December 8, 2017
Designing Offices For Both Introverts and Extroverts
POSTED BY Dahir
We often talk about designing offices for multiple generations, but what about offices that work for different personality types? Take, for example, extroverts and introverts.
They each have vastly different wants and needs when it comes to an ideal work environment. Yet there’s no need to isolate or favor one ‘type’ of person over another. With intentional space planning throughout the office, organizations can successfully empower each of their employees without ignoring the needs of anyone.
Results of a study released by the British Psychology Society showed that many people feel uncomfortable at work, due in large part to ‘modern’ office layouts. The study discusses how hot-desking and open-concept workspaces, in general, are tailored specifically to extraverted individuals. Unfortunately, this leaves people with more introverted tendencies outside of their comfort zones. As a result, the author explained that in this study “extraverts were significantly happier at work and had higher levels of job satisfaction.”
Obviously, business owners and managers don’t want to leave half of their workplace population feeling isolated or uneasy, so what’s the solution?
Do A Little Research
Before making any changes to your office design, determine what your team needs. Although it’d be nice if we had one, there isn’t a formula for the ‘right’ number of each type of workstation. If the vast majority of employees are outgoing and work best in social environments, private nooks and quiet rooms will be less important. On the other hand, if you’ve got an equal ratio of introverts and extraverts working for you, prioritize more quiet zones. The point is that you can’t assume you know what will be best for your team. So ask them.
Once you’ve got a better understanding of how your workers prefer to operate, you’ll be able to plan your office space most effectively. In today’s workplace, with significance placed on collaboration, it’s likely that the office will adopt some sort of open concept layout. Just be sure to create a balance.
For many introverts, making phone calls in the midst of their coworkers is mortifying, and the background noise from constant chatter can make productive work all but impossible. Instead, incorporate creative ideas, such as oversized phone booths, to meet their needs.
These rooms will take up far less space than a typical office, but still offer the privacy an introverted person wants when making professional phone calls. And while group lounges are a great way to promote innovation, consider providing a few small nooks and individual spaces as well. If someone needs a little time away from the social, communal areas, they’ve got a haven they can escape to.
Make Flexible Choices
Of course, the team your organization starts out will change as time goes on. What works for your team today may not be ideal in the future. To extend the investment you make on your office interior, opt for flexible design elements. Reconfigurable walls and furniture will allow your interior to evolve with your organization’s needs.
Creating Offices Where Everyone Thrives
In every facet of life, diversity adds value. And in the case of business, thanks to varying perspectives, diversity leads to innovation and creative thinking. For great business leaders, it’s important to create workspaces that draw out the best in each individual. When it comes to designing an office that enables introverts and extraverts to thrive together, the results are worth the effort.