Behavioural Expert Thomas Eriksen Offers Working from Home Advice in Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Virtual Session

The Swedish behavioural expert Thomas Erikson hosted the latest Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) Virtual Session on Wednesday, titled ‘Remote Working with Idiots’, where he explained how to remain productive and positive while working from home.

For almost two decades, Erikson has travelled the world to deliver lectures and seminars about workplace behaviour to managers and executives for companies such as IKEA, Coca Cola, Microsoft, KIA Motors and Microsoft. In 2014, he published Surrounded by Idiots (Omgiven Av Idioter in Swedish), which has been translated into 35 languages and sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

As the 30th edition of ADIBF has been postponed until next year, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has organised the Virtual Sessions for guests to present their talks remotely, allowing viewers to watch from the safety of their own homes.

Speaking from his home in Sweden, Erikson described the four types of behaviours detailed in his book: Reds, who are dominant, high-energy types who thrive on conflict; yellows, who are communicative, positive and influential; greens, who are stable, calm and non-confrontational; and blues, who are analytical, task-orientated, and introverted.

Of these types, blues are coping the best with working from home as they have a low need for human interaction and can work without distraction to get their jobs done. Yellows, however, are the ones suffering the most, as they require constant interaction and communication.

Erikson said that because stress causes people to exhibit their true colours, the current lockdown situation will bring out personality types even more. For example, reds will be getting even more frustrated with people around them and more stressed when they lose control over the situation; yellows will be talking even more, and trying to push themselves into every single conversation; greens hate conflict so will agree to everything and with everyone; while blues will be even slower in their work, even though they are less stressed than the others. Because of this, Erikson said we need to pay attention to our colleagues, and show interest in and patience towards their feelings and moods.

After the success of Surrounded by Idiots, Erikson has published three more books: Surrounded by Psychopaths, Surrounded by Bad Bosses, and Surrounded by Setbacks.

Previous ADIBF Virtual Sessions have included ones with the military survival expert John Hudson; Lemn Sissay, the award-winning British poet; Anthony Geffen, the documentary maker and Virtual Reality expert; and Annabel Karmel, the children’s cookbook author.

The next session takes place on Thursday, May 28 at 5pm with Stephen Ritz, the education expert known as “America’s favourite teacher”.

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