Bustling open plan coworking spaces with lots of social activities and hang out areas may suit extrovert personalities, but introverts may not immediately feel so comfortable in these highly stimulating environments. We look at how introverts can also find their groove in a flexible workspace and take advantage of the benefits of coworking for their personality type and more measured approach to work and life.
By definition extroverts enjoy other people’s company and find social situations energising. They usually thrive in busy, community-driven environments. This makes coworking spaces ideal for them. On the other hand, introverts prefer subdued and quieter places, are energised by solitude and calmer experiences and may find that social situations, with lots of different people, drain their energy.
In practice we all sit somewhere on a continuum between these two extremes and may even have some characteristics of both personality types. If you’re not sure where you sit on the extroversion/introversion spectrum try this test to find out.
Some of the main benefits of coworking spaces – open communication, collaboration, social interaction – are obvious pluses to anyone who is more extroverted, but for anyone on the more introverted end of the scale these are not really understood as benefits at all. However, there are some less obvious benefits of sharing a workspace that allow introverts to make the most of coworking and find a comfortable place within it.
Introverts feel less isolated in coworking spaces
According to Deskmag’s Global Coworking Survey just 1 in 5 members of coworking spaces describe themselves as ‘more introverted’. Those surveyed reported that one of the main reasons for coworking was to reduce feelings of isolation that working remotely can bring.
It’s a common misconception that introverts are anti-social or shy, but in fact, they are more likely to want meaningful interactions with a few people than to make small talk with lots of different people. Introverts may process information internally and pick their friends carefully but they are not interested in being lonely so the option of a flexible workspace can be particularly attractive because you can choose who to interact with and when.
Quiet spots and flexibility allow introverts to recharge
Most coworking offices have chill out areas specifically reserved for quiet and contemplation. Introverts will find their natural habitat in places like these and should take full advantage of these oases of calm. The flexibility of coworking spaces and their more informal nature compared to traditional offices allow introverts to take breaks to recharge in a quiet spot without many people around, and without having to explain why a break is needed. As most of the people around you work for different organisations there is no requirement to interact with anyone unless you choose to.
Cowork etiquette means no interruptions
The unspoken rule within most coworking spaces is that when someone is working you don’t interrupt them. This makes these spaces supremely productive and allows introverts to focus on themselves and their work and sets boundaries that every clued-up coworking member will respect.
Networking can be a nightmare for the true introvert. It requires the dreaded ‘putting yourself out there’. Coworking spaces take all the hassle and stress out of networking. Introverts can network with other members simply as they go about their day and get to know potential clients and forge partnerships in a simple and unforced way. Coworking spaces often organise networking events, which may seem less daunting to an introvert member than cold-calling or networking events in new places.