Remote worker, are you an integrator or a segmentor?

Remote-Training-Courses- (1)

Effective remote management phase 2 series.

Long before the pandemic threw the whole world into remote working, it was generally considered that those who preferred to work remotely had a very specific characteristic that was not shared with people preferring a hub based office working style.  

These two differences were labelled integrators or segmentors.  Very simply the individuals that preferred remote working tended to be integrators over their segmentor colleagues.  It’s clear that these differences still remain, but the current day challenge comes when die hard segmentors find themselves thrust into the integrators world.  

Let’s look at the key characteristics and then consider what it may mean to each of us.  

Segmentors

Segmentors have a real desire to preserve the boundaries between their home and work lives.  Typically they would be very targeted at ‘working’ during work time, and say ‘spending time with family’ outside of those work hours.  They are always happiest when these two worlds don’t collide.  Generally they would prefer to stay a little longer in the workspace to get the task done, compared to flirting with the possibility of taking that work home to complete it after the kids had gone to bed.  Segmentors are often fans of flexitime arrangements because it allows them to schedule home and work separately.  The over arching strong desire here is to keep home life and work life separated.  

Integrators

Integrators work entirely differently, they are very comfortable with the idea of blurring home and work life.  They wouldn’t think twice about popping to the shops in working time, but equally it would not concern them to carry out a work task in personal time.  This often results in working after normal hours.  They are totally comfortable blurring spatial boundaries, and love organisations that bridge that boundary, such as offering a childcare facility at work.  The overarching idea here is that they have a much easier job transitioning between their different roles.  

Acknowledging individuals preferences is a very useful step in developing better practices around remote working.  This is especially the case where a manager and team member may have very different preferences.  e.g. An integrator managers could easily have expectations of a segmentor team member that are likely to result in tensions.  Being aware of this difference is the start of being able to manage it better in either direction.  

It’s also worth stating that that both preferences can learn from each other.  For example, an integrator might do well to add a little segmentation into their daily routines, for example, setting a time curfew after which they will stop working.  Equally a segmentor might benefit from being able to flex the working day to suit a family or personal need from time to time

Given that so many previously workplace bound people are now having to work from home, coupled with the likelihood that hybrid working is now here to stay; this is a topic that teams and managers would do well to explore, discuss, and share opinions on.  This without doubt would be a helpful thing to work through as we move into phase 2 ‘long term / permanent’ remote working.

Bob Bannister

Ships Captain