Every office is made up of different personalities. Most people can be bucketed into two main categories of employees: introverts and extroverts. Extroverts involve themselves socially with nearly everyone at work, while introverts prefer to work in solitude. As you can probably imagine, these characteristics tend to clash when it comes to bustling, open office spaces.

These types of workspaces typically lead to more collaboration and communication, and thus to greater productivity. But this may not be the case for everyone.

Introverts who hate distractions may find themselves constantly interrupted in an open work environment, and extroverts may have trouble distinguishing boundaries between socializing and productive collaboration.

Here's more insight into what introverts and extroverts want in their workspace and how employers can create workplaces that help everyone succeed.

What type of workspace helps an extrovert thrive?

Extroverts are typically the more outgoing bunch. They're interactive, engaging, and always motivated to get involved in a conversation or project. At the same time, extroverts can be overpowering and overly friendly with colleagues. Sometimes it can feel like extroverts have problems respecting boundaries and tend to overwhelm the workplace with conversation and chatter.

Based on these characteristics, it's obvious that a more open workspace is better suited for an extrovert. An extrovert would often rather meet with people throughout the day and collaborate. They tend to be more productive in environments where they can bounce ideas off others during the workday. Open workspaces encourage extroverts to engage with other people as needed and do their best work.

What type of workspace helps an introvert thrive?

While introverts tend to work more independently, they have impressive powers of concentration and problem solving. They are observers, patient employees, and less social than their more collaborative counterparts.

These characteristics suggest that introverts prefer independent workspaces rather than open environments. Additionally, they need an office that provides space for them to retreat throughout the day from co-workers and distractions. They may need more "alone time," and find themselves avoiding social distractions in the office.

Creating the perfect office space for introverts and extroverts

The trend toward having open office spaces can have positive effects on extroverts but introverts may struggle. Every employer wants to make sure every employee can work in the way that allows him or her to be most productive. Ensuring your office environment can accommodate everyone will help both types of talent thrive.

One strategy to give extroverts the collaborative space they need while offering distraction-free environments for introverts is to include several quiet rooms or private work spaces along with open seating. Introverts can book alone time as needed to complete tasks in solitude, while extroverts can be among colleagues for collaboration.

Flexible work arrangements that allow employees to work from home or a remote location are another way to provide introverts with the quiet and distraction-free space they need to get work done.

By considering the needs and preferences of both introverts and extroverts, you can build a thriving workplace that allows everyone to be as productive as possible.

Published on: Mar 15, 2017
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