An introvert’s guide to life at the office
Let’s face it – offices are rarely peaceful places at the best of times, but they are even less so when you happen to be an introvert. With open plan offices becoming more and more common, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find personal space or quiet time at work. This might be just fine for the extroverts who tend to draw their energy from social situations. However, introverts prefer space and alone time to recharge their batteries and focus on work, making these busy environments an everyday challenge. Some offices just aren’t built for introverts. The good news is that they can learn to work within them. If you’re an introvert who works among the hustle and bustle of a busy office space, we’ve put together some tips and tricks for finding your focus among office chaos so you can truly thrive within it.
Make your space your own
Whether you have an office, a cubical, or a shared desk, it’s important to make your workspace a retreat from your busy office life. Cover it with plants, put up pictures of loved ones, whatever you need to bring you peace and make you feel like you’re in your comfort zone.
Manage your social obligations
Try not to overburden yourself with too many planned social commitments. There will be times when unexpected networking events or late nights with coworkers are unavoidable. Schedule plenty of downtime for yourself throughout your week so you can be recharged and ready to go when you need to be.
Find some private time
Go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or if possible, work from a home every now and again. Sometimes, you just need a minute or two to recharge.
Book small meeting rooms for only yourself
Take the opportunity to work in peace whenever possible. Book small meeting rooms when they’re not in use so you can concentrate and get your work done.
Invest in a good pair of headphones
Whether you’re playing your favourite tunes or just blocking out the world, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones can help you not only find some peace in a busy office but also show your coworkers that you’re not open to conversation.
Come in earlier or stay later
Take advantage of the quiet times at the office. These moments to yourself will be some of your most valuable moments for your work process.
Make a daily habit of checking in with your coworkers
This might sound counter-intuitive, but checking in with your colleagues every morning will allow you to keep up with social activities, while doing it on your own terms. It will also limit the number of co-workers dropping by unexpected to say hello throughout the day. Get your socializing out of the way so you can focus on work.
Create a privacy sign
It could be a ‘Work in Progress’ sign, a clever coffee cup, or red light / green light system. Whatever it is, consider giving your coworkers some kind of visual cue that you are hunkering down so they can give you the peace you need.
Don’t be shy about your skills and talents
It can be tough as an introvert to self-promote. Standing out is something most introverts prefer not to do. However, you bring valuable work skills to the office every day, and you deserve to be recognized for it. Stand up for your skills and your ideas as often as you feel comfortable.
Find the right office or company
Some introverts may be able to find their personal space in open plan offices. Some may not. If you prefer a cubical or an office for more private time, keep it in mind when interviewing and choosing jobs. Try to find a company that best fits your needs.
Push yourself outside your comfort zone every now and again
Stay late for a drink at the office, speak up in a meeting, self-promote your talents and skills. As an introvert, it can be easy to stay back, stay quiet, and keep to yourself. But every now and again, it’s good to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. Just make sure you take care of yourself so you’re able to do so when it really matters.
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