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6 Personality traits of a successful remote worker

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By Mare Derks | April 28, 2020

In many organizations, employees are now forced to work remotely. We have now experienced the pros and cons and learned how to influence them. But so far, most managers have only looked at external factors to keep remote workers engaged: for example implementing the right collaboration tools, facilitating a healthy remote working environment, improving team communication or showing empathy and trust. Nevertheless, engagement in a remote working situation remains difficult.

What else can you do as CEO, HR or team manager…? In this blog, we provide advice on successful remote working from an intrinsic perspective. Which personality traits make a remote worker successful and engaged? And how can you encourage and compensate them?

Favorable personality traits in a remote working situation

It is valuable to know whether these characteristics are present in your team(s), so that you can stimulate and manage them effectively. Employees who work from home need more challenge and encouragement, but are less likely to exchange feedback and ask for recognition than the average employee. According to the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI), there are 6 personality traits that make a remote employee successful. Successful remote workers are often less Competitive than the average employee and score higher on Meticulousness, Adaptability, Curiosity, Acceptance of Ambiguity and Approach to Risk.

Here are the 6 personality traits of a successful homeworker and tips on how to use them to increase employee engagement!

Employees who score higher on Adaptability are better able to adapt to new demands and stressors.

1. Conscientiousness

This trait determines an employee’s motivation and discipline, and his/her ability to plan for the long term. Remote workers with a higher degree of diligence are generally more motivated, can organize their own schedule and meet deadlines without supervision.

Tip: encouraging conscientiousness

Remote workers who score lower on conscientiousness need more support and guidance. Ask team members who need extra support how you can be supportive or what they need extra help with. Remote leadership is about delegating and supporting tasks. Create enough space for communication while working remotely and keep an eye on employees who may need additional help.

2. Adaptability

An employee’s adaptability describes his / her ability to regulate and monitor their own emotions, as well as how employees respond to stressors. Employees who score higher on Adaptability are better able to adapt to new stressors and demands while working remotely (such as social isolation or family responsibilities).

Tip: encouraging adaptability

Employees who score low on Adaptability may find remote working more stressful than employees who score high on it. This is because they don’t have the ability or resilience to handle rapid changes. For team members with little adaptability, it is important to feel connected and supported during the adaptation period. In the data from our crisis monitor we see that not only vertical support (empathy of the manager) but also horizontal support (connection with colleagues, friends or family) helps employees to deal with stress. So, as a manager it is important to understand how your employees feel and to empower and encourage them to connect with the influential people in their environment.

3. Curiosity

Curious employees enjoy learning new things. New work processes and environments are welcomed by these employees with open arms. In addition, curious employees are likely to adapt better to new work environments, adapt more quickly to new programs and technologies, and transition more smoothly to a remote work environment.

Tip: encouraging curiosity

Not every employee has a high degree of curiosity. Sometimes new situations and tools can be stressful for employees, which can have long term negative consequences. If you have an employee who scores low on curiosity, take the time to help him / her transition to the new situation, or pair the employee with a “curious” colleague who can serve as a coach. This will help reduce the stress level. To keep team members engaged with keen curiosity, you can encourage them to take E-learning courses or improve their current skills. More tips on how to improve the home working experience? Check out our visual E-book.

In this uncertain time of crisis, Acceptance of Ambiguity can help remote workers overcome obstacles and make the most of a difficult situation.

4. Acceptance of Ambiguity

This trait provides an indication of how an employee approaches complex work environments and uncertain work situations. Especially in these uncertain times of change, a high level of acceptance can help employees to overcome obstacles and make the most of them. The ability to accept Ambiguity is also beneficial for employees as they can work more independently without much guidance.

Tip: encouraging acceptance of ambiguity

People with a low acceptance rate prefer clarity and consistency. As a manager, make sure you are very clear about what is expected of your employees and are open to questions about work tasks. You should regularly check that team members with a low acceptance of ambiguity understand what is expected of them. A focus on small and achievable goals can help here. Perhaps this blog, about the importance of focusing on output instead of availability, is also interesting for you!

5. Risk approach

This trait indicates how an employee deals with conflicts and challenges in the workplace. Employees with a higher risk approach are generally proactive in dealing with difficulties. But don’t forget that remote workers generally need more stimulation and less feedback than the average employee.

Tip: encouraging risk approach

People with a lower risk approach are generally more reactive and less constructive in dealing with workplace difficulties. This can have a negative effect on their employee satisfaction, engagement and performance. Risks and difficulties associated with remote working (during this pandemic) can be transformed in constructive ways to improve performance. This can be done by implementing good communication systems, clear role responsibilities and performance management procedures. Also, creating a culture of recognition can encourage employee proactivity.

6. Competitiveness

This trait describes an employee’s desire to be recognized for their achievements and the need to demonstrate their achievements. Competitive employees enjoy opportunities that lead to recognition.

Tip: encouraging competitiveness

Employees with a high degree of competitiveness find it difficult to work remotely if they are not recognized or rewarded. As a manager, don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements of team members to keep them motivated. It can also help to come up with new reward systems (at the team level) that fit the current remote working situation.

Now that you know these 6 personality traits, how can you improve the experience and performance of your remote workers? Our science-based  Crisis Monitor provides a simple solution to understand how employees feel and deal with the sudden home work situation. Start it now for free to keep your employees engaged remotely!

P.S. Our free visual E-book is also full of science-based tips to increase employee experience and engagement remotely.

Request the FREE Crisis Monitor here

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