After almost two years of working remotely, you might be out of touch with working in office.

With most people looking at going back to the office in 2022, now is a good time to prepare for the big return.

Whether you are starting a new job or staying at your current one, there are certain types of people you are likely to come across in the office.

Thanks to the pandemic, our work-way has flipped, and there is a new archetypical edge emerging as a result of that. They’re a little edgy, or a little weary, or a little over-focussed or a little under-focussed, or too cavalier, or too ballsy or too fearful, explained Kerry Morris, the CEO of South Africa’s recruitment and labour services agency, Tower Group.

Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash

Morris claims that the Covid pandemic changed her, and probably the rest of us too.

Here are the 5 employee archetypes Morris thinks we should all be aware of:

The Late Bloomer (Low input, high surprises)

These are the tardy-but-not-on-purpose ones. Their time management sucks. They’re always late, unapologetically. You’ll find them tripping into the boardroom and the online call. They’re up late at night, they’re trailing behind on deadlines and they’re blaming online schooling for all their dropped balls. Life for them is no picnic – but somehow – through the grace of who knows what – they manage to pull it off. They deliver exceptional work. Three days late – but exceptional. It’s a conundrum.

The personality crisis: Procrastination

The actual crisis: Time Management

#LateBloomer Hack: If you’re a Late Bloomer – draw up a weekly (maybe daily) to-do list and divide it into a personal and professional column. No more than 4 priority tasks per column. Do them.

The Tab Slayer (always on, never on point)

They have 52 tabs open, their mom is on speed dial, their family WhatsApp group pings all day, they’ll send 27 email responses in just under 4.2 minutes, and delegate 20 tasks in one morning. Disguised as overachievers, this is a classic case of quick fire, all smoke. The boss is kept happy, the clients are well managed, but the work ‘aint done. Too many tabs, too much wasted energy on the wrong things.

The personality crisis: Distraction

The actual crisis: Priority Management

#TabSlayer Hack: If you’re a Tab Slayer – close 52 of your tabs. Like right now. Shut off your email – and get to work.

The Kill Joy (eye roll activity)

All news and no real facts. Sadly, this one’s the office downer. Everything they discuss has to do with COVID-19 stats, and the things they saw on Facebook; they’ll tell you what happened, how it happened and how many people died because it happened.

Every negative story in the press – this is where you’ll find it; including the one about the cousin three times removed that died of the C word, and why everyone who doesn’t take ivermectin is doomed. Previously known as a “wet blanket” or “Office Drama Queen” – the Kill Joy takes the toxicity up a few notches with their conversation heavily dipped in misfortune, funerals and ICU. A new-age display of ‘stuck on the problem, not the solution.’ Enough said.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

The personality crisis: Negativity

The actual crisis: Fear-led performance

#KillJoy Hack: If you’re a Kill Joy – turn off the news. Stop reading Facebook (if just for a day). Write down one positive thing every day for the next 30 days – and share that with your colleagues rather.

The Load Shedder (previously known as The Slacker)

The lights are on but nobody’s home. You’ll often feel like you’re in the waiting room with this employee. A certain numbness prevails. They take too long to finish any project; too long to get you any answers; too long to share their Zoom screen and generally too long to finish a sentence.

Often, they’ll blame their slackness on “COVID-19 brain” but truly, this output is a direct result of fear-based performance. Fear can render us sluggish and debilitates us in our performance. Fear can also manifest into sorrow and depression. This arche tends to feel safer living in the oblivion of life, rather than facing the reality of it. As a result, their coping mechanisms suffer, and their work suffers too.

The personality crisis: Overwhelm

The actual crisis: Inability to cope

#LoadShedder Hack: If you’re a Load Shedder – Raise your hand and ask for help. Identify which areas in your job are dragging you down or feel overwhelming. Discuss these with your line manager as a means to a solution.

The Bullet Train (high input, high output, big crash)

Make some room – this employee type is coming at you faster than a speeding bullet. They work hard. Too hard. Always seen banging away at their laptop – working from the office, in the car, at the doctor, at the kitchen nook. They are masters of excellence and get their work done in record time.

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

They over produce and over deliver. An employer’s dream, right? Wrong. This fast-tracking, die-hard is edging for a fatal fall from grace. This is our ‘avoidance worker’: they’re using their work as a crutch to avoid the pandemic, avoid change, avoid their sadness, avoid themselves.

They’ll quite happily lose themselves in the work, until they burn their wicks to nothing. They have few friends at the office (if at all) and their over-performance is perceived as competitive and solo-ist (spoiler alert: they’re also the most likely to resign when nobody sees it coming; coupled with a one-way ticket to India and a commitment to changing the world). Honestly, the most dangerous type of all the types! To be monitored closely.

The personality crisis: Volatility

The actual crisis: Avoidance

#BulletTrain Hack: If you’re a Bullet Train – woah, put the brakes on babe. Nobody’s coming for you. Try discipline your time at work and schedule an 8am-5pm bullet proof day; find smarter ways to fill up your after-hours like reading a book, practicing yoga or visiting a friend.