The pandemic has proven that remote work models suit many companies and a large subsection of their employees. One group that has particularly benefited from this great awakening are the introverts among us. I consider myself a part of this group, and as businesses weigh a return to the workplace policy–either part or full-time–you should consider how to retain and reward this quiet army of employees who flourished during the work-from-home mandates.
They are the people who enjoy having no forced physical contact. Many of these individuals were already stressed out before Covid-19 was even introduced. Covid-19 is a movement to encourage companies to move away from closed offices and to create open plan and modular workplaces. The idea behind open workplaces is to encourage teamwork.
But the reality is, for every person who loves office birthday cakes and those not-mandatory-but-you-really-should attend happy hours, there are several people who would prefer to get their work done and go home. Many people who find “fun” mandated to them are unhappy with their work and often feel it draining.
Finding Freedom in Isolation
Remote working allows many to work from home, allowing them the freedom to complete assignments before and after meals. This is a great way to help elder and child care. They might be night owls, who work best between 5 and midnight.
Remote work is a great alternative to traditional management who continue to equate working in an office environment with productivity. Of course, the reverse is often true. Intuitive people like the space and time to consider all aspects of a situation, sometimes in ways that are beneficial to their company.
These are quiet workers, people who do not draw attention to their work but accomplish the task. Companies must support and empower them.
The Workforce: Empowering Introverts
Of course, you still need key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to ensure that projects and tasks are completed well and on time, but that is completely doable using today’s workplace tools. Because introverts don’t care much about interacting with their associates in person, or using Zoom, they have likely shown higher productivity under remote work requirements. They did their job.
Managers will be happy to know that they have fewer meetings in person with self-motivated employees. This gives them more time to talk with more outgoing–some may even say needy- — reports and also to recruit new staff.
Workforce wellness should be prioritized both at-home and in-office
You should still check in with your employees on a regular basis to gauge their moods and mindsets. Some research shows introverts may suffer more mental health issues than their more outgoing colleagues during the shutdowns.
It is important to maintain open communication lines. However, you might consider one-on-one conversations with introverts rather than large Zoom calls. This will allow you to monitor your introvert employees’ levels of burnout, and any other mental health problems that could be impacting their work.
You can encourage workers to request paid time off (PTO), if they are in need of help. This will allow them to have some time to recover from the day. You can also ensure that your employees have online access to mental health services, such as virtual therapy.
This type of relationship can also help you to understand how your worries affect work and what you can do to support them.
A Future of Flexibility
While you evaluate your team with an eye to the future, let your introverts decide how you want them to work. You can let an exceptional performer work from home four days per week or full-time if they wish.
To retain great employees, flexibility is essential. As we look to the future, it is important to keep in mind that employees should be recognized for their achievements, not just their personality or level of socialization. It is the productivity that matters, and not the fun factor.
Publited Fri, 3 Sep 2021 at 10:53:59 +10000