Tips for Being Introverted in an Extroverted Work Environment
Working in an office has its benefits. As an introvert, I have difficulties staying focused in an upbeat work environment. It is a learning process to cope with a workspace that doesn’t mesh with your personality type. Hopefully these tips can make life a little easier to be an introvert in an extroverted workplace.
Some offices have the luxury of a quiet room, or a place where people can go to work with a little less noise. Making use of that resource is important. If you do not have a quiet room it is important to find a space where you can step away and take a break for a moment. This will allow you to recover and refresh a little bit. This is also useful for processing and absorbing information after a meeting. I find that taking walks is a good way to get some fresh air, and help me wind down from the hectic office space.
Bringing headphones or a headset to work is key. Even if you have trouble focusing while listening to music, cutting down surrounding sound can also be beneficial. Trying different genres of music that are softer or on a low volume can be helpful for dulling the noises around you.
At my work, we do not have cubicles. Instead, we have desks arranged in blocks and groupings. You are always working directly next to coworkers. If you are in a similar position, moving to a desk that is against a wall or farther from people can be helpful. If you get distracted by movement then try to have a desk that is facing a wall. That way it limits distraction when people walk by your desk.
Introverts are typically good listeners. It is much easier for introverts to absorb information in quiet environments. I find that if you have a lot of meetings to go to it is helpful to listen rather than get worried about having to speak up. Being able to think about the meeting and reflect on it is more productive. Later you can discuss the topics of the meeting in a more comfortable environment.
As an introvert you may not be inclined to be outwardly engaged in conversation, but if you have a good idea or a witty comment don’t be afraid to speak up. Introverts have awesome and creative minds so it is good to let people know what you are thinking sometimes. If you know you need to talk during a meeting it is best to go over what you are saying. Plan on what you need to cover and try not to get too worked up about talking.
Do what makes you feel the most comfortable and productive. Being able to manage working in an extroverted workplace can be a useful skill for everyday life. We all see introverts and extroverts every day so understanding work style is beneficial to both personality types. A good balance is important and the creative introverted mind is never something to take for granted.
Author bio: McKinley is a 22-year-old recent graduate from The College of Idaho. She is a freelance journalist who enjoys hanging out with her cat Meeko. Her pastimes include blogging, snowboarding, and playing Mario Kart. You can usually find McKinley on the couch watching 300 (her favorite movie).