Design an Office for Both Introverts & Extroverts
The open-plan office continues to be a popular layout for modern businesses. The space can be made to feel wide open, ready for collaboration, creativity, and transparency. An open office is a place that allows for both open communication and collaboration. However, there are some personality types that don’t thrive in an open-plan layout. Yet, the office should be an inclusive place that’s comfortable for everyone.
Introverts are usually the employees who don’t feel comfortable in an open-plan layout. They find the noise and movement in the space to be horribly distracting. It’s so difficult to focus their productivity ends up slowing down. Let’s face it; the open-plan office is more comfortable for introverts than extroverts.
We’ve put together some tips to help you find ways to make the office more comfortable and inclusive for both extroverts and introverts.
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What Type of Workspace is Best for the Introvert?
Introverts usually work alone and independently. These employees usually have a superpower that helps them concentrate deeply on problems and come up with creative solutions to problems. These employees are observers, patient, and less social than their extroverted colleagues.
So, what kind of workspace do introverts feel is best for them? They usually don’t prefer an open-office layout. Instead, they work best in independent workspaces. They need space to retreat from the noise and other distractions in the office, as well as colleagues. Plus, they usually need some amount of alone time during the day, as introverts tend to avoid social distractions when working.
So, how can you create an office where introverts and extroverts can reside in peace?
Tips to Create the Perfect Workplace for Introverts & Extroverts
It’s no wonder that introverts suffer in an open office layout. The goal is to find a way to allow employees to work as they need to stay productive. It’s essential to create an office environment where both introverts and extroverts can function and can work together comfortably.
Do Some Research
The first place to start is to ask your team what they want in a work environment. It’s not a tool to create the perfect workspace; instead, the goal is to create a workplace where most people feel comfortable. Even so, it’s crucial to include your employees in the process.
You can ask employees what they want through an anonymous poll on the company website. Or through a paper survey. Both the poll and survey can include essential questions that help employees share their position on what’s needed in a redesigned office space.
Once you’ve received employee input, then this information can be used to create an office space with the right ratio of collaborative spaces and private, quiet zones.
The key is to create a variety of office spaces that incorporate quiet zones. Then each employee can move to find a space that’s best conducive to their task(s). Here are some ideas:
Scatter private rooms, sometimes called privacy pods, throughout the open office. Create work zones for collaboration, quiet one-to-one meetings, and phone calls.
Make sure meeting rooms and breakout spaces are centrally located between private office spaces. Openwork areas to encourage communication between team members.
Be sure to offer enough private workspace for those who have jobs that require concentration and focus most of the time.
Include Nature in the Open Office
Another way to provide some level of privacy is through the use of plants in the office. Studies have shown that being close to nature or interacting with nature can reduce stress. Plants can also help people relax and recharge during their workday.
So, try to bring nature into the office space. This can be done by:
- Creating a living plant wall
- Having plants scattered throughout the office
- Creating an outdoor community garden
- Allowing natural light into the collaboration environment
Take Care of Acoustics
Another common problem in the open-plan layout is the acoustics of the room. Open office layouts can be noisy and distracting places for introverts, especially when a group is collaborating on a project. So, try to find ways to cut sound and noise in the space.
For instance, installing a carpet can keep sound from bouncing around the room. In addition, the installation of acoustic panels, cork flooring, textile covered partitions can all help cut down on sound.
Here, again, creating a variety of workspaces can help cut down on sound problems. Acoustic panels can also be used as dividers between quiet zones and collaboration zones.
The key is to provide quiet spaces where introverted employees can work comfortably. Even semi-private areas can go a long way in helping introverts.
Give Employees a Personal Workspace
Hot desking is a practice that allows employees to sit at any workstation and get things done. However, introverts usually prefer working in their own space. With a personal workspace, introverts can feel more comfortable as they work. And they may also feel better knowing who their nearby neighbours are.
Hot desking can be stressful for introverts. So consider creating private workspaces for the introverts in your office.
Redo Community Spaces
Another way to help introverts is to ensure community spaces are comfortable for both introverts and extroverts. Where do your introvert employees meet? Once you find the space, then ensure it’s designed with their comfort in mind. The space needs to be quiet and calm, located away from collaborative spaces in the office.
And remember to incorporate technology, too. Technology is needed to make it possible for everyone to stay in touch.
Summing It Up
These days, a company works with many personality types, and each one is needed in the open office. Don’t forget to get about your introverted employees. Make sure the office has enough space for the introverts in the office and that their spaces are quiet and located away from where the extroverts like to kick up their heels!
The goal is to create an office space where most employees can work productively and feel comfortable at the same time. Everyone’s well-being is essential in the workplace. So, ensure your office space is inclusive and that the extroverts and introverts each have spaces where they can get work done.
How can office design cater to both introverts and extroverts?
Office design can cater to both introverts and extroverts by incorporating a variety of spaces. For introverts, provide secluded areas or quiet zones for focused work. For extroverts, create vibrant collaborative spaces that encourage interaction. Balancing these areas ensures both personality types feel comfortable and productive.
Are there specific colour schemes suitable for both personality types?
Yes, certain colour schemes can cater to both introverts and extroverts. Soft, muted tones like blues, greens, or neutrals can be calming for introverts, while pops of energising colours like reds or yellows in communal spaces can stimulate extroverts. A mix of these palettes can create a harmonious environment.
What role does technology play in designing an inclusive office space?
Technology facilitates inclusivity by offering flexible communication and work options. Tools like video conferencing, collaborative platforms, and remote work software accommodate diverse working styles, allowing introverts and extroverts to engage effectively based on their preferences.
Can flexible furniture layouts accommodate diverse work preferences?
Absolutely. Flexible furniture layouts, including adjustable desks, ergonomic chairs, and modular workstations, cater to diverse preferences. Employees can personalise their workspaces, providing comfort and adaptability for both introverts seeking solitude and extroverts preferring collaborative settings.
Are there cost-effective ways to create a balanced office environment?
Yes, there are cost-effective strategies. Employing versatile furniture, utilizing multifunctional spaces, and optimizing natural light can create a balanced environment without significant expenses. Incorporating these elements thoughtfully can enhance productivity and well-being within budget constraints.
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