Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently instituted a controversial company-wide policy declaring that Yahoo! employees will no longer be permitted to work from home. The announcement has been met with an extremely mixed reaction from the American public. In a recent CNN poll, over 16,000 readers weighed in on the controversy. Their votes on the issue of whether or not Mayer made the right decision by banning telecommuting are split evenly right down the middle: a 50/50 division.

It’s clear that in Marissa Mayer’s case she was concerned about the loss of communication, efficiency, and collaboration that remote workers were demonstrating at Yahoo!. Several employees at Yahoo! have come forward to confirm this diagnosis, agreeing that productivity at Yahoo! had recently taken a serious downturn as a result of many full-time employees working at home.

Undoubtedly, whether or not employees can be productive while working from home is a difficult question. Some people claim that working from home makes them more focused and productive. For others, working from home causes them to become distracted and indifferent to their responsibilities. Because the benefits and difficulties of working from home are different for each individual worker, many companies like Yahoo! have found it easier to simply instigate an across-the-board ban. Best Buy, for example, came forward shortly after Mayer’s announcement and similarly ended their long-standing endorsement of telecommuting for their corporate employees.

An increasing number of companies, however, are looking for less extreme solutions to the challenges of telecommuting. Allowing employees the option of working from home can be a significant benefit to employees, one that increases morale and encourages retention.

As a result of the struggle to create a flexible yet productive workplace, many companies have turned to personality testing to help determine how to best prepare their employees for the challenge of remote working. Employee personality tests can be a crucial predictor of the success of telecommuters, and provide significant return on investment through helping employees understand the ways in which they are (or are not) suited for remote working.

For companies relying on personality testing to predict an employee’s aptitude toward telecommuting, DISC tests are a great solution. DISC personality tests can easily indicate which personality types are well-matched to the responsibilities of working at home. In addition, when employees know their DISC personality type, it becomes much easier to anticipate problems with working at home before they become a serious issue.

Whether you are a D, I, S, or C personality type, there are ways in which working from home can work for you. Here are a few DISC tips on working from home, categorized by personality type.

DISC Personality Type D

Personality type D is well-suited to working at home. Decisive, competitive, and task-oriented, D personalities are naturally driven to succeed in any environment. Personality type D is innovative and driven, and will be naturally inclined to develop creative strategies for making telecommuting work for them. A D doesn’t have any problem taking charge of themselves or their projects, and is excellent at independently setting goals and prioritizing responsibilities. A D hates being micromanaged, and loves the amount of control that working from home affords them over their projects.

There is a certain degree of isolation, however, inherent in working from home that personality D does not respond well to. A D is a natural born leader, and being alone in a home office prevents that aptitude from flourishing. Because a D loves to get things done on their own, there is also a danger that they will lose the ability to harmoniously collaborate. Don’t send out emails without thinking about their tone, and remember to continually solicit and consider the input of others. D personalities must work to keep other people in the loop and not to become too much of an “island.”

DISC Personality Type I

Truth time: Personality type I is not naturally suited to working at home. A classic extrovert, the I personality craves being around other people and can lose motivation when isolated at home. Also, personality type I doesn’t place a high priority on organization, and can easily become overwhelmed by the structured demands of telecommuting. For an I, setting goals, creating to-do lists, keeping track of billable hours, and staying focused in a quiet environment can be overwhelming.

That said, there are less distractions for an I to deal with in a home environment. Working from home takes social diversions out of the equation, and can directly increase the productivity of an I. An I must be careful to set personal boundaries and good work habits, though. Trying to work with friends or family nearby will be incredibly difficult.

There are several other ways that an I can make working from home more manageable. The best advice is this: stay connected. Go into the office on a weekly or monthly basis to have face-to-face meetings with your boss or co-workers. When this isn’t possible, be sure to utilize networking tools that allow you to directly talk to others, such as Skype or Google Chat.  The I must be careful, though, to use social networking only as a way to collaborate and not allow it to become a distraction.

DISC Personality Type S

Personality type S is hardworking and reliable. When given the opportunity to work from home, S personalities will often be initially resistant to the change. However, given time to adjust to the new environment, an S can be trusted to get the job done.

An S is focused and steady, and will often lose themselves in their work. It is very common for an S to work through lunch without even realizing that they are hungry. With that in mind, S personality types that work at home must avoid “burn out” by limiting the amount of time they spend in front of the computer. An S will be more productive in the long run by observing regularly-scheduled breaks throughout the day.

If you are an S, be sure that you understand the goals and roles that go along with working from home.  There will be a temptation to establish a routine and comfortably follow it until someone tells you differently. To be truly successful, S personalities must consciously focus on taking initiative and developing assertiveness. Stay connected through email, phone, and chat programs. Speak up and let others know what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing. This can be difficult for the conflict-adverse S, but necessary.

DISC Personality Type C

The good news: Personality type C is well-suited to working at home. C personalities are organized and schedule-oriented, which makes timekeeping and goal-setting a snap. They naturally inclined to follow the rules, which keeps them highly focused on accomplishing the requirements of their job.  A C also requires very little socialization in order to function well on a daily basis, and enjoys the distraction-free solitude that comes from working at home.

The bad news: When telecommuting, time management is the biggest problem facing the C personality. A C personality is meticulous and thorough, and a bit of a perfectionist. Without anyone around to help them gage how they are spending their time, a C personality will often become so invested in the minutiae of a project that it takes much longer than necessary to complete. When working from home, a C must keep in mind that getting things done quickly is often more important them getting them done perfectly.


These are just a few simple ways to use DISC to improve the telecommuting experience. DISC tests and DISC training can be used to build on these insights, and to develop a better understanding of how work habits are innately wired into our personalities. As more companies and employees use DISC personality tests to help maximize their productivity, decisions like Yahoo!’s ban on telecommuting might cease to become necessary.


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