If your business relies heavily on artists, writers or techies, it’s likely populated with a fair amount of introverts. Unlike extroverts, who are energized by interactive environments and being around other people, introverts prefer quiet and tend to be more productive when working in solitude. To keep your employees happy, healthy and ready to give their best, consider these tips for an introvert friendly office.
Nix the Open Office Floor Plan
While open offices are often touted as being more affordable and fostering greater collaboration and communication, the disadvantages of an open office floor plan far outweigh any benefits. For introverts, the energy of an open office can cause irritability, stress and a drop in productivity. Even extroverts have trouble concentrating in the “cube farm” where they must fight the urge to join in the hubbub. Instead, opt for a mix of private offices and shared public spaces for meetings and collaboration.
If private offices aren’t an option, you may want to allow employees to work remotely. Introverts are typically excellent telecommuters, who can be very productive when away from the hustle and bustle of an office. In fact, flexibility, in general, is a good thing. Allowing employees of all personality types the freedom to structure their own work day the way they want, will likely result in more work getting done.
Introverts prefer to think before they speak, so try to avoid impromptu meetings and spur-of-the-moment strategy sessions. If you want all of your employees to participate, you need to give the introverts time to plan and prepare. Even if their only job is to be an active listener, preparing an agenda can reduce stress and anxiety for introverts, who like to know what to expect.
Change the Communication Channel
Communication and collaboration are important in any business, but it may be worth exploring unconventional methods if your workforce is comprised of introverts. Rather than large team brainstorms, assemble small groups or committees for strategizing, and use group chat tools, like Slack, and email to allow teammates to communicate in writing rather than in-person.
Allow for Down Time
Remember that introverts need quiet, alone time to recharge. Too much stimulation and overscheduling can cause burn out for introverts, so beware of planning an evening of mandatory socializing after an all-day conference or client visits. Likewise, if your business requires team travel, ensure each employee has a private room to retire to at the end of the night, rather than expecting colleagues to bunk together.
Need Help Designing an Introvert Friendly Office?
Unlike the common stereotype, introverts are not all shy hermits who want to avoid people. They merely prefer quiet, more personalized interactions to lively large group settings and a bit more privacy, both at home and at work.
If your office space is in need of an introvert overhaul, The Lakeside Park can help. We offer customizable office space near Boston, and can provide you with a mix of private offices and shared public spaces for meetings and collaboration. We offer affordable lease options, starting at less than $20 per square foot including utilities, as well as a variety of tenant amenities and services.