Is it difficult for you to disconnect? Your personality can influence the way you work from home

6 min read

This story originally appeared in the World Economic Forum

Is it difficult for you to disconnect? Your personality can influence the way you work from home
Is it difficult for you to disconnect? Your personality can influence the way you work from home

By Victoria Masterson

  • Myers-Briggs Company says that a 24/7 work culture can be both good and bad for us.
  • There are potentially serious consequences for your wellbeing.
  • Employers need to help their employees find a balance.

If our smartphones and other devices are always “on”, it means we are too.

This is a double-edged sword, according to the Myers-Briggs company, which specializes in business psychology.

“Services and information are available around the clock and we can connect anytime and anywhere in the world,” says the company in its research study “Type” and “Always-on-Culture”.

“However, if our smartphones are always around and on, we may find it difficult to turn them off. This is the culture that is always on.”

The benefits of always being

The benefits of always being

Image: The Myers-Briggs Company

It’s good and bad

Always being connected acts as a mediator and stressor, with “some potentially serious consequences for individual well-being,” Myers-Briggs notes.

“This suggests that companies will benefit from exploring how they can help individuals find the sweet spot between using technology to increase engagement and flexibility,” said John Hackston, co-author of the Study, Head of Thought Management at The Myers-Briggs Company.

“And not let the technology take over so far that it has a negative impact.”

The study was published in December 2019, ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, but highlights a dilemma that has become increasingly important in the COVID-19 work environment.

Myers-Briggs interviewed more than 1,000 people to understand the role of personality in managing ancient culture. Important results are:

  • People with access to work calls / emails outside of work were more busy with their work, but also more stressed.
  • Those who found it difficult to disconnect suffered from a number of negative problems, including stress, interference with family life, and the inability to focus on one thing at a time.
  • People mentioned the disadvantages of the always in touch culture more than the advantages.

One of the disadvantages of always being online is stress.

The drawbacks of always being online include Stress / Image: The Myers-Briggs Company

Why personality is important

Personality also played a role: those who were more practical and structured had a greater desire to be separate at home and at work, and experienced more stress associated with constant employment than those who were more focused and flexible.

Extravert guys were more likely to have a smartphone or laptop at work than those who preferred introversion.

Management strategies that are always on include turning off phones and notifications. Take time for work and family and let others know when you are available and when you are not.

There are different strategies to deal with this

There are several strategies to deal with this / Image: The Myers-Briggs Company

A separate report released this month by the online collaboration tool Slack suggests that COVID-19 revealed a 9-to-5 office culture that has been broken for decades.

“People around the world want more flexibility in where and how they work,” say the authors.

Most of the 9,000 knowledge workers surveyed (72%) would prefer a mix of remote and office work, a hybrid approach. Slack defines a knowledge worker as anyone who holds an office role and / or works with data, analyzes information, or thinks creatively during a typical work week.

We are generally happier

Teleworking is a net positive result and scores higher than office work for work-life balance, stress and anxiety, productivity and overall satisfaction.

“Workers’ sense of belonging can suffer when working remotely,” adds the report, adding that employers should consider working differently by investing in a virtual office, more flexible working hours and “asynchronous” communication tools.

For example, instead of real-time video calls, asynchronous tools such as messaging apps or project management tools can connect at will and on schedule.

The World Economic Forum’s Restart Work Summit, taking place October 20-23, 2020, brings leaders together to formulate a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity.

The four-day program includes sessions on a new vision of health in the workplace and evaluation of online learning in the workplace.

As The Myers-Briggs Company found, employers and employees alike need to ensure that people of the future workforce can unplug and maintain a mental health balance.

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