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Tony Jones on what different personality types mean for homeworking.
For some people homeworking is an opportunity for others a necessity. What many don’t immediately realise is that their psychology can influence how well they adapt to the world of homeworking. A few simple pointers can help anyone working at home to be more effective.
Most of us understand the terms introvert and extrovert. As far as psychologists are concerned this is all about how we recharge our batteries after a difficult day: do we like to have ‘me time’ and catch up on some reading or watch a favourite soap (introvert) or do we need to call up our mates and have a natter about how our day has gone (extrovert)? There are advantages and disadvantages to each.
There is no right or wrong type of personality and around half of us fall into each category (I have no figures on working mums or homeworkers). They are also not black and white – either type can enjoy social gatherings or some quite time.
Extroverts may feel lonely and struggle to focus on work. It might be too easy to check email, spend time on Facebook or call up a colleague. What they can excel at is making sure they are not forgotten.
Introverts may seem ideally suited to any number of home-working jobs (I write as a freelancer for example) but run several risks:
Whichever type you are (and there are plenty of books and on-line tests available) the same advice applies to everybody – the reasons why it applies differ for each type. The advice: balance your time between work and networking.
Balancing time will vary by individuals: introverts may need to make sure they spend some time once or twice a day catching up with people whereas extroverts might like to spend a few minutes doing this as part of a mid-morning coffee break.
What is important is to find out what works for you and don’t be too rigid. Set some reminders in your calendar that pop up and remind you to do some networking or check some emails. Make sure you join the team conference call when it happens (if it doesn’t, set one up).
Homeworkers who are part of a wider team need to make sure that they interact with their colleagues as much as possible even if it is just a regular phone call. The biggest mistake an introvert can make is to decide not to join a team call because they believe they have nothing to contribute. If this is a behaviour you recognise then I suggest you make a particular effort to join in next time.
All of us need to network: team members need to be identified as part of their teams; home businesses need to market and deal with suppliers; freelancers need to find their next clients. Extroverts may have a head start but anyone should be able to send an email or pick up the phone.
There is, of course, a lot more to psychology than I have outline but I hope I have given you some food for thought. I do genuinely believe self-awareness can contribute to success and that homeworkers face some particular challenges where this knowledge can be invaluable.