Home vs the office: which environment is better suited for Intuitive Perceivers?13 May 2019 / By Misael Lizarraga Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on May 13, 2019
The idea of working from home may have seemed unusual a couple of decades ago. But given the rise of internet technologies such as shared work environments, VoIP, the advent of smartphones and high speed internet, that’s no longer the case. According to the United States Census Bureau, around 20-30 million people work from home at least one day a week in the USA alone. And those numbers are growing every year.
And while working from home brings all kinds of economic advantages such as the elimination of commuting time, and a lower need of additional office space, it is by no means a perfect environment. There are a variety of environmental factors around the home that can negatively affect a worker’s productivity. While those factors could affect anyone regardless of personality type, Intuitive-Perceiving (NP) individuals are particularly vulnerable to them.
Intuitive-Perceivers are known for their independent and creative thinking, a deep desire for autonomy, and a bit of disregard for “fake pleasantries.” NP’s are great at coming up with new ideas, and are always excited about starting new projects. Though they may come across at times as overly analytical, and a little cold, every team needs an NP.
On the flip side, NPs struggle with their organizational skills, and have a tendency to procrastinate. While there are advantages to letting some of your workers do their work from home, you should spend some time considering whether which working environment is better for your NP workers.
The office can be a loud and distracting place. From people making phone calls, contractors replacing malfunctioning equipment, and clients bursting in to file a complaint, it seems as if there’s always something fighting for your attention.
But when it comes to distractions, our homes are even worse. Anyone working from home will find themselves surrounded by family members doing chores, children playing, pets demanding attention, and neighbors doing repairs. With no manager walking in an out of the office, it’s all too tempting to take a peek at social media, or watch one more cat video.
Of course, any personality type can get distracted. But thanks to their wild imagination, and tendency to focus on the “what if” rather than on the “what is,” NPs will have to struggle three times as hard to overcome the additional distractions that come from working from home.
Any NP working from home needs to cultivate superb organization skills and the necessary self-discipline to be productive. And as much as they hate it, they need to have a schedule and stick to it religiously.
2) Separation of work and life
When someone works from an office, it’s fairly straightforward to separate work from life. Work starts at 9am, and ends at 5pm. The work week starts on Monday, and ends on Friday.
While it’s by no means impossible to separate your working life from your “living” life, it’s way too easy for that line to blur when you work from home.
Those of us that are prone to being workaholics often find ourselves working even longer hours when we work from home. And while bosses will certainly appreciate their willingness to put in more hours towards a project, those hours are not always productive.
NP’s that work from home are often struggling with procrastination, where it’s even easier to leave tasks for later. That inevitably leads into a last minute mad dash as deadlines loom closer. At this point, NPs tend to ignore everything else around their home, and sacrifice time they would otherwise spend with their family, doing chores, or simply resting in order to to finish up their backlogged work.
True, there are times in which we all need to sacrifice some of our free time to finish up an important work project. But when that becomes a habit, it’s easy to get burned out.
3) Working from home is a lonely experience
On paper, working from home sounds like a dream come true for introverted NPs. No more office politics, cringe worthy team-building exercises, and awkward introductions. You have the option of focusing on your work, and skiping all the trimmings.
In reality though, working from home can be an extremely lonely affair, because along with skipping many unpleasant interactions that could happen at the office, you also skip the positive ones.
Office work brings all kinds of positive, up-building interactions. Workers can share the excitement of meeting sales goals, and celebrate as a team. Those working from home miss out on having inside jokes, motivational stories, and healthy competition usually found in the office. And they would also miss out on new friendships, and the joy of belonging to a team.
While it’s true that thanks to technology, those that work from home can still communicate with coworkers, managers and team leaders by text, email, phone calls and video conferences, those are not a good substitute for human interaction. We are after all social creatures, and even the most ardent of all Introverts needs human interaction.
INFPs and INTPs already struggle to make new connections, even when surrounded by friendly people with similar interests. If they work from home, they would have even fewer opportunities to make meaningful connections with others.
On the other hand, extroverted NPs (ENFPs and ENTPs) that are already struggling with distractions and sticking to a schedule would have to add lack of human contact to the downsides of working from home.
Unless your NP home-workers make plans to hang out with friends after work, join a club or volunteer at their church, they may find their social interactions limited mostly to roommates, their spouse, or family members sharing their home. That lack of human interaction could easily lead to apathy, or even depression if left unchecked.
4) Working from home can aggravate unhealthy habits
We can all agree that sitting down in front of a computer for eight uninterrupted hours a day simply is unhealthy. And that’s true whether you work at an office, or work from home. It’s possible to mitigate some of the damage a sedentary lifestyle brings by doing more physical exercise, improving eating habits, and investing in ergonomic office furniture.
Personality types such as ESTP’s and ESFPs have an easier time adding regular exercise to their daily life, since they already have a natural need for movement and kinesthetic action. NP’s, on the other hand, especially INTPs and INFPs, tend to have interests that are mental rather than physical. It’s easy for NP’s to neglect physical exercise when they work from home, since they’re surrounded by things that already cater to their interests such as books, art supplies, video games, and the internet.
Sure, an office’s work environment is not exactly conducive to physical activity either. But commuting to the office each day guarantees that your employees will do take the most difficult first step towards becoming more active: stepping out of the house.
In my personal experience, it’s easier to set up a routine where you go to the gym after work or during your lunch break, then forcing yourself to leave your comfortable, distractions-and-temptations-filled home.
For any NP working from home, it’s all too easy to move from their office chair to the couch and veg out once they finish their work. And with the fridge only a few steps away, home-workers may find themselves sneaking more than a few snacks each day.
There are plenty of NP’s that have managed to transition from the office to their homes, and have done quite well for themselves. However, the downsides of working from home are especially challenging for NP’s.
If you’re considering assigning your NP employees to work from home, be sure you carefully weigh the pros and cons that such arrangement would bring.
Scott Stratton (not verified) says...
I don't want any of this to be true. I hate hearing this message. I want claim that at worst - *I* don't fit this NP mold; *I* don't have these problems.
But it's true. Every damn word, as I've learned through hard personal experience and, later, through painful but honest self-reflection.
I blame you, messenger!!! Not really, of course :-)
Though the article is written to the employer's perspective, it's equally applicable to the NP worker themselves. As you say, an NP can make a superb and successful career out of working from home, but any NP contemplating it should confront each of the risks you so articulately described and proactively develop processes/habits/systems to mitigate them AND commit to a process of reviewing the effectiveness of those systems regularly.
A well-written, insightful and helpful article.
Misael Lizarraga says...
Thanks Scott, I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
Shawn D (not verified) says...
My ego is telling me that I wouldn't succumb to this kind of distraction... while I remotely read this article instead of working... but to be fair, I don't currently have much engaging work!