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COVID-19 Lockdown

and Work-from-home Challenges

Author: Pieter de Villiers Shadowmatch Head of Research and Development.


The Shadowmatch Research Team did some extensive research to better understand the demands of working from home and the results were surprising. We used data available to us about people who have been working from home and identified some interesting but very specific trends.

Their five most active habits are: Responsiveness, Self Confidence, Propensity to Own, Problem Solving and Innovation. Without going into official academic definitions, these habits are behavioral patterns as described below:

Responsiveness: The speed at which an individual acts when a task is presented that needs attention.

Self Confidence: The trust an individual has in their abilities to do something challenging - even tasks never done before.

Propensity to Own: Taking ownership of a task with the aim of completion without help or sharing the actions necessary for completion.

Problem Solving: The habit of actively engaging a wide variety of problems with the specific outcome of solving the problem.

Innovation: The habit of finding new, alternative and more efficient ways of doing things.

However there were some more interesting findings. The vast majority of individuals have a slightly higher inclination to work as part of a team (Team Inclination average of 43 points) than to work on their own (Individual Inclination average of 40 points). These two habits are, in short, the habit of working as part of a team and the habit of working alone. The Shadowmatch Head of Research couldn’t explain this so he had a few discussions with some of the individuals from the study; they were willing to share their approaches to the challenge of working from home. People whose Team Inclination habits are much higher relative to their Individual Inclination habits could experience isolation as well as rejection from their colleagues. For these individuals specific provision must be made to support them during a time of isolation, lockdown and work-from-home demands. When an individual has a Team Inclination habit that is much lower relative to their habit of Individual Inclination, they tend to become isolated and they also tend to work as if their teammates do not exist. This is a risk for individuals with an Individual Inclination that is much stronger than their Team Inclination habit.

The Work-from-home Benchmark indicates a very strong Conceptual Fitness. These individuals got, on average, eight out of the ten riddles correct. This is the result of working alone. They had to learn the habit of resolving conceptual problems successfully. When this is mirrored against their strong habit of Propensity to Own, it becomes clear how these habits developed. The individuals had to take ownership of riddles/problems they had to resolve without the immediate presence of someone to help them solve these complex problems.

The last behavioral constructs of importance are Self Motivation and Resilience. Both these habits are contextually strong (averages of 48 and 50 points respectively). These are critical for keeping up a normal work-day structure. Get up, dress, start with your working day as if you are in the office, stick to tea-time, lunch and finish at the normal end of day time. These are the two most important habits for a structured work-day approach. If these two habits are too strong the individual will tend to work without breaks, will work too long hours and will become absorbed in the work they do. If these two habits are too low, the individual will struggle to keep up the structures of a normal working day.

Work-from-home Benchmark


by Pieter de Villiers

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