People With This Personality Are Suffering The Most While Working From Home

Depending on your personality, working from home has either supplied a welcome respite from nosy gossip and office politics, or it has filched our indispensable human connections. In other words, some people love the solitude of working from home while others miss their colleagues terribly.

How we interpret working from home largely depends on our personality. But what isn’t a judgment call is that relationships with our work colleagues have taken a hit while working remotely.

In a new report called The Truth About Working From Home In 24 Shocking Charts, Leadership IQ surveyed 3,706 employees currently working from home to measure their experiences. Respondents answered more than two dozen questions about working from home, as well as questions about their psychological makeup.

One of the study’s discoveries is that relationships with work colleagues are better working in an office than working from home. As you can see in the chart below, 19% say their relationships with work colleagues are much better working from an office, and an additional 35% say they’re a little better. By contrast, only 6% say their relationships with work colleagues are much better working from home, and only 9% say they’re a little better.

But again, how much these worsened relationships truly impact our overall well-being largely depends on our unique psyche. And there’s one motivational-type in particular that will more intensely feel the effects of these worsened relationships.

Tens of thousands have taken the free online test What Motivates You At Work?, which assesses the five primary motivations that drive people at work; Power, Achievement, Adventure, Security and Affiliation.

From the data, we know that around a third of people are motivated by Affiliation. People with a high need for Affiliation want harmonious relationships with other people and they want to feel accepted by others. These individuals prefer work that provides significant personal interaction. They enjoy being part of groups and make excellent team members. Teamwork and more teamwork is the key to keeping affiliative-driven individuals highly engaged.

And as you probably guessed, people high in Affiliation are likely to suffer most severely from the diminished work relationships and isolation that often accompany working from home.

Someone who’s always resisted teams and collaboration, who prefers solitude and individual work, won’t feel the effects of limited interactions with their colleagues. But the person driven by Affiliation will almost certainly feel a significant loss.

How do you know if your employees and colleagues have a strong affiliative drive? For starters, you can have them take the online test, What Motivates You At Work?  

Alternatively, you can reveal someone’s motivators just by asking a question. Now, if you ask someone directly, “what motivates you?” you’re unlikely to get a cogent or clear-cut answer. The reality is that most people don’t spend much time reflecting on their psychological drives and personality type.

Instead, you want to ask employees an indirect question like, “could you tell me about a time in the past two weeks when you felt really engaged or motivated?” By focusing on specific events in the recent past, you’re allowing employees to discuss topics about which they feel confident and knowledgeable (it’s not a difficult task to recount an inspiring moment within the past few weeks).

When your employee shares a recent inspiring situation, they’re inevitably going to reveal their primary motivator. For example, when someone says, “I loved working on that team with Jane and Bob,” they’re de facto telling you that they have a high affiliative drive. By contrast, if they say, “I loved getting to work on that project report by myself and really shape it to my own specifications,” they’re clearly indicating a non-affiliative drive (perhaps Power or Achievement).

In the event that you’ve got a bunch of affiliative people on your team, try instituting more virtual social interactions like virtual coffee chats. This can be as simple as assigning everyone on your team a “coffee buddy” with the explicit assignment to have a videoconference coffee this week for at least 15 minutes (and let them go up to an hour). To experience the full effects, the virtual coffee should happen over video and not over the phone.

You could also add one or two fun questions to the end of every staff meeting videoconference. Pose a question like, “what made you laugh this week?” and then have every individual provide an answer. By forcing a little bit of social interaction in every meeting, you alleviate at least some of the work from home isolation. And you actually strengthen employees’ collaborative bonds and deepen your team’s rapport with each other and with you.

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