In this guest post, content writer and marketer, Alexandra Cote, advises remote workers on ways to improve their productivity and performance based on their personality type.
If you want to improve how you work remotely and stay happy while doing so, you’ll need to take a closer look at your personality type and not just the general tips meant for the masses.
I’ve always said that remote work is not for everyone. Why? Because our personalities have the first say when it comes to our performance while working remotely.
Of course, there are many personality tests you can take out there, but someone once told me this: You wouldn’t believe how similar we all are.
I didn’t really take this to heart until I came across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I’m currently an INFJ and, yes, your personality can change with time as you’re evolving and learning more about life. Without a serious life event, changes are minor.
Years later—after talking to so many people who’ve tried remote work or are entirely hesitant to give it a go—I’ve realized that these personality types or “standards” are what make us good or bad at remote work after all.
Some of us are huge slackers, others work until they burn out. Some love working from their homes at all times, others struggle to stay sane when they don’t see people for days on end. Every single personality type though has a preference for one style of work, environment, or even schedule.
Use this similar Myers-Briggs test (and patience) to find out what your personality type is and go over the list below to test out the tips I’ve prepared for you.
Disclaimer: If you’re in between two personality types (like I’m 51% introverted and 49% extroverted), use the tips from both personalities you fall under.
The Analysts And Remote Work
INTP – Logician
Write down everything to analyze your progress later on. INTPs need to always have an overlook at what they’re doing and where their time goes. Use a spreadsheet or a simple to-do list to write down the tasks you’re working on and how long it took you to complete them.
This data will help you see when your most productive days and hours are, or if you’ve been postponing a certain type of task. Thus, it allows you to perfect your work structure in the future.
INTJ – Architects
Whatever I say, you’re probably going to find your own ways to make remote life work for you. And that’s the best thing you can do. INTJs don’t just take advice, they research and test it several times before admitting that it’s the right option for them.
Organization is key for INTJs. So if there’s one thing that’s definitely going to work for you, it’s to schedule your tasks beforehand so that you’ll spend the first part of your day focused on a single task. Also, make sure this activity is the hardest one or the one you don’t really want to take care of despite its importance. This will help you complete dreaded tasks within the deadline and still have time for other interests and duties.
ENTJ – Commander
Given that work is often a team effort, try to understand your co-workers better. ENTJs are overachievers, so you might think you’ve got the whole working remotely thing under control when your team is struggling. Personality types such as commanders have a tendency to get used to change faster, but you also need to understand not everyone is as quick to adapt.
So here’s where you come in as the liaison who can keep a team together and give your best advice. Offer to have a one-on-one meeting with someone who needs your help, recommend better schedule patterns, or just send them this article to help them perform better and keep their sanity.
ENTP – Debater
ENTPs are superb decision-makers. This is a trait that many will envy once they start worrying about whether going remote was the right option. Even if you are confident with your choice, make sure you share your thoughts and worries with fellow remote workers.
Use LinkedIn, Twitter, or industry-specific Slack groups to reach out to others, voice your opinion, and gain inspiration. A perfect way to connect with other professionals, break from your routine, and stop feeling isolated.
The Diplomats And Remote Work
INFJ – Advocate
This was the result of my personality test. So here’s a suggestion based on my own experiences: I teach others. I talk about what works for me, I share the best advice I’ve ever heard, and, above all, I always ask for people to share their tips or thoughts at the end.
Coaching is always about getting something else in return. It can be a simple “thank you” to brighten your day or an amazing tip/idea you haven’t thought of. Even if you’re always overthinking aspects of your career, take remote work as a bonus opportunity for you to talk to other people and have them open up your mind to new possibilities.
INFP – Mediator
Let go of perfectionism. That’s a valid idea for everyone.
I know this sounds difficult, time-consuming, and impossible on top of that, but it’s not. Start small. You might never be fully cured of trying to do your best, but keep only the positive aspects of this like your drive for success and not the tiny bits that drain your day:
- Don’t put pressure on yourself
- Stop reading your emails five times before you send them
- Don’t obsess over a spelling mistake or letter you forgot when you wrote a message to a colleague
- Divide your large goals into smaller ones so it won’t feel like you’re taking months to reach a target
- Don’t compare your results to others
ENFJ – Protagonist
ENFJ might have a hard time admitting they’re struggling or, frankly, they might truly not have any issues with this lifestyle. Like INFJs, you should focus on training others and motivating them to reap the benefits of remote work.
Use these training opportunities to help you with a higher goal. After all, you need to be motivated, too. You might want to strengthen your personal brand or just become that person the rest of the team can rely on for help with better task and time management while working remotely. Since ENFJ types tend to be overly idealistic, make sure you don’t set targets that are too high so you don’t burn out quickly or end up disappointed that you couldn’t finish something on time.
ENFP – Campaigner
Use your past results as inspiration but don’t rush towards your new targets. Just as importantly, if you’re managing a team, don’t overload them with work they wouldn’t be able to finish efficiently just because you want to complete something as soon as possible.
Sure, new ideas are exciting. But don’t forget—achieving something requires a consistent effort. Try to see your project’s timeline from your team’s point of view and use your ideals to motivate you and keep you active.
