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Are certain personalities a better fit for remote work? Studies find some common personality traits in remote workers who are successful. Personality tests can confirm the traits, but anyone who is self-motivated, tech-savvy, communicative, and adaptable can do well working from home or other remote locations.

Back in 2020, when COVID hit, employers sent workers home en masse and expected them to do their jobs. Some people liked working remotely so much that they are reluctant to return to work now that the crisis is over and employers want them back. Others, however, found they much preferred to work away from home in an office and are running, not walking back to the office.

What defines an ideal remote worker? Are there personality traits found in successful work-from-home (WFH) staff? What other factors come into play for remote workers?

Both employers and potential remote employees should ask these questions.

What Employers Want In Remote Candidates

Suitable candidates that companies look for when hiring for remote jobs should be:

  • Self-starters, able to motivate themselves
  • Excellent time managers
  • Outstanding communicators, both verbally and in writing
  • Continuously adaptable to changing circumstances
  • Self-confident
  • Tech-savvy
Personality trait in remote workers who succeed

These qualities are important in most jobs, and employers hope to further encourage them in new employees and those people who take their job seriously. When employees are present in the office, supervisors can see how people work steps to help laggers get on track.

In a WFH situation, bosses look for evidence that employees are successfully meeting productivity requirements, but they have to trust that employees are disciplined, manage their time well, and communicate effectively at meetings.

In interviewing candidates for remote work, employers try to ask the right questions that reveal that any applicant has the qualifications to perform well without face-to-face supervision. The specific hiring criteria vary among companies, but here are a few examples from company tweets gathered by

Gitlab: “They have to be able to work independently. They have to be disciplined enough to be effective and to work without having a manager watching them all the time. They also need to be self-conscious about how to manage time.”

Dell: “They have to be able to work independently. They have to be disciplined enough to be effective and to work without having a manager watching them all the time. They also need to be self-conscious about how to manage time.”

FlexJobs: “We’ve developed a hiring process that allows us to assess communication skills, attention to detail, and critical thinking. We want people who are comfortable working independently and can be decisive, yet enjoy collaborating with a team, too.

“We’ve developed a practical exercise for most of our positions that give the candidate a good look at what kinds of things the job really entails and gives us a sense of their ability to do the work. For example, if I were hiring someone to be a company description writer, I might send them a company and ask for a writing sample. Beyond that, we look for a good cultural fit and a passion for what we are doing.”

Documenting Personality Traits In Remote Workers

One way to assess suitability for remote work is through personality tests. Common tests such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the  DISC personal assessment, or the 16 Personalities tests do not rule out any personality type, but they give insights about to best work out of an office environment.


The MBTI categorizes workers by four sets of criteria:

Introvert or extrovert

Introverts like a calm, quiet environment without interruptions, so they are good candidates for working at home, especially in positions such as graphic designer, accountant, photographer, author, or artist. They may have to push themselves to contribute to meetings.

Extroverts feed off group energy and love to be in an environment where there are others to bounce ideas off. They are active participants in online meetings and aim for frequent meetings.

Intuitive Or Sensitive

Intuitive workers want the big picture to direct their work. They proceed without much direction and bristle at micromanagement.

Sensors need specifics to proceed, along with the opportunity to ask lots of questions.

Bosses and colleagues must respect the process other people use to internalize information and complete assignments.

Personality traits in remote workers revealed in tests

Thinkers Or Feelers

Thinks seek brevity and clarity, while feelers want to connect and chat about the project.

Judgers Or Perceivers

Judgers want to do their tasks, then move on to another project or personal time.

Perceivers take their time and finish after frequent breaks.

While judgers may be the preferred type of employee because they seem diligent in getting a job done, they can miss some points in their haste. Perceivers can become distracted and may complete work at the late minute or late, but their output can be worth the wait.


The popular DISC test delineates characteristics of 4 personality types that correspond to the letters in its name.

  • D (Dominance): Focused on results, outspoken, demanding.
  • I (Influence):  Adept at influencing and persuading others, open, energetic, and optimistic.
  • S (Steadiness): Known for cooperation, loyalty, calmness, and dependability.
  • C (Conscientiousness): Value accuracy, expertise, independence, and don’t like to be wrong.

Those who take the test may get a score that reflects a combination of the noted qualities. Knowing your own score or that of team members can help evaluate communication and leadership style and determine the best remote or hybrid arrangement.

