More and more business leaders are discovering the benefits of managing a team of remote employees. From reduced overhead costs to offering employees more flexible working hours, the future of the workplace will definitely be founded on working from home more regularly.
As businesses transition from office to remote working, however, it’s important they understand how the change will affect different personality types. Extroverted individuals, for example, may particularly struggle to adapt to a virtual workplace. Here’s how business leaders can help them manage the transition:
What is an extrovert?
Generally speaking, an extrovert is someone who is energised by being around people, often thriving in social situations and busy, bustling places. Comparatively, introverts need their own space to think and recharge, usually somewhere quiet and peaceful. Many personality theories place being either an extrovert or an introvert as a core pillar of an individual’s personality, and most people will fall somewhere on the spectrum.
How are extroverts affected by the transition to a virtual workplace?
As extroverts feel energised by being in social situations, they may struggle to motivate themselves whilst working remotely. They may also struggle with loneliness, as they are used to being at the centre of social activities within an office. An extroverted employee may also feel as though they are being under-utilised, as they believe their social skills and ability to form relationships with partners and potential clients is being limited by working remotely. Over time, this could result in low motivation and morale.
On the other hand, you may find that introverts are thriving right now, given that they have free rein to focus and work from home, away from distractions and office politics. It’s important to remember this when we go “back to normal”, as introverts may struggle to return to a busy office and end up feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
How business leaders can help extroverts adapt to a virtual workplace
1. Encourage ‘coffee break’ chats
Encourage your employees to schedule 10 – 15 minutes out of their day to have coffee break video chats and conference calls with their coworkers. This will ensure extroverted employees have the chance to re-charge socially and don’t feel too isolated whilst working remotely. It’s essential you still give your employees the chance to make meaningful human connections, even when we’re all working apart.
2. Host a virtual lunch
Try scheduling virtual, weekly lunch breaks for anyone who wants to join in. Ban any work-related topics of conversation, and instead chat with your employees about their lives, current events, or anything they want. This will mimic the environment of a breakout area, and will give extroverted employees the lunch break experience they may be missing.
3. Encourage inter-departmental meetings
Once a month, try introducing two employees who have never crossed paths before to each other. Encourage them to introduce themselves in a phone call and talk more about their role within a company. Inter-departmental cross-overs can also spark innovative ideas that may not have been considered before in a solo setting.
4. Plan out-of-office days
Plan future out-of-office days for your teams to give extroverted employees the chance to mingle and socialise with their coworkers in person. Having a social event to look forward to may help motivate those who are feeling especially isolated. It doesn’t need to be fancy or costly – a simple country walk will do wonders for team morale.
6. Look at new technology
It goes without saying, but make sure your remote workers have all the technology they need to communicate from afar. Effective collaboration and working from the digital workplace are not mutually exclusive, but it’s only possible when you invest in the right tools.