The press and the Internet is full of stories about the growth of remote work. It seems that for some workers there is a distinct possibility that they will live out their entire careers in their lounge room, their favourite coffee shop or the local library.

Of course, not everybody is suited to working remotely. Some people need the comfort of being embedded in a group to be able to be productive while others need the structure of attending a particular workplace at a particular time each day.

Here is my take on some of the personality characteristics you might look for if you are seeking to identify people who are well suited to remote work. This is based on the HEXACO model of personality discovered by Kibeom Lee and Mike Ashton and which we consider to be the most predictive personality model available today.

  • High Honesty Humility. Honesty Humility is the characteristic of being honest, truthful, straightforward and not arrogant. This has proved to be an exceptionally good predictor of a range of negative outcomes, including how likely a person is to go to jail. When a person is high on this characteristic they can generally be relied on to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Clearly this is an extremely valuable characteristic for remote workers. Are they really working on that report or are they catching a wave at Gunamatta?
  • Low Emotionality. When a person is low in Emotionality it means that they are resilient and emotionally stable. If a person is high in emotionality this may mean that they need the company and support of others in the workplace in order not to feel anxious or vulnerable.
  • Manageable levels of Extraversion. Extraverts are typically sociable, cheerful somewhat bold types. If a person is too high on Extraversion they may struggle with the “aloneness” of working remotely. They may also take themselves to their favourite coffee shop but spend more time chatting than is ideal from a productivity point of view. On the other hand, a committed introvert may relish working in their quiet home and be much more productive than in a noisy workplace.
  • High levels of Conscientiousness. Conscientious people are dispositionally hard-working and committed to the achievement of outcomes. It is not easy being a remote worker. You cannot rely on the enthusiasm of colleagues or leaders to lift you up when you are down so it is better than if you have a naturally higher level of commitment and energy.

All of these personality characteristics are easy to measure using the SACS psychological assessment portal. Click here to find out more.

Andrew Marty

Managing Director

SACS Consulting

Andrew Marty