We’re all realizing these days that we have an increased need for clear communication. Maintaining relationships through social distancing is a major challenge. Many workers are being asked to work remotely—and wondering how to make it work for them.
The DiSC concept of “stretch,” of flexing into behaviors and mindsets not typically associated with our personality types is important right now. We might have to expend more energy, take more care, and assume the best of each other. Every personality has the ability to be productive from home, but what works for one person might not work as well for another.
Some workers will happily work from a laptop in their living room. Some will need significant technology support. Your team will need to decide when and how to communicate about business. You will also need to attend to maintaining social ties.
Consider how personalities will respond to a newly scheduled video chat with no agenda. Will the D-style feel like it will be a waste of time if there’s no agenda? Is the i-style excited about the chance to see everyone and their home setups? Will the S-style worry about how they should prepare? Is the C-style wondering why there’s any need for a video chat when you all have email or IM capability?
If you find that the challenges listed below resonate with you (even if not listed under your own style), discuss ways of addressing them. Your manager or fellow team members are probably willing to offer suggestions and support. Resources are also listed at the bottom of this article. Taking the time to set yourselves up for success is time well spent. You’ll be building team trust and showing commitment to each other—all positive signs of a cohesive team.
You’re probably eager and ready for the challenge of working from home. You feel like you’ll get lots done; you’ll be able to focus your energy. But you probably wonder about being able to work with your team from a distance.
- You’re results-oriented and driven, so you’ll get done what you need to get done.
- You will ask for what you need to be successful from home.
- You’re willing to try new collaboration and communication tools.
- You might be tempted to take shortcuts to complete something that’s been recently stalled.
- You might move ahead on something too quickly, or ahead of the rest of the team.
- Your communication style might feel cold to others and leave colleagues feeling unappreciated or even hurt.
You’re usually ready to try something new, so working from home might seem exciting at first. You understand that you’ll need to find new ways of staying connected with your colleagues and friends from work. You’re probably more likely than others to keep your extended work networks alive and active.
- You are naturally positive and enthusiastic and can use that energy to rally your team and maintain a feeling of camaraderie.
- You won’t forget that human interaction is a human need and can make sure that times or spaces (like Slack channels or virtual happy hours) are created for socializing. You can also use tools like TEAMs for a fun group chat; it isn’t just for work.
- You like to experiment and will probably have ideas to share with the rest of the team about how to make working from home work for all of you.
- Working alone can be stressful for you and you’ll be easily distracted.
- Routines can feel stifling, but they can also be very helpful in supporting the self-discipline you’ll need to stay focused and on task.
- You might want to charge ahead when you should be asking for more specific instructions or for clarification around communications.
You enjoy friendly, cooperative workplaces and will miss the ease of collaboration that physical nearness enables.
- You like clear, complete, yet concise and friendly communication. You can model that for your team.
- It might be easier for you to contribute your ideas and share your knowledge when given the extra time communicating online can provide.
- Working alone isn’t stressful for you. You’re unlikely to get distracted from your focus on the team and its goals.
- Lack of frequent check-ins at a personal and professional level might leave you feeling disengaged or anxious.
- New communication technologies might unsettle you. You’ll need to practice with them with someone you trust.
- Others in your home, including children and pets, might want to demand your time during work hours and you’ll have to say “no” or shut them out of your room.
You enjoy your independence and the space to think things through thoroughly. You might not understand the frustrations others feel about not seeing each other at your workplace.
- You probably have the discipline and focus to make working at home easy.
- Your attention to detail will help you evaluate the resource needs of the team and to select the most reliable technologies.
- You don’t require a lot of face time or feedback to know you’re doing a good job.
- Your quick-and-dirty or to-the-point communication may make others feel alienated from you.
- You might be tempted to just do a task yourself, rather than delegate it or collaborate on it.
- Maintaining warm personal relationships with colleagues could be challenging and you’ll need to find new strategies for doing so.
I have worked from home for over 10 years and love it. But it can also be challenging. I’ve had to be more conscious about my communication and socializing. I miss the level of friendships that develop in a workplace. It’s been important for me to identify my own challenges.
Let us know what you’ve learned about working from home by leaving a comment.
8 Remote Working Tips for Beginners, Remote Year
12 Tips For Managing a Remote Team (And Loving It), Lean Startup Co.
What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting, Harvard Business Review
Coronavirus Could Force Teams to Work Remotely, Harvard Business Review
Best Practices for Instant Messaging at Work, Harvard Business Review
By Kristeen Bullwinkle