Work From Home Tips For Every Enneagram Type

A big portion of our team works from home regularly, and the rest have been working from home now for well over a month. It could be longer! Who knows? Taking it one day at a time. And we know that working from home is not normal for so many people, and it can be a big transition. So we wanted to use today’s post to share tips for each enneagram type (written by someone who identifies as that type) … since what helps each of us can be so different!

Type One. 
Routine is everything for me. Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, put my phone away to focus on work, take a lunch break (away from my desk—important!), then work hard again until 5. Having a separate space for “work” versus “home” (both physical and mental) is super helpful to me. My little desk faces a window which I think helps keep me from being distracted by all of the things I “could” or “should” take care of around the house.

Also, a project management program is HUGE for me to organize my thoughts, tasks, goals, and dreams as well as collaborate with our team. Feeling 100% confident that my thoughts are documented and organized throughout the day helps me stay focused on a task knowing I can return to whatever pops into my head along the way once that task is finished.

Lastly, in true “Perfectionist” fashion, there is a certain (read: right :)) way I leave my desk at the end of each day. It helps signal to my brain that the day is over, and when I return to my desk the next morning everything is in its place to start fresh!
-Morgan Goodwin (Elsie’s friend)

Type Two. 
As a 2 and “The Helper” on the Enneagram, I make sure I’m incredibly intentional with my time when I work from home. As soon as I discovered I would be working from home for an extended amount of time and with a 3-year-old, I created a daily schedule so I could protect work and family time. I have set apart focused times for work, home projects and time with my daughter (+ home preschool now!) that I try to stick to as best I can (with flexibility, of course). I’m the executive assistant to the president of my company, so in order to help him best, I make sure to schedule time for the two of us to connect at least once a day either on the phone or via video conference, preferably during my daughter’s nap time so he has my undivided attention. This helps me stay organized and feel like I’m doing my best to assist him and to make sure nothing in the time apart falls through the cracks.
-Whitney Cheshier (Elsie’s friend)

Type Three. 
If you’ve heard one piece of advice about working from home, it’s probably “get ready for the day.” This is SO important to me!! As a 3w4 (I consider myself about half 3 and half 4), putting together an outfit is a fun, creative process for me. I try to stick with this when working remote! And when all else fails (because I still want to be relatively comfortable), I put on lipstick—just me, all alone in my house. But hey, I’ma look GOOD on that Zoom call. Ha!

Another thing I like to do is challenge myself to get certain things done before taking a break. For example, I’ll make myself a cup of tea once I finish creating Instagram stories (or something similar). This helps to keep me on track with my goals and give me a sense of achievement when I finish tasks, which is important for a 3!

Last, I love taking a walk over lunch and listening to a podcast. It breaks up my day in the most energizing way!
-Ana (Community Manager for A Color Story)

Type Four. 
Type fours tend to rely on aesthetics, so when working from home, try making your surroundings something that inspires you. Even if your desk is your kitchen table, open some windows to bring in sunlight, play some tunes, or have a notepad nearby for doodles while you think. This will help keep you inspired and creative, even if your job isn’t a “creative” one.

Type fours also tend to be very emotional. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the transition from office to home, take a couple of moments during the day to step away from your computer and take a few breaths. Maybe play with your pet for a couple of minutes, make a snack, or doodle.
-Rachel (Product Manager for A Color Story)

Type Five.
We tried! But oddly enough we didn’t connect with any Type Fives in order to get their perspective and tips. If you identify as this number and would be willing to share, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!!!

Type Six. 
When you start to overthink things (because it’s what we do, lol), grab the phone and talk it through with a team member. Sometimes I get so in the weeds on projects that I need to step back and ask Elsie or Emma to review it or talk through things with me. The good thing is I’m very protective of our little company, but being overly cautious at times needs checks and balances, and it’s OK to ask for other opinions and help.

Take breaks! And don’t beat yourself up for them. A positive characteristic of a 6 is being loyal and hardworking. It took me a while to be OK with taking a quick lap around the block for fresh air, throwing in a load of laundry, getting a coffee, etc. But it’s OK to take breaks (within reason obviously) and then come back refreshed/more focused to your work.

Don’t procrastinate! I try to knock out the admin/meticulous parts of the day first thing in the morning time. That’s when my mind is freshest (thank yooouu coffee) and if I knock it out first thing it’s most likely to get done that day.

