Isn’t working from home great?
Roll out of bed at 0800, enjoy the delights of a cooked breakfast, followed by a three step commute to the ‘home office’ refreshed and ready to go at 0900.
And then your 0930 starts.
Colleagues that you used to find so easy to talk to don’t seem to listen any more. People talk over one another. Cliques have clearly started to form as people disappear off into private chat rooms. Technical glitches make simple discussions drag on far longer than they need to. Interruptions are frequent. Pets, children, partners.
It’s hard to be open with your colleagues about how you’re managing. After all, you’ve got a job, and you can do it from the safety and comfort of home. You should feel lucky. Everyone else seems to be managing OK anyway…
After all, isn’t working from home great?
Virtual communication: A brave new world.
We’ve all dabbled with virtual conferencing tools over the last few years; usually when travelling, or to squeeze an extra meeting into a packed schedule. It was a handy tool to have, but seldom one used with any regularity.
This all changed overnight. Now virtual communication is the standard and face-to-face meetings have become the rare exception.
It’s got rules of its own too.
If you’ve wondered why established relationships have become strained, chances are your virtual communications are causing your personalities to clash.
Using the Insights colour framework, here’s an overview of how the virtual world affects the four main personality types.
Fiery Red colleagues will stay on task, deliver completed projects and get things done. They won’t find getting their work done too much of a challenge. That said, they could suffer from the absence of human contact. They thrive on competition and being heard.
If you want to get the best out of them, make sure these team members can make their views known. They will want to update everyone on their achievements and tasks. This will keep your remote working powerhouse motivated and productive.
When you’re working with someone like this remotely, keep in mind that Fiery Reds tend to pick things up quicker than most. This means they’ll have an easier time adapting to new technologies and processes than other colleagues. As a result, expect clashes with more methodical individuals.
If this sounds like you, see if you can spare a moment to chat one to one with a colleague who you think might be struggling with the transition. If you have a Fiery Red in your team, take time out to give them a voice and listen to what they have to say. Their quick thinking could be the winning edge your team needs.
Your outgoing, interactive Sunshine Yellow team members are going to need the most interaction and support. Not just for the work itself, but to remain feeling like part of the team. A collaborative tool that always stays open, like a Slack channel, can help this worker feel involved. Just don’t be surprised at the amount of chatter that comes in over the line once you open it up.
Speaking of which, your Sunshine Yellow colleagues are the social glue that keeps your virtual team together. They’ll spark the conversations that remind everyone there’s more to life than work, even when it doesn’t feel like it. However, this chatter may well lead to a clash or two with more focused, introverted colleagues.
When in a remote team with a Sunshine Yellow, know that they’re sociable and adaptable. They want to get on with you and build a productive working relationship. That said, they find distractions tough to manage. Between pets, partners, notifications, and unfiltered internet access they’re in a battle to stay productive. With that in mind, keep phone and text contact to a minimum, unless you really need something.
If you see yourself in Sunshine Yellow, know that you have a vital role to play in maintaining morale. Reach out to your colleagues and use that social eye to spot people who might be struggling. If you’re managing a Sunshine Yellow, never undervalue their enthusiasm for the people around them. But, be upfront and set boundaries to keep everyone on task and productive.
Earth Greens have a steady, calm, and trustworthy attitude that makes them ideally suited for remote work. However, they tend to be resistant to change. If you are transitioning in-house workers out to your remote team, this group will need support. Think of it like moving a cat to a new home. They may be suspicious at first, but once they settle in, they’ll be your go-to team member.
These people are ‘slow’ communicators. This doesn’t mean they’re unsure of themselves or what they have to say; quite the opposite. Earth Greens have well-reasoned and rounded opinions. One of the significant limitations of virtual communication- only one person speaking at a time with no interruptions- works to their advantage.
If you’re working alongside an Earth Green, don’t be surprised if they’re slower to adapt to the new technologies that have been thrust upon them. This doesn’t make them Luddites. Quite the opposite. Given time, space, and support their diligence means they’ll get to know the ins and outs the new systems and processes in meticulous detail. If you pick these sort of things up quickly, reach out to your Earth Greens and offer to lend a hand. It could pay dividends down the line when you’re flummoxed by a quirk few people know exists, let alone how to fix!
If you’re an Earth Green, your patient communication style and conscientious approach to your work will be a model for your colleagues. If you’ve got an Earth Green in your team, keep them in the loop about any changes and give them as much information as you can. It’ll help them manage the transition as they’ll use that time and knowledge to get ahead.
These logical, analytical team members are effective remote workers. However, don’t be surprised if they shy away from the video and Slack channels you’ve chosen to support your more outgoing people. For Cool Blues, written communication trumps interaction with others every time. They also like things concrete. They need to know who to go with issues, and when to expect a response. They’re not going to take kindly to being fobbed off with woolly answers, either. They’ll expect a detailed, actionable answer within agreed timeframes.
If you want your Cool Blue to perform at their best, you’ll need to keep their innate perfectionism in check. Their unparalleled ability to analyse is a boon to the quality of their work, but, this same perfectionism can get in the way of delivery. Give them the contact and encouragement they need and their logical minds will thrive.
If you’re in a virtual team with a Cool Blue, understand that video chats really aren’t their thing. Instead, swap messages over text or start a conversation over email. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and hopefully, it’ll stop them from dropping out of social contact entirely.
Think you’re a Cool Blue? Enjoy working in a distraction-free environment unless you’ve got kids or pets! And don’t be afraid to share your logical analysis of any challenges you and your team are facing. It’s sorely needed! If one of your reports is a Cool Blue, take the time to build up their confidence, so their perfectionism doesn’t ruin their productivity. If needs be, manage their expectations of what they can expect from your feedback. They’ll value the clarity and likely be less inclined to keep checking in.
If a team isn’t communicating, it’s crashing.
Virtual teams present tremendous communications challenges. But with these challenges come great opportunities to enrich and energise your people and your organisation.
The key to seizing these opportunities lies in the strengths of varying personalities within your team.
However, you can’t leverage these strengths unless you know what they are.
You need actionable information.
You’ll find that information in an Insights Discovery Workshop.
Each member of your team will complete a detailed Insights Discovery assessment.
You’ll then work together to understand one another’s strengths and practice overcoming conflict in a safe environment.
Your people will leave with a better appreciation for themselves and others. You’ll leave equipped with everything you need to get the most out them in our new virtual world.
Let’s have a conversation.