Posted: 26 Feb. 2021 4 min. read

Virtual work impacting your Business Chemistry ‘hunching’ powers?

Learn how to adapt to different working styles in a virtual world for greater success

Virtual working from home for nearly a year has been tough for many of us. After a day of virtual meetings we may be experiencing ‘Zoom gloom’, have difficulty focusing, and wonder when we’re going to find time to tackle the to-do list. Although Business Chemistry can guide us on how best to communicate with each other, working in a virtual environment provides a new challenge.


In Business Chemistry we talk about ‘hunching’ another person’s Business Chemistry type based on their observable business behaviours. However people communicate not only with words but with body language and facial expressions, and in a virtual environment these non-verbal cues are more difficult to pick up on.

To help you out, here are some superhero hints for how to recognise which of the four Business Chemistry types you are dealing with in a virtual environment.

Top five hints you might be dealing with a PIONEER: If they…

  1. Change their virtual backgrounds often, sometimes more than once in a single meeting.
  2. Rarely go on mute; Pioneers generate energy and thrive on big group conversations.
  3. Give new things a go in the virtual environment and host meetings a little differently. Pioneers often like to surprise and delight and may get imaginative when delivering meetings, perhaps with music, whiteboarding, backgrounds, and polls.
  4. Keep smiling. Even in the face of adversity and new rules, they’re usually upbeat.
  5. Rush to fill a silence on a virtual call.
     

Top five hints you might be dealing with a GUARDIAN: If they…

  1. Join a call on time, or even early.
  2. Disappear into solitude. They’ll likely only schedule meetings when absolutely necessary because they want time to concentrate and make progress.
  3. Stay relatively quiet during a virtual call with many people. By the time a Guardian has processed what they’re hearing and planned what they want to say, the conversation has often moved on. Besides that, chats with so many conversations get really messy!
  4. Don’t have their video on during calls. Guardians are often private people and video can make them feel exposed.
  5. Provide a clear agenda when they plan a meeting (which we all now appreciate).
     

Top five hints you might be dealing with a DRIVER: If they…

  1. Keep to the meeting agenda, and are brief, as you should be.
  2. Don’t schedule ‘check-in’ calls, and may bow out of ‘just for fun’ meetings - yes, we’re talking virtual happy hours. Drivers usually prefer to limit the number of meetings they join, and make efficient progress in those they do. They may also secretly love that colleagues can no longer ‘drop by’ their desk for a chat, leaving them to get on with their work.
  3. Find you when they need you. Drivers are likely to reach out directly when they need information, putting you on the spot for an answer.
  4. Leave the meeting on time, whether it’s over or not.
  5. Skip the small talk. If you are engaging in the niceties, they might multi-task until you’re done.
     

Top five hints you might be dealing with an INTEGRATOR: If they…

  1. Take time to connect on a personal level before getting down to business. They might make a fuss over your pets, your kids, your home, and pretty much everything about your life on video calls. The move to virtual presents a whole new way to see the more ‘human’ side of our colleagues which Integrators love.
  2. Are very active with the chat function on calls. The option for side conversations allows Integrators to contribute without interrupting, and they likely appreciate others doing the same.
  3. Listen and take turns. Integrators prefer a civilised manner of interacting during virtual calls. Aggression isn’t tolerated, and all thoughts and ideas are welcome and encouraged.
  4. Schedule lots of video calls and appreciate you turning on your video. Integrators aren’t immune to screen fatigue, but they love to collaborate and feel more connected when they have a chance to see your face.
  5. Initiate more opportunities to connect. Integrators miss not having team members around and are most likely to initiate virtual happy hours and causal check-ins.

And there you have it; hopefully these hints have helped grow your superhero power to hunch the four types in a virtual environment. Look out for the points above and you’ll soon start to notice them. Then try flexing your style for better working relationships; it might not come easy but it’s worth it.

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Key contact

Jessica Dooley

Jessica Dooley

Senior Manager

Jessica founded and leads Deloitte’s Business Chemistry client practice for the UK and North South Europe member firms. A business behavioural tool designed to help teams communicate and collaborate better for greater success, Business Chemistry is a proprietary self-assessment tool used to support boards, executive, and senior leadership teams across the FTSE, private, and public sectors. She helps teams understand each other’s working styles; hold honest conversations; be better leaders of diverse teams; build plans for enhanced collaboration; team deliberately for a common purpose; and build trust quickly to achieve strategic and organisational goals. The book ‘Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Relationships – a guide to putting cognitive diversity to work’ was released in the US and UK in May 2018.