Do extraverts make better portfolio workers?

by Barrie Hopson on January 19, 2010 · 2 comments

in Flexible working,New ways of working

Not quite sure but some fascinating research on mobile and home flexible workers in the US but by the UK group Pearn Kandola began with the assumption that introverts might be more comfortable working away from the formal workplace.  In fact they found exactly the opposite. They found that it’s ‘the employees who chase socialization who thrive in the land of virtual work. The office gabbers. Those who are life of the break-room party. Left on their own, these types of workers are the ones who work closely with clients, chum around with colleagues, and talk it up with bosses. They stay connected no matter where they are. It comes naturally to them’.

The researchers also assumed that mobile workers would tend to be seat-of-the-pants types who could get away with being disorganized scatterbrains. After all, nobody ever had to see their “offices.”  Again, the truth turned out to be the opposite. “Mobile workers are far more organized, personally, than their office-bound counterparts”.

And then the quotation which to mind says it all – “They have to be on top of their game the whole time.”

And any portfolio worker will say ‘amen’ to that!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Peter Osborne January 23, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I’m not sure how translatable this research is to the portfolio worker (i.e., consultants or what we call contract or 1099 workers in the United States). As I read the link you provided, the research seemed to focus on people with one-employer incomes who work remotely, which is much different from someone who has to rely on their ability to sell prospective clients on their skills or services.

I think you get to the same endpoint — that more outgoing people are better at that — but if you tweak the question a bit you might find that the thing those extraverted portfolio workers miss most about their single-source incomes are the periods away from human contact.

— Peter
Bulldog Simplicity blog:

2 Barrie Hopson January 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Good point Peter. The interviews that we carried out demonstrated that some portfolio workers missed the daily face to face contact but most reckoned that they got that digitally and were pleased to have a higher workrate because they were not distracted by people as they would have been in a traditional work setting. They also belonged to many networks and appeared to satisfy their extraverted needs tapping into those personally and digitally.

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