Routines and habits provide a certain level of mental security/control, which I find comforting! Building morning routines, whether it’s making coffee at x time, actually getting ready, or doing a workout before starting the day can help create a schedule.
-Claire (Business Development Manager for A Beautiful Mess)

Type Seven. 
The shift that helped me the most was definitely batch working. As a seven, I am very (!!!!) easily distracted. Batch working really saved me because when I really dive in and speed work ONE type of thing I can get a lot done. Now I spend whole days just doing photos (I shoot all my blog photos in two days a month—isn’t that wild?), whole days of writing, whole days of meetings and I do much better when I catch up on emails or DMs in a big burst. Hope that helps some fellow 7s. Your energy is GOOD, but you have to harness it to fully COMPLETE tasks so you don’t spend the whole day bouncing from idea to idea, leaving our entire list half-completed.
-Elsie (Co-founder of A Beautiful Mess and A Color Story)

Type Eight. 
Make time to get in your body!!! Move energy. Focus out … every 2 hours, FaceTime someone for five minutes and ask how you can support them today.
-Caroline Lee (Elsie’s friend)

Type Nine. 
Nines have a tendency to want to tackle a bunch of things at once. We have a hard time prioritizing. Lists help a lot! I like to make a big list for my entire week and break it up by day, so I don’t feel like I have to do the entire list in one day. I also highly recommend the book The Now Habit as it deals with a lot of strategies around avoiding procrastination.
-Emma (Co-founder of A Beautiful Mess and A Color Story)

Credits // Thanks to everyone who helped write this post with us! Photography: Amber Ulmer.
  • As a ‘type 5,’ the blurb for that number made me laugh out loud! Typical, lol. Most fellow 5s I know find Enneagram stuff shady (including myself), or remain on the sidelines enough to be deemed ‘inaccessible’. Lol…so funny!

  • Five here to chime in. We are already so comfortable working by ourselves that not much has changed! If anything, this experience has made me more comfortable with my own self-isolation ways.

  • I’m a 6w5. It’s been so easy to adjust to working at home, I’m guessing true 5 types didn’t have much difficulty adjusting to this change either.

  • Another 5 here! I have always worked from home (of course I have) and feel very comfortable doing so. My Enneagram 5 self loves being helpful, sharing WFH and WFH-with-kids tips with friends & family.

    One thing I will say, for 5s in this season, is that alone time is still CRITICAL. I’ve always had my kids with me, but now my husband is also home, and I’m connecting more than ever with work, friends, & family via zoom. I miss alone time! I have been taking 2-3 nights a week to just read by myself in my room, or take a long bath, which is restorative.

    • This!! Type 5 here (though I usually get a bit of a mix when I test) and everything is true here. I’m fine aside from missing any sense of alone time oddly enough. I get overwhelmed with too many people in my space, but right now…options are limited. Ha.

    • Another 5, lol yesss, I feel you on the alone time. kids home from school, husband working from home too and our nephews quarantining with us. How was I more alone BEFORE a pandemic? Hah!

  • Another 5 weighing in…I agree with the other comments that the transition to WFH has been pretty seamless. It’s definitely helpful being a 5 and comfortable with being by myself right now. Two things that have been helpful for me:
    1. Having a space separate from where my husband is doing his work from home so I can zone in and focus. He likes to make small talk when we end up in the same space, which is disruptive to my flow.
    2. My desk is in a corner facing a wall, which helps me stay focused so I don’t get distracted by the proximity to all my other hobbies and things I like to dig into in my free time, since I always have 10,000 things I’m curious about trying or learning.

  • I’m a nine and I just laugh at lists OR I make a list, then add the things I really do just so I can mark them off the list.

  • I think the real key to successfully working from home as any enneagram number is to experience a pandemic PRE-CHILDREN. Goodness. I can’t get anything done!

  • Another 5 here! I think having a dedicated space to work is key, also i agree with the other commenter that even though I am working at home, usually by myself, I still need some alone me-time, without my husband around. I try to get some reading time in before bed or get up a little early for that extra quiet time to myself.

  • A beautiful mess and the enneagram are some of my favourite interests, so happy to see those worlds converge 🙂
    Thank you for the helpful tips!
    Karo, 7

  • Another 5 chiming in! I second the need for “alone time!” It’s pretty difficult to be completely alone in the house, so I’ve been taking walks by myself—with my large headphones! 🎧 It sounds rude, but it signals to the talkative strangers around me that I can’t hear them, and don’t want to chat. (Sometimes I listen to the ABM podcast!) Everyone is extra friendly these days, but sometimes a 5 needs a break from everyone!

  • 5w4, I could not agree more with the comments re: 5’s WFH in quarantine needing to defend their alone time! I’ve been going absolutely mad without any personal time/space with family constantly surrounding me. I’ve always WFH without issue, but now I’m stressed because I’m around people in close quarters all the time. I keep saying I need social distance from my social distancing!

    My 4 wing agrees with the aesthetics too, beautiful work spaces make me feel happy and less like what I’m doing is a chore. Grey, sunless, boring, corporate office environments gave me existential crises, so the control over the design of my workspace at home is sublime.

  • Another 5 chiming in! I second the need for “alone time!” It’s pretty difficult to be completely alone in the house, so I’ve been taking walks by myself—with my large headphones! 🎧 It sounds rude, but it signals to the talkative strangers around me that I can’t hear them, and don’t want to chat. (Sometimes I listen to the ABM podcast!) Everyone is extra friendly these days, but sometimes a 5 needs a break from everyone!

  • Hello! Type 5 here. I work a corporate job that allowed for WFH… on paper. In practice, my boss told me to WFH max once a week to be more “visible” in the office. Now that we all have to WFH everyday, I find my productivity has gone way up. I use the morning to complete my actual work and the afternoon working on side-of-desk tasks that I think would improve how my team currently works.

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