Where do you work best? Are you an extroverted connector who thrives on being around others? Or are you a rationally minded introvert who prefers solitude? Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle — sometimes lighting up in the company of colleagues, other times content to work solo.
In the past, knowledge workers rarely indulged in this navel-gazing because they didn’t have much choice. They were expected to show up at their offices five days a week and put in 40 hours or so around a set schedule.
But now, all bets are off. As coronavirus cases decline and vaccination rates rise, organizations are figuring out how and where the remote-work arrangements they’ve depended on during the pandemic will fit into their plans. Some companies are leaving the decision of how much time workers spend in the office up to employees and managers.
This is a big mistake, according to Liana Epstein, the chief operating and analytics officer at Cangrade, a company that designs psychometric hiring assessments. While technical skills are important, the nuances of whether someone succeeds or flounders in their job comes down to personality and soft skills, she said.
"Asking employees whether they want to work from home or go to the office is a recipe for disaster," she added. "They may not know if they have the right skills and personality to do their jobs well remotely."
Epstein and her team have developed a free test for Insider, which is available only via this link, that helps workers — and companies — answer the question: "Where do I work best?" The prompts include things such as, "I find numbers somewhat unappealing," "I like talking on the phone to people I don’t know," "It is important to me that others think I am good at what I do," and, "I am always aware of my mood changes."
How to use your results
It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the results are instant. Test takers learn whether they work best remotely, in-person, or in a hybrid environment, according to the test. They also receive a simple write-up that offers insights into what they’re good at, what drives them, and where they need to improve.
In general, people who are externally motivated tend to do better in an office, while those who are internally motivated do better at remote work, Epstein said. Grit, that combination of perseverance and passion, and follow-through are other critical characteristics for success at remote work, she added.
The results give employers a general sense of which soft skills are weak and may require development.
What’s more, she said, the test helps employers gain an awareness of what motivates individual employees.
"Just as every person has their own love language, every employee has their own value language," Epstein said. "Companies need to find out what makes people feel respected and valued."
The takeaway for employees involves a more subtle understanding of where they do their best work and where they need to brush up on skills — particularly if they want to work from home.
"Are you struggling to follow through on tasks? Does work feel like a constant grind? You need to upskill yourself," she said.
Rebecca Knight June 23, 2021 at 09:36PM