What Is Autonomously Working? (Plus How To Encourage It)

Autonomously working is when team members complete essential tasks of their positions without direct supervision or oversight. Team members that are autonomously working may be able to motivate themselves to complete tasks and have direct access to all resources required to complete such tasks.

Most people are initially more at ease working independently than collaboratively because they feel in charge of what they do. The ability to work independently is not, however, without challenges, the need for negotiation skills, or the need to be responsible to others and adhere to deadlines. The person must manage this accountability for task outcomes so that other members of a team or workgroup are not delayed by late task completion or forced to redo work as a result of subpar work.

Numerous people have used this adage, including NATO commander Jim Stavridis, but it may have been first uttered by President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. When you enter the workforce as opposed to the individualistic role of a student, the value of collaborative skills will become very clear.

While listening to Emily Eldrige’s revelation about her personality type, think about your own personality type and how you interact with others. She “confesses” her intense dislike of collaboration and how she ultimately changed that — and why?

So yes, it is frequently quicker to do a job yourself, but regrettably, even within your field of expertise, your one brain is not sufficient to manage the complex and multidisciplinary knowledge systems of most workplaces. There are only 24 hours in a day, and in addition to only having one brain, you also only have one set of hands. Understanding the various personality types on our team will help us capitalize on their advantages while also recognizing their weaknesses. Perhaps you’d like to take the same personality test that Emily Eldridge did? One of the most reputable tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is utilized by many employers. The purpose of the Myers-Briggs test is to explain and apply the Jungian psychological types to people’s daily lives. This free, high-quality Human Metrics test opens in new window

How to Get Your VA to Work Autonomously

What positions use autonomous work?

The following jobs frequently involve autonomous work:

What is autonomously working?

When team members work autonomously, they complete crucial job duties without immediate direction or oversight. When working independently, team members may be able to motivate themselves to finish tasks and have immediate access to all the resources needed to do so. When members of an autonomous team complete a task, they may have the resources to choose the best task to complete next. For instance, a content writer who works independently may choose which articles to write and finish them without specific guidance or direction.

Benefits of employee autonomy

Here is a list of benefits of employee autonomy:

Greater accountability

When team members work independently, they might be more responsible for carrying out the duties related to their position. They are the only ones responsible for ensuring they finish their work because autonomous team members may be the only ones accountable for their productivity. For instance, an independent travel agent may be responsible for making a specific amount of money and making a specific number of reservations without the assistance of a manager.

Improved productivity

Giving team members the chance to work independently may increase their productivity by enabling them to finish tasks as soon as they are ready to rather than requiring them to wait for specific instructions. For instance, a web designer might complete one web page and move on to the next without consulting a manager first. Additionally, team members who operate independently may be eager to demonstrate their capacity to produce their own results, increasing productivity.

Greater engagement

Team members who work independently may become more invested in their work as they are responsible for finding the resources and tools they need to finish their tasks. Team members might need to complete more tasks or more varied tasks as a result of autonomous working. The fewer repetitive tasks there are, the better the engagement might be.

How to encourage your team to work autonomously

The following are some suggestions for inspiring your team to work independently:

1. Discuss responsibilities

When forming creative autonomous working groups, ask team members what tasks they feel most at ease completing on their own. While performing some tasks, some team members may prefer to work in teams, while others may be more at ease working independently. As everyone is aware of their specific responsibilities when working autonomously, productivity may increase as a result of discussing autonomous expectations with your teams.

2. Maintain communication

Despite the fact that team members may be working independently, managers may still regularly communicate with them to check on their progress and offer guidance or assistance. For instance, you might ask team members how you can help them with their weekly tasks, promoting independence while also letting them know that help is available if they need it. By communicating with their manager only when necessary, this could help team members maintain productivity.

3. Create independence focused job descriptions

To ensure they hire team members who are interested in working independently, managers may include expectations for autonomous working in job descriptions. Some people might prefer jobs where they can feel more independent and have more control over their tasks. You could also decide to reiterate the significance of these expectations during interviews.

4. Give choices

When giving team members autonomous tasks, managers may decide to let them decide how and when they complete their work. The same type of work may be completed using a variety of methods and tactics. Additionally, letting team members decide when to finish their work could help them achieve better work-life balance. For instance, a software engineer who works independently might decide to work at night while the rest of his team is sleeping.

5. Offer remote work

Giving team members the option to finish their work remotely could encourage more autonomy. Team members may assume more responsibility for task completion because they are not in the same location as their managers or coworkers. For instance, a manager might permit accountants to work remotely on their own timetable as long as they finish the tasks assigned to them.

Example of autonomously working

Here is a manager who is using autonomous work within their team as an example:

Tim is a sales manager for ABCXYZ CORP. Tim’s sales representatives call potential leads and set up meetings for Tim to close each sale. Tim doesn’t keep track of when salespeople are working, but he expects them to schedule five meetings each day. Additionally, Tim allows sales associates to work from home. Tim may get in touch with a sales associate if they fall short of their sales quota to offer assistance in achieving their objectives.


What does it mean to work autonomously?

Giving employees the freedom to work how they want in a workplace that values autonomy Employees who have autonomy at work can choose how and when to complete their tasks. Workplace autonomy will look different depending on your organization.

How do you demonstrate working autonomously?

How to demonstrate that you are an independent worker on your resume:
  1. Describe a time when you had to complete a project alone.
  2. Talk about projects that required extra accountability.
  3. Describe instances where you were required to oversee multiple projects at once.

What are autonomous working skills?

Working autonomously entails managers giving their team broad goals and deadlines while letting team members develop their own plans to reach these goals on their own. People who use this work style may feel more accountable, which motivates them.

Why is working autonomously important?

Increasing employee autonomy can result in both a more productive workplace as a whole and a more fulfilling personal life. It promotes a culture of trust between staff members and managers and a recognition that workers are unique individuals who perform well in a variety of work settings.

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