How different personality types cope with an always-on culture

Viewed in Harvard Business Review

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, technology was weighing heavily on many employees who were increasingly expected to be accessible and engaged online even after work hours.

With the pandemic, that expectation seems to have only increased.

A Significant Cost

There is a significant cost to this “always on” culture, John Hackston, the head of thought leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company contends. “We may have inadvertently become part of an ‘always-on-culture,’ with largely negative effects on our health and well-being,” Hackston writes in this Harvard Business Review article.

In 2018 and 2019, Myers-Briggs surveyed more than 1000 people, asking multiple questions about their personality types and how this “always on culture” was impacting them.

A small number (ten percent) found it positive, saying that it helped them in staying up to date on work and affording some flexibility as to when and where they worked.

But a larger number, roughly a third, found it difficult to switch off, more than a quarter reported that it interfered with their personal or family life, and a fifth found it led to mental exhaustion.

No simple fix

Complicating things further, dealing with the “always on” culture does not lend itself to one simple fix.

Different personality types respond differently to this culture.

Hackston matches four personality types with methods for dealing with the “always on” culture.

Technology represents both opportunities and challenges. “By thinking carefully about how and when to use it, you can find your own sweet spot,” Hackston writes.

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