The ability to work remotely was a coveted fantasy of millions of workers for years before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the hands of employers around the world and made it a reality. Previously in-office workers often dreamed of working from bed in their pajamas or possibly even an Italian villa or tropical beach and without their managers constantly looking over their shoulders.
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However, as with so many things in life, the grass is often greener on the other side of the fence. Many employees are now eager to return to the office, with its greater structure and more opportunities for socialization. In fact, one study found that roughly one-fifth of non-executive workers and over 40 percent of executives would prefer to be back in the office full time.
Remote Work Not for Everyone
As we’ve written previously, flexibility is key for companies contemplating their post-COVID remote work policies, simply because there is variation in employee preferences.
Unfortunately, regardless of employee preferences, not all employees are cut out for remote work, and it’s reasonable for employers to have a say over whether or not that option is available for all staff. While it’s not always easy for managers to know in advance which workers will or will not be successful working remotely, many companies have had well over a year to evaluate staff in just that situation; and some observers think that where workers land on the spectrum of various elements of personality can also provide a clue to their potential for remote work success.
“While the transition to remote work in early 2020 was abrupt for everyone, some found themselves thriving more than others—in many cases, thanks to their personality type,” writes Kate Morgan in an article for BBC Worklife.
Introverts, for instance, tended to take to this new remote environment. It provided them with an opportunity to feel mor energized and less distracted—and, simply, to have space to think.
“For ‘quiet deliverers’ who may once have flown under the radar, remote work offered not only a less taxing day-to-day, but also an opportunity to combine that extra energy with new ways of working – and really stand out,” Morgan writes.
It?s impossible to assume that all introverts will excel at remote work or that all extroverts will struggle. However, understanding how different personality types may be predisposed for success or failure with remote work can help influence managers and their organizations as they tackle post-COVID remote work policies.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a contributing editor for HR Daily Advisor.