The blossoming of the vibrant startup industry has led to a shift in conventional workspaces. The uprising of the millennial workforce and their growing tendency to interact and socialize at the workplace has heralded the age of the open-plan office. There are a host of benefits that have been attributed to this vast, open landscape – the most popular of which are greater collaboration and easy networking.
While this is great for those who love the constant banter and bouncing ideas off one another, this is the stuff that an introvert’s nightmares are made of. For a whopping one-third of the workforce, the chance of being overheard, the pressure to network and bustling activity is enough to send them scrambling for the suffocation and anonymity of archaic cubicles.
Which begs the question – is there a safe middle ground? Can offices be designed to help introverts thrive?
At CoWrks, the answer is a resounding YES!
Our offices are littered with innovatively constructed spaces that help introverts feel like they’re “in the zone”.
We want to nurture the wallflowers, by creating an environment where they feel free and can tap into their unique strengths.
These are six ways in which we create a rich, positive experience as we help our introverts navigate the seemingly daunting coworking world.
Interesting Talking Points
There is a commonly held myth that introverts detest any sort of social interaction. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Introverts love people and have the instinctive ability to cultivate thought-provoking conversations and deep interpersonal relationships. What they do find excruciating is small talk. Luckily, our offices are filled with unique pieces of art and beautiful paintings and installations on our walls to help kick-start interesting conversations.
Practice quiet assertion
It is far harder for an introvert to prove their mettle and stand out at the workplace, leading them to often be sidelined by their louder, confident counterparts. But a simple hand gesture or polite interjection goes a long way. Raise your hand or firmly request for a chance to speak if you were cut off mid-sentence or have something to say. It commands attention without seeming too assertive.
For those who feel extremely awkward in big groups, our meeting rooms vary in size, making it possible to collaborate and brainstorm one-on-one or in smaller groups. Dim lighting and comfortable furniture help set the ambiance, making the room appear warmer and cozier, and help ease introverts’ nerves.
Make time to exhale
Introverts usually talk less and listen more. They perceive the tiniest nuances and details that most others tend to miss. This constant processing of random pieces of information can cause sensory overload. Our lounge areas and telephone booths are seamlessly integrated within our workspace, and allow a moment of quiet reflection and the ability to take a quick breather. In fact, these are great spaces for all personality types who’d like to meditate to elevate. It is also a fantastic spot for deep work and a burst of peaceful, personal productivity.
Step back from the action
There’s not enough said about the strengths of introverts in the area of handling conflict. While they aren’t confrontational, they often spend a lot of time internally analyzing the situation, which means they have most likely evaluated the situation and developed a mental solution in response to the problem. A heightened awareness of the other person’s feelings and all the ways the conversation could play out, they are extremely efficient at resolving and diffusing tough situations.
Two be or not to be
Most introverts tend to be uncomfortable in the spotlight but have great, creative ideas and solutions that they like to share. Our discussion booths are compact and ideal for groups of two or three to engage in meaningful conversations. Nestled alongside other coworkers in shared spaces, these little nooks are a haven for the introvert who would like to actively brainstorm, while maintaining confidentiality.
Introverts thrive in calm spaces but don’t necessarily need to operate in complete privacy. Working whilst perched atop beautiful bar stools at our Fuel Bar, an introvert can candidly interact with their coworkers over beverages and biscuits. Those who are intimidated by more formal networking settings and hide behind their laptops screens can let their hair down a bit and find things to bond over.
All these spaces are always situated alongside our other more bustling spots, ensuring that introverts have as much access as they’d like to the action without feeling pressured to be a part of it.
At our core, we believe deeply in the value of creating relationships and a tightly knit community. CoWrks encourages our community to stay true to who they are and embrace their individuality. With the understanding that we are a blend of diverse personalities, we’ve helped to make the modern workplace more introvert-friendly.
Not sure where you lie on the spectrum? You can take this quick test by Susan Cain, an ambassador for introverts, to find out what your personality type is.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy this: Why Coworking is everyone’s cup of tea!