Managing Personalities In A Remote Environment

We’ve discussed the qualities of remote technologists and how to create a successful environment for them, now let’s discuss how to manage the different personalities. By in large, your remote techs are self-starters, highly motivated and very reliable.  Studies show that remote employees are far less stressed, more satisfied with their job and are more productive than the average “in-office” employee.  However, the transition to a remote environment can be challenging for some employees.  It is your job as a manager to help your employees succeed and recognize problems quickly before things go south.  

Although there are many different personalities types in the work place, we would like to highlight a few.

The workaholic

In the office, this is the type that is the first one in and the last one out.  In the virtual environment, this is the person that continually askes or volunteers for additional work.  They are quite often very comfortable with a large workload and will complete the task with high accuracy.  They are always eager to help and can become quite indispensable.  Managers should be careful to becoming overly dependent on them so as to not overburden or stress the tech. Discuss with them what is a comfortable workload limit.  It will most likely be significantly larger than other technologists, but make every effort to stay within the limits.  Suggest to your technologist that they create a physical and electronic workplace.  Quite often this personality type will find it hard to stay away from work, by creating a physical workplace, they can close the door and walk away.  Limit your electronic contact to “business” hours so that your technologist does not feel the need to constantly monitor their email and/or text messages. Encourage time off.

The distracted

There are a lot of distractions at home.  Phone calls, house chores, dinner, laundry, kids, the list goes on and on.  It’s easy for your technologist to look around and feel like there are more pressing things. They may feel like they can do it all, but in reality, their attention will be divided and their performance will be affected.  Talk to your tech about setting a daily work schedule.  Get an agreement on the start and end time, number and length of breaks as well as how many days a week your tech will be required to work.  Follow up with your tech after a couple of weeks to revisit their current schedule and re-tweak if necessary.  Good technologists are hard to find, so it is well worth the effort to work out a schedule that works for everyone.

The introvert

You many find that the majority of your remote techs fall into this category.  They are usually the type that sit down and get the work done with no problem. However, they are still part of your overall team, so you need to make sure to engage with these employees.  Set a day and time for weekly virtual meetings.  Encourage your “in-office” techs and support staff to engage with this type of technologist. You don’t want them to feel isolated (although may times they like to be) and alone.  Make them feel like they are part of a team and whose contribution are greatly regarded. 

The social butterfly

There are those who can meet productivity standards and still know everything there is to know about everyone and everything.  They are your social butterflies.  This person feels the need to get to know everyone and is quite often abreast of all that is going on with others.  A remote environment can seem quite lonely for them.  One way to help is to allow the use of a chat program.  This not only allows immediate communication between you and your technologists but also between the remote technologist and others.  A quick and simple way for the social butterfly to feel like he/she is still part of the group.  Allow time for “chit-chat” before and after meetings.  Create a virtual social gathering at least once a month so that technologists can catch up on the latest happening.  Beware of gossip!

Be creative.  Get to know the different personality types and find ways to meet those without jeopardizing quality and performance.  Investing in good technologists always pays off in spades.