A Gallup survey reported that “approximately half of the U.S. full-time workforce—representing about 60 million workers—report that their current job can be done remotely working from home, at least part of the time.” These remote-capable workers and their managers need to determine if they want to be fully remote, work a hybrid model, or work from an office. Everything DiSC® can offer some insights into how your style can face the challenge of working from outside the office.
Some of us will happily work from a laptop in our bedroom. Some of us want the technological support we can receive in an office. Some of us will happily communicate through tools like Slack or Teams. Others want to meet in person, at least occasionally. Some enjoy working alone and others will find it challenging. These preferences are likely a reflection of our personalities.
The influence of our DiSC styles
People with different DiSC types will respond to normal work activities and challenges differently. Consider a manager who schedules a video chat, but provides no agenda. The D style might see this as a meeting without purpose and a waste of their time. The i style is likely excited about the chance to see everyone and catch up on news. The S style is likely concerned about how they can prepare without an agenda. The C style might be wondering why there’s any need for a video chat when you all have email or IM capability.
The DiSC concept of “stretch,” of flexing into behaviors and mindsets not typically associated with our personality types, is also an important consideration. How self-aware and confident in your abilities are you? Can you flex your natural style to what’s needed while working from home? For example, you might be new in your job and know that you do your best work alone, but desire to be near the people you’ll need to rely on for guidance and feedback for a few months. Or you might know that you need to be social and have plans in place for how to keep in touch with your work friends and gather regularly with others to fill that need.
The work and personality styles of your manager also matter. Will your manager provide you with what you need to be successful? Will they give you the attention you want or show they care if you’re not in their line of sight? Will they provide helpful feedback on any skills or traits you need to practice or stretch? Is the team you’re on willing to discuss communications issues that might arise from a hybrid or fully remote situation?
Challenges and opportunities by DiSC style
If you find that the challenges listed below resonate with you (even if not listed under your own style), it can be helpful to discuss ways of addressing them. Those living with you or friends who have been freelancing can be a source of information and a reality check on what working from home might actually be like for you. Your manager or fellow team members are probably willing to offer suggestions and support. Even if your entire team worked from home during the earlier days of the pandemic, work life might be different if part of the team is now in the office.
You’re probably eager and ready for the challenge of working remotely. 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. How will everyone be held accountable for doing their work?
- You’re results-oriented and driven, so you’ll get done what you need to get done.
- You’re likely to ask for what you need to be successful from home or a remote site.
- You’re willing to try new collaboration and communication tools.
- It may be easier for you to call out any problems experienced with a hybrid or remote work team and offer solutions.
- You might move ahead on something too quickly, or ahead of the rest of the team.
- You might be tempted to take shortcuts or to get things done.
- Your communication style might feel cold to others and leave colleagues feeling unappreciated or even hurt.
- You might become frustrated by asynchronous communication and not being able to get immediate responses.
- Your focus on results might mean that you ignore the personal and emotional needs of others on your team.
You love flexibility, 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 create or keep 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 like to experiment and will probably have ideas and tools to share with the rest of the team about how to make remote working successful for all of you.
- You’re likely to know colleagues in other departments or organizations who can be helpful to your work or your teammates’ work.
- Working alone can be stressful for you and you’ll be easily distracted. You might need to set up virtual coworking times with a partner or sign up with a service like Focusmate to keep you focused and on task.
- 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 clarification.
- You might have many fewer opportunities to let your personality and creativity show. For example, no one will notice your new shoes, your new desktop setup, or your original solution to a work problem.
- Technology problems that linger or can’t be quickly fixed by a technician just down the hall are likely to drive you crazy.
You enjoy friendly, cooperative workplaces and will miss the ease of collaboration that physical nearness enables. You might find it easier, however, to say “no” to requests online when you need to.
- 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.
- You are likely to make sure that others are able to provide input and to recognize everyone’s contributions; you won’t forget about others working remotely or those in the office.
- Lack of frequent check-ins at a personal and professional level might leave you feeling isolated, disengaged, or anxious.
- New or changing communication technologies or policies might frustrate you. You’ll need to practice with them with someone you trust.
- You might find it hard to initiate or engage in difficult conversations when you have few clues as to how others are responding.
- You might end up doing much more work because you worry that others might think you’re doing less.
- You might lose touch with how your work impacts others or the larger organizational goals.
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 a shared workplace.
- You probably have the discipline and focus to make working remotely satisfying and productive. You’ll take the time to create systems and structures that work for you.
- Your attention to detail will help you evaluate the resource needs of the team and to select the most reliable solutions.
- You probably don’t require a lot of face time or feedback to know you’re doing a good job.
- You will address the policies and mechanics needed for remote or hybrid work that might be glossed over or neglected by others.
- You might be tempted to just do a task yourself, rather than delegate it or collaborate on it.
- Social interactions with colleagues might seem like a distraction from real work and you’ll need to find new strategies for maintaining warm relations with colleagues.
- You are likely to assume that since you shared all necessary information once in one form, that everyone paid attention and understood.
- You might be prone to micromanaging teams or projects.
- Acknowledging others’ feelings might be even harder remotely. Even seeing exclamation points or emoticons in online communication might irritate you.
A team of styles
Every employee or manager who works remotely needs to keep in mind that our colleagues’ needs and priorities likely differ from our own. We are teams that need expressions of all DiSC personality types to function at their best. We can avoid miscommunication, a lack of trust, and low morale by recognizing each other’s styles and how they impact our teams. We can capitalize on each other’s strengths.
Miscommunication might be the biggest concern and difficulty for remote or hybrid teams. C styles worry they may be asked to spend too much time in video meetings. D styles might be tempted to ask for TL;DR summaries for every email. Team members need to be able to communicate in ways accepted and understood by everyone. Managers need to communicate regularly and clearly about work priorities, progress, and handoffs between team members. Communication strategies for teams need to be regularly reviewed, evaluated, and refined.
The one thing our team did that has helped us the most as we became an entirely remote team was to go through The Five Behaviors® Team Development program. It gave us the structure to discuss issues of trust, conflict, commitment, and accountability that we otherwise skirted around or ignored. It gave us space to talk about what we each need from the team and how we work best, and it moved us higher in terms of understanding and cohesion.