August 13, 2020

The Myers-Briggs Company warns managers to be extra cautious as network shortages may make some people feel more isolated

John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company says employers should pay close attention to their team’s personalities during the Covid-19 crisis

The past fortnight has seen organisations shift their employees from the office to working from home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This has put a strain on UK mobile phone networks and internet providers, who have failed to cope with the upsurge in activity as millions begin to work from home and need the service to keep in contact with colleagues, friend and family. While this is an ongoing issue, during social distancing lack of connectivity will impact some personalities over others.

Working from home might sound great, but many people find it quite difficult at the best of times. In the current crisis, and with the relatively sudden imposition of remote working, it will be even more stressful. It is therefore important for managers to think about how employees with different attitudes and personality preferences may cope with this stress and uncertainty, and with any blurring between work and home life.

Today, digital communication by smartphone, tablet or computer permeates every aspect of our lives. Businesses have encouraged employees to get connected and be able to work remotely to make communication quicker and easier. But when this becomes one’s only or primary means of communication, when face to face contact is suddenly severely restricted, that can be stressful. And when network failures mean that even digital communication falters, this adds to the pressure. However, if individuals know their personality preferences, they will be much better prepared.”

For instance, within the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® personality framework, people with a preference for Judging – an inclination for living a planned and organised life – are likely to be particularly irritated by the uncertainty of failing network connections. Whereas people with a preference for Perceiving – who like to keep their options open and enjoy the buzz of doing things at the last minute – may find themselves in a hole if they are not fully prepared and then the network goes down.

Equally, those with a preference for Extraversion focus their attention on the outside world, while people with a preference for Introversion focus on the inside. Extraverts are energised by interacting with people and things, and they generally prefer to talk things through. As a result, the lack of ability to do so may have a negative impact on their work and well-being. Introverts, meanwhile, prefer to think things through and are refreshed by time spent in reflection and therefore are likely to place fewer calls, so may not be as affected when connectivity goes down.

By taking the time to understand how employees work, in communal workplaces and at home, and how they relate to others, employers can equip their workforce with the tools required to manage stress, remain engaged, and be productive through these trying times.

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