The Myers-Briggs Company Reports on the “Always-On” Work Culture

The Myers-Briggs Company, a Certified B Corporation helping organizations in all industries solve the most perplexing people challenges, released a new report: Type and the always-on culture. The research surveyed 1,116 respondents explored how personality type affects attitudes and behavior, as well as productivity and engagement in our new technology environment of 24/7 information and constant connectedness. This research, recently presented at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference, found:

  • Individuals’ behaviour and mindset, as well as organizational culture predict stress levels.
  • Personality differences help explain why some thrive in the ‘always-on’ culture, and others experience a negative effect on their work and personal lives.

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Impact of being always connected: The good and the bad news
The study showed that those with higher job stress were significantly less likely to be satisfied in their job and less likely to have a workplace culture that kept work and home life separate.

Compared to those without access, individuals able to access work emails or phone calls outside of work reported having:

  • More difficulty switching off. Those reporting having difficulty switching off also had higher job stress, and work-life interference.
  • More compulsive checking of their phone. Those who were easily distracted or struggled to focus were more likely to check technology compulsively.
  • More work-home conflict.

What is surprising, however, is that this same group of ‘hyper-connected’ employees also reported being more engaged and satisfied with their job.

“This suggests that organizations stand to benefit from exploring how to help individuals find the ‘sweet spot’ between using technology to increase engagement and flexibility. And not letting technology take over to a point where it causes negative effects,” said study co-author John Hackston, Head of Thought Leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company.

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Personality type influences technology attitudes and behaviors
Previous research suggests that attitudes toward technology at work differ depending on personality.* The study provided further insight into how it affects technology-related behaviors,  showing that:

  • Those with a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Judging preference are more likely to prefer keeping home and work separate and to own a smartphone specifically for work. Those with a Judging preference were also more likely to be stressed at work and find it difficult to switch off.
  • Those with a preference for Extraversion are more likely to have a work smartphone, and those with a preference for Introversion have a greater desire to keep work and home separate.
  • Those with a Sensing preference had a greater desire to keep home and work separate and experienced more stress in relation to the always-on work culture.

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