If You're a Multitasker with a Short Attention Span, WFH Might Not Be for You

Sara Kassir
April 6, 2020

(This article is part of our PorTRAITS Series, Stories Told Using pymetrics Data.) 


A lot of us are in the same boat when it comes to working from home lately, but are all of us experiencing cabin fever to the same degree? According to a recent survey of 269 of our users, attitudes toward the recent shift can vary depending on industry. For example, while 86% of people in professional services have adapted well to the increased flexibility, only 50% of respondents in legal roles are enjoying the new sweatpants culture. 


Beyond the industry split, we took a look at how WFH attitudes varied depending on users’ cognitive, social, and emotional traits, as collected by their completion of the pymetrics assessment. Three factors stood out. 


Focus:  Our focus factor estimates a person’s concentration style.  People scoring to the left side of the spectrum have a propensity to center themselves on one task at a time, while those with a score on the right side of the spectrum are more likely to multitask. According to our data, individuals who are perhaps used to juggling different types of projects throughout the day are not finding the consistency of sitting on the couch with a laptop as pleasant. 


Emotion: Another interesting distinction between the pro- and anti-WFH camps can be seen in their scores for “emotion,” or their strategy for interpreting the feelings of other people. Here, values on the left side of the spectrum correspond with observing expressive cues while values on the right side of the spectrum indicate a reliance on context. Apparently Zoom calls leave something to be desired for individuals who tend to zero in on reading faces and tones of voice to guide effective communication. Tricky wifi connectivity issues no doubt add to their frustrations with social distancing. 

Attention: Our attention factor relates to how a person handles incoming information and deals with distractions. Naturally, respondents who like working from home tend to fall on the left side of the spectrum, which indicates a methodical approach to zeroing in on relevant details to get through a task. On the other hand, those on the right side of the spectrum are biased to respond to new stimuli, which might make it tough to be productive outside the office.



Conclusion

In times of stress and crisis, like we face now, having the ability to better understand ourselves and others can help us work (and live!) together more effectively.  This series will continue to explore relevant and timely topics and how pymetrics factors relate to these preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.  Stay tuned for our next installment and if you have a suggestion for a topic we should explore, email us at info@pymetrics.com