The Sentinels And Remote Work
ISTJ – Logistician
Focus your attention on finding the best strategies and tools that will reduce any risks within your team. You can do this whether you’re a manager or by putting your top analytical skills to use. Research what would work best not only for you and your personality type, but also for your colleagues.
A sense of responsibility that ISTJs have paired with a feeling of the team relying on them at all times is what makes you want to test out multiple tools and tricks. This will help improve how you and your team work from home. Put these traits to good use and become a “supervisor” to monitor if the choices you’ve made were the right ones and which procedures need improvement.
ISFJ – Defender
With ISFJ personalities, choosing the right remote job is more important than ever. ISFJs are natural managers who are capable of keeping remote teams bonded and happy. Even if you’re not a direct manager, don’t forget about your own requirements though.
You can easily get caught up with watching over the rest of your team. But don’t make the happiness of your colleagues only your duty. Everyone on the team should contribute to this because allowing only one person to be in charge of keeping everyone connected will only overload and keep you from focusing on your real tasks.
ESTJ – Executive
An ESTJ is a colleague who acts like a manager and always has a solution for everything. Such a personality is not necessarily a bad thing—until you become a micromanager. This is one of the worst things that could impact a distributed team. Take a moment to analyze how you interact with your colleagues and even ask them if you’re being too “bossy” instead of a leader. Listening to what others have to say and getting over any stubbornness is vital if you want your team to perform at high levels and stay cohesive.
If you feel like you’re becoming a micromanager, reconsider your strategy and start focusing more on what everyone’s needs are. Once you’ve determined these needs, consider how you can truly improve your work processes by taking everyone’s feedback into account. The crucial aspect here is to let the team know what your concerns are and why you’re supporting one idea over another. This enables your team to stay on the same page.
ESFJ – Consul
As you can easily adapt to any new work situations and to other colleagues’ personality types, you might also have a tendency to rush everything. Consul types also tend to support other people, but they’re often trying to do too much at the same time.
Being in 100 places simultaneously is not going to help you improve your own remote work conduct. Instead, prioritize your work! Take every task and meeting you have one step at a time. Ideally, prioritize your hardest tasks first so you don’t fall behind with your own workload and use smaller breaks to check in with colleagues.
The Explorers And Remote Work
ISTP – Virtuoso
Despite their introversion—which might make you think they’d enjoy working from home—ISTPs actually report the least cases of working remotely and tend to be traditional workers. Since you’re already effective at prioritizing and using your analytical skills to come up with top collaboration procedures for your team, the problem is clearly somewhere else: you miss the day-to-day interaction with your colleagues.
You might also have an internal need to use your knowledge and expertise to help others. Therefore, the solution is simple. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your colleagues to see if they’re struggling or just ask about their day. Use this opportunity to remain connected and improve camaraderie.
You may find it difficult to initiate a discussion that seems meaningless, but remember there’s always a purpose behind any talk. Keeping the team bonded while showing your colleagues that someone’s thinking of them is a good enough reason.
ISFP – Adventurer
Myers-Briggs stats show that as many as 30% of ISFP individuals never work remotely. This figure is quite strange since ISFPs love flexibility. So, you’d assume they’re perfect for the remote life. The thing is that when you’re working remotely, you don’t always get to do whatever you want with your time. It’s essentially just like working from an office, except you’re missing a dedicated workspace.
ISFPs will find benefits in organizing their workspace—not just decluttering it, though. You need to set up a specific location in the house where you’ll be able to work without being interrupted.
ESTP – Entrepreneur
ESTP types commonly work remotely and are unlikely to return to office work. While remote work is not commonly an issue for you, problems could arise once you’re part of a team that’s not fully distributed. In these cases, some team members just didn’t receive training to collaborate with a colleague who works remotely so they don’t know how to tackle office-remote communication straight away.
This being said, be extra careful when choosing your company and role within the team. You prefer making things happen and staying active at work so you’re going to struggle if someone’s not going to be as responsive as you’d expect them. A fast-paced environment is where you thrive best so naturally, you need to opt for a team that’s just like you.
ESFP – Entertainer
Don’t overburden yourself by looking to impress or make things happen. Despite being driven by results, find balance and diversity in your life. Squeeze in time for activities you truly enjoy each day.
Even playing games with your colleagues can help you keep work and life in check while also boosting team communication and trust. This is also the chance for you to do something you love through a team activity that will also help you bring the whole team together.
Have any of these tips worked for your personality type or as a remote worker? Feel free to share them with your peers and test them out.
Alexandra Cote is a SaaS content writer and strategist with a passion for content marketing, social media marketing wonders, and artificial intelligence. She’s also a strong supporter of staying happy at work and choosing a career path that’s healthy for people’s wellness. Reach out to her via Twitter @cotealexandra11 or her blog.
iStock Image: martin-dm
Joining Virtual Vocations grants you access to our hand-picked telecommuting jobs database. Learn how our service works, browse job leads by location and career category, or search hundreds of hand-screened telecommuting jobs to find legitimate work-at-home job leads that match your skills and background. Register for free or contact us for more information on our service guarantee.
Check out our menu of Career Services provided by our team of certified professionals, including resume and career coaching services for remote jobseekers. Resume assessments and writing, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and cover letter writing are available to maximize the success of your remote job applications. Discounts on all services available to subscription members, become one now.