April 6, 2020
With a plethora of social media posts advising us how to work at home, vlogs of employees making the best of their dining room set up and webinars about the new world of work, It’s about time to introduce a little light-hearted non-science into the mix.
The first thing to say is that people have been working from home for many years. It’s not new. Based on our own experiences over those years, it’s clear that the process is very people-centric. It’s possible to identify typical working personas that most people fall in to.
Their choice of settings and style of work are often consistent with their character traits. So, in this new world of isolation and ‘stay at home’, we wondered how these personas would carry over into homeworking.
A few simple questions set the scene for finding what type of homeworker you are.
The most disciplined and regimental we call The Happy Camper. If you are the sort who likes to hunker down in a study or spare room, dressed for work, flask of coffee and piece of fruit to one side, this could be you. Typically, this character seeks quiet concentration spaces in their normal workplace and likes little disruption to the order of their day. Focus and being ‘in the flow’ will make the hours fly by.
The Wandering Nomad on the other hand can rarely sit still. They are happy to use the whole of their home as they would their office, seeking out the right environment for each task. This is the happy agile worker. In the office, we find they embrace change in the workplace best – happy to vary their working position and consider work as an output, not time spent at a desk.
Another character who loves variety is The Resourceful Escapist. It may take some time for them to lose the shackles of homeworking and feelings of claustrophobia but they will soon find new stimulus around the house. They thrive on different media and variety. A quick video call, some music to stimulate some ideas, take that report into the garden to read. They might rearrange the furniture just because they can. In the office these folk are the typical ‘hackers’ – reinventing what a setting might be best used for.
Of course, a move to a more agile working environment in the traditional workplace requires a commitment to invest in technology and The Communication Craver will take that lesson home.
They thrive off interaction with others, and, for that reason, the office environment is a lost comfort right now. They will be making the most of the wide variety of video conferencing facilities and collaborative working platforms, and they will always be close to their mobile phone (probably phones, plural!).
Less likely to be found in the office landscape, you may recognize yourself in the final persona if you are coping with playing supply teacher while you try to work from home. Balancing work demands with the kid’s home schooling, the dog wanting exercise and interpreting the contents of the fridge into some form of lunch, are what keeps this master of improvisation ticking. The Back-Foot Juggler is a multi-tasking whirling dervish – great management potential for the busy team, when they reconvene in normality.
This fun exercise reminds us that we are all different. Every one of us will find a unique style of homeworking that suits our surroundings and our personality – and most likely reflects how we approach work in the office. In an ideal world, the office environment should cater for this: for different tasks, different characters and different preferred ways of working.
We look forward to the time when we are back to some form of normality to start exploring the world of work again. Until then I wish you and your colleagues all the best. Stay safe.
If you would like to take the Homeworker Persona Quiz, please follow this link: https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/5e7cb1834059fe001460ff89