DISC test for personality assessment

16 Personalities

The 16 Personalities Test also defines 4 personality types that result in different workplace behavior.

  • Analysts: Independent and open-minded, welcome debate, and regarded as excellent strategic thinkers who may struggle in social relationships.
  • Diplomats: Cooperative, empathic workplace harmonizers who have trouble making difficult decisions.
  • Sentinels: Highly practical, great with logistics, but inflexible.
  • Explorers:  Practical and responsive master technology and technique easily but may take risks without much forethought.

The test also outlines four strategies to help you learn more about your preferred way of doing things and achieving goals:

  • Confident Individualism: Prefer doing things alone, Strong believers in individual responsibility. Nor influenced by the opinions of others.
  • People Mastery: Enjoy social contact and have great communication skills. Don’t care what others think of them but are concerned with what makes others happy.
  • Constant Improvement: Quiet perfectionists, curious hard workers, concerned about their performance.
  • Social Engagement: Social and energetic, concerned with social status

After combining the results of various categories, you may be classified as one of 16 personality types.

Big 5

The Big 5 personality test measures extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability. Psychology Today notes that this test has “a high degree of predictive validity, test-retest reliability, convergence with self-ratings, and ratings by others.”

Is Everyone A Good Match For Working At Home?

In studies of how various personality types do in remote situations, a few conclusions emerge.

  • Some jobs are a particularly good fit for those who like to work alone.
  • The best-performing remote workers are extroverts who are emotionally stable.
  • Companies that take employee personalities into account can create a more efficient workplace.
  • One of the biggest challenges to remote work is that managers do not trust those performing outside the office.

Despite tests, no personality test is a perfect indicator of how individuals will perform. If remote work in some form is likely to be part of the employment landscape now and in the future, companies must set up remote work situations that encourage workers to be communicative and stay on task.

Personatlity traits found in successful remote works that bosses love

FlexJobs, the online employment site that specializes in remote, hybrid, and flexible jobs, notes 8 qualities that successful remote employees show

  1. Communicative
  2. Assertive
  3. Organized
  4. Motivated and responsible
  5. Collaborative
  6. Resourceful
  7. Not afraid to ask for help
  8. Adaptable and nimble

Companies can facilitate excellent remote performance by setting up the technology and systems to promote these qualities. Managers must learn how to work with remote employees.

How Can You Assess Your Aptitude For Working At Home?

More than half the workers under 40 prefer to work in the office vs nearly 60% for those between 40-49 and nearly 70 of workers 50-64. If you find you like being in the office for set hours and communicating face-to-face with bosses and coworkers, you are not alone in preferring onsite work. If this arrangement fits your lifestyle and personal preference, many employers will be delighted to use your skills in their company.

AgePrefer officePrefer hybridPrefer remotePrefer office
or hybrid
Prefer hybrid
or remote
Source: WFH Research

If you are contemplating making a change to remote or hybrid work, how do you know if this will work out?

Many of the tests, such as the 16 Personalities or the DISC test, are available for individuals to take for free. Taking one of these tests may be insightful, although they may confirm some things you already know about yourself. If you contemplate working remotely (or if you are put in a situation where you need to do this), ask yourself some questions.

  • Do you like to work alone or do you prefer being part of a team?
  • Do you like having meetings online? (Given the pandemic, almost everyone has had a chance to participate in a Zoom or FaceTime call.
  • Are you a self-starter, or do you need more supervision to stay on track?
  • Do you find it easy to communicate with others?
  • How will you manage loneliness, a common feeling among remote workers?
  • What is your work style?
  • Do you easily get distracted? How do you handle your distractions so you stay on track?
  • Do you have personal or family commitments that would make remote work ideal?
  • Do you have a distraction-free place to work?
  • Do you have reliable Internet so you can get assignments and stay in touch with coworkers?

Keeping in mind that a self-motivated worker with any personality type can work at home, especially if they have an employer who provides them with the right tools and the mindset to take advantage of the proffered technology.

Carol Farrish

Carol is a lifelong writer and marketing specialist who has worked remotely for over 15 years. She started doing administrative projects and customer service work part-time, but became 100% remote when her last brick-and-mortar job ended. Not only has working at home been flexible and interesting, but it has also exposed her to wonderful coworkers.

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