybrid workers with the right kit? When we asked workers what changes would help, they did not mention specific applications or esoteric equipment. Instead, they had some very straightforward requirements. The top three, in order, were:
- A larger monitor (and, in some cases, multiple monitors). Many worked from a laptop or tablet and found this difficult. Some felt that this was directly affecting their physical well-being.
- A full-size keyboard, docking station, and desktop computer rather than a laptop or tablet.
- Better connectivity. Many struggled with inadequate Wi-Fi or other connection issues.
None of these are likely surprising. Organizations may be wary of the costs of supplying this equipment or the time needed to help employees with connectivity issues, especially in the current financial climate. However, the time and costs are likely to be much less than those incurred by recruiting and training new staff to replace employees who leave.Â
It’s also worth noting that attempting to reduce costs by mandating everyone returns to the workplace is unlikely to be a satisfactory solution. Workers who prefer to spend most of their time working remotely but are forced to be office-based were especially likely to quit their jobs.
The Influence of Personality
Most of those who participated in the research had previously completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment and knew their personality type. The MBTI model looks at four personality preferences:
- Do you pay more attention to the outer world (extraversion) or our inner world of thoughts and feelings (introversion)?
- Do you prefer solid, practical information based on the evidence of your five senses (sensing) or information around connections, possibilities, and the big picture (Intuition)?
- Do you prefer to make decisions based on objective logic (thinking) or your values (feeling)?
- Do you prefer to live in an ordered, structured, planned way (judging) or a more unstructured, emergent, spontaneous way (perceiving)?
People with personality preferences for sensing and thinking were the most likely to agree that their organization had provided them with all the equipment they needed, while those with preferences for Intuition and Feeling were the least likely to agree.Â
This does not mean that these two groups were treated differently but had different impressions of how they were treated. People with sensing and thinking preferences typically respond well to factual, clear, detailed communication, and those with intuition and feeling preferences to messages exploring the big picture reasons for any decision couched in a people-centered way. Where it is not possible to provide people with everything they need to work from home, it will be important to think carefully about how that message comes across.
Getting Video Meetings Right
One aspect of using technology was essential. In many cases, setup and etiquette around video meetings could be improved.Â
- 27% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that video meetings were boring, difficult, or frustrating.Â
- Amongst those with a personality preference for Introversion, this rose to 31%.Â
- Amongst Introverts who were entirely office-based, it rose to 57%.Â
- Those who agreed with this statement also reported being less positive about their work, more stressed, and enjoying their job less.Â
These results strongly suggest that many organizations should improve their etiquette around video meetings and that doing so would allow Introverts to contribute more fully. Extraverts tend to talk things through and may jump into a conversation as soon as they think of something to say; they may talk over and interrupt others. This means they can dominate face-to-face meetings, but the same can happen in remote sessions, perhaps even more so as the etiquette may be less clear. All this means that the role of the meeting leader or facilitator is very important in a video meeting. Some tips:
- An Introvert may jot down notes as they think things over, so it might help to give them a gentle prompt to ask them to share their ideas without putting them on the spot.
- Don’t forget to keep an eye on the chat box â€“ some Introvert participants might prefer to write down their thoughts here. In larger meetings, you might even have someone to monitor the chat box for you.
- On platforms like Zoom, use a gallery view rather than a speaker view so that, as far as possible, you can see everyone â€“ and recognize when people are trying to contribute but can’t get a word in. Watch out for when people come off â€œmuteâ€ for example.
Video etiquette is a particular issue when some participants join remotely and others are physically present. 35% agreed or strongly agreed that if they joined by video, but others were physically in the room, they found it difficult to make themselves heard. The role of the facilitator becomes even more critical in these mixed meetings.
When considering the IT needs of remote and hybrid workers, it is tempting to look at specific solutions or platforms immediately. Companies should understand how technology is accessed and used, and how it is presented can be just as important.
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