Remote working is proving troublesome for extroverts

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Extroverts are struggling with remote work thanks to difficulties using collaboration tools, according to new research. 

In a study from Apogee Corporation, 79% of workers encounter issues with meeting technology when trying to collaborate with others - and this, the company said, has led to as many as 84% of extroverts being unable to work productively when remote.

Eight-in-ten workers also have challenges when using office devices and equipment, while around 86% of introverts fail to see their productivity improve while working in the office.

The study noted the importance of integrating different technologies to allow employees to reach their potential at work, as this can often depend on their personality types.

One-in-three introverts said remote technology gives them a platform to communicate more confidently, with another 43% saying they can voice ideas and feelings more freely when remote, compared with just 28% of extroverts.

The main reasons for preferring face-to-face communication over remote collaboration tools were a poorer experience from remote interaction, cited by 22%, insufficient engagement from others at 21%, and poor audio at 19%.

Because of the issues they face, this has left more than a quarter of employees saying they're simply unable to collaborate effectively at all - and this is even affecting the likelihood that they'll want to stay in their current roles.

Almost a quarter of self-described extroverts said they have looked for job opportunities elsewhere because of an inability to collaborate effectively, and 22% believe it’s preventing them from moving further in their careers.

"The findings suggest that remote meeting technology is unable to cater to extroverts’ needs for interaction and engagement, which highlights a critical gap as 31% of them see collaborating with others as the definition of workplace success," Apogee said.

The shortfall in tools is also having an impact on workers’ ability to complete day-to-day tasks, with 43% of introverts and 38% of extroverts failing to agree they have the appropriate tools to meet their targets. Overall, a quarter of workers said they don't have the appropriate tools in place to collaborate with others.

Meanwhile, twice as many extroverts as introverts - 32% and 16% respectively - are excited about the potential of AI.

Previous surveys have indicated that, in general, extroverts tend to do better in the workplace. Research from the University of Toronto, for example, found that they have higher levels of motivation, work-life balance, emotional wellbeing, and performance.

"You might be more introverted, but if you’re intelligent, work hard and bring other things to the table, you’re probably going to do well," said Michael Wilmot, a post-doctoral researcher in the department of management who led the study.

"At the same time, if you’re more extroverted, but lack the cognitive ability or work ethic, you’re probably not going to be as successful."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.