It Takes All Kinds: Respecting All Remote Work Styles

Posted by Annelise Fasnacht on Jan 4, 2021 9:38:30 AM

Effective team management often comes down to identifying work styles and implementing practices that accommodate various methods and approaches. It can be a bit trickier to negotiate these various styles in these work-from-home times, so here is a quick breakdown of four remote work "types" and how to handle them.

All Business

For some people, work is not a place to foster external relationships or shoot the breeze with others. These folks prefer to keep interactions focused on the nuts and bolts of business, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Colleagues in this category won’t linger on a conference call any longer than they have to. They prefer direct communication: get in, get down to business, and move forward.

Think Out Loud

Unlike the laser-focused sort described above, the “think out loud” type needs time to talk things through. These chatty types might not be the best folks to hand the mic to if you are running short on time, but you should definitely aim the spotlight their way during brainstorming sessions. You might have to rein them in if their stream-of-consciousness carries the conversation too far astray, but it doesn’t hurt to give these talkers a long leash--they often end up arriving at great destinations that can lift everyone to another level.

Water Cooler Talk

With COVID keeping everyone contained in domestic bubbles, extracurricular socializing is not encouraged. Which means that the social butterflies in your organization will likely be using video calls to get their friendship needs met. While it’s important to keep your video conferences task-oriented and fairly formal, you should definitely create space for people who just want to chat and connect. Since not everyone wants their co-workers to become pals, try to schedule informal hangouts for the people who want (and need) to strengthen personal connections during this time of isolation.

Phantom Presence

And now we come to the shy and retiring type. This brand of remote worker would really rather be left alone. Face-to-face meetings really aren’t their thing. These folks prefer written communications, because they like to have plenty of time to think before “speaking,” and being put on the spot in a video conference leaves them flustered and frustrated. Although you might not get the most out of the camera-shy employee in a video conference, when provided with ample opportunity to contribute via chat or email, these team members can more than hold their own.

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