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Virtual work is here to stay for many companies. Yet is everyone who can work remotely well-suited for it? Before we explore further, let’s look at a few statistics.
About a third (35%) of workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all the time, according to new Pew Research Center survey. This percentage is only a 7% increase from the percent prior to the pandemic.
However, the new survey finds that 41% of those with jobs that can be done remotely are working a hybrid schedule. Among hybrid workers who are not self-employed, most (63%) say their employer requires them to work in person a certain number of days per week or month.
As companies hire new employees for virtual work, full-time or hybrid, hiring managers need to gauge if the individual can thrive in a virtual environment. According to research conducted by Mike Billington as part of his Doctorate studies in Education, not everyone can succeed. Here is an excerpt from his studies.
“Hiring successful virtual workers requires a paradigm shift. My research found that about 70% of the workforce that is not already remotely working is adaptable to virtual workplaces. Of this 70 percent, 50% easily adjust while 20% can acclimate with moderate training and supervision. Adapting the remaining 30% to virtuality will be a challenge.”
Evaluating potential new hires based on personality traits conducive for virtual work environments will increase your hiring success. Mr. Billington’s research identified four critical traits that successful virtual workers possess. These four traits are part of the Big Five Personality traits that have been studied for decades within the psychology world.
Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
Introversion (solitary/reserved vs outgoing/energetic)
Emotional Stability (secure/confident vs sensitive/nervous)
There are many assessment tools that can evaluate these traits. Consider assessing your entire team to identify those who may be at risk of struggling in a virtual environment. Help those that need additional mentoring or training. Replace those who cannot succeed in a virtual environment.
For hiring purposes, use assessments that can identify successful traits for virtual work. And in your interview process, ask behavioral interview questions that shed light on an individual’s ability to adapt and work independently. For example, “Describe your most recent work environment. What did you like or not like about it?” Another question to ask, “Tell me a work situation when you struggled to do something you don’t like to do?”
If you have a hiring need that requires a virtual work environment, give us a call at 317-578-1310 for a complimentary discussion on how to effectively recruit top performing virtual workers.