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Surprise, Modern Office Design Favors Extroverts

Are you an introvert working in an open office environment?

If you feel like you need to step away from your hot desk every so often to mentally recharge, then you might be interested in a new report that finds the modern office is designed for extroverts.

Your extroverted co-workers not only get the promotions, they also receive modern office space designed especially with them in mind! A new online study of more than 300 employees by business psychologists OPP finds that our personality type impacts the type of office environment we prefer.

What did the researchers learn? As reports:

Extroverts were significantly happier at work and had higher levels of job satisfaction. Personality differences were also shown to be behind areas of conflict in the office, such as people's reactions to the idea of a clear desk policy. Some features were desired by almost everyone, such as having your own desk and working area, having well-designed workplaces and having ‘quiet areas’ available. Others, such as desk-sharing or hot-desking, were disliked by most people.

Our extroverted teammates, not surprisingly, are digging on today's shared work spaces and open floor plans. They enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction as a result. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to loathe these shared spaces and open floor plans. In fact, shared workspaces and open floor plans are making our introverted co-workers rather uncomfortable.

If you work in a creative, "cool" office, then it may feel even more extroverted by design. Check out Lego's trendy London office, where employees are bound by "rules of engagement." Staff members may eat only on the 9th floor as a way to encourage colleague interaction and collaboration, no desk may be in use for more than 90 minutes at a time in terms of leaving our stuff there, and green and red lights on top of computer monitors signal whether or not an employee is open to conversation.

The question is, how does an introverted employee adapt to this type of work environment?

In my case, I'm somewhere in the middle: an introverted extrovert. Or is it an extroverted introvert? I can't remember, but I would describe myself as a friendly, approachable...introvert. I love to chat with people, but I need my daily alone time to recharge, too. I need a dedicated work space where I can be blissfully lost in thought while staring at a computer monitor. That's probably why I became a writer. We pretty much define introvert.

So I can relate to the introvert's struggle to fit into today's work environments that are geared toward extroverts. There should be no shame in needing to recharge periodically during the work day, to single instead of mingle. Cubicle walls aren't all bad. For some of us, it's how good work gets done.

Employers can ask employees how the open office environment fits their personality type. The office introverts will be back in a few minutes. They decided to eat lunch alone outside to clear their heads.


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