How Introverts Can Excel at Coworking

How Introverts Can Excel at Coworking

How Introverts Can Excel at Coworking

We posted 5 Ways Introverts Can Excel at Networking on our Sensei website. Read it first, particularly the part of definitions of introverts and extroverts. This is the modified version, written particularly for introverts who work in coworking spaces.

Since my personality leans heavily toward the introverted side of the force, I have sympathy for all those who have experienced the following:

  • Arriving to work at an office for a day or so, to find that it’s entirely open (nowhere to hide to work quietly and without distractions)
  • Wondering what privacy screens are for, since they don’t work on sound 😉
  • Losing the plot when The Think Out Loud People won’t shut up – ever!
  • Finding concentration possible only with loud music (not everyone’s cup of tea), large, sound-cancelling headphones, a peaked cap and a flag that reads: Danger – Stressed Introvert on a Deadline, Do Not Interrupt!

Having met with @lyramckee, who shared her very definite thoughts on how coworking is not really geared toward introverts (true!) and possibilities on how to make it so (enclosed pods, sheds or cubicles of some type), here are our thoughts.

How Introverts Can Excel at Coworking

We want to avoid pigeonholing people. However, for those who consider themselves to be introverted (some or all of the time), try the following.

  • Forget slick; do friendly
    • It’s amazing how connections can begin with a smile, and you become the approachable person that puts other nervous people at their ease!
  • Do it online
    • Get onto social networks and relax without the physical analysis or perceived judgements
  • Do it casual
    • Say hi when people arrive in the morning – not everyone does
    • Introduce new people to residents – become THAT, awesome person
    • Ask people what’s they’re having for lunch – this topic never gets old
  • Do it yourself
    • Invite someone for coffee and cake
    • Organise meetups with only a few people, around a common interest e.g. copywriting
  • Do it on the sly
    • You’re an entrepreneur, think like one! Take all, random opportunities that come your way, whether waiting for the train, or coming upstairs in the lift.
I’m Not An Introvert!

OK. You don’t identify as an introvert, or only some of the time. Or, you feel similar – you just want to get work done without distractions. Read on.

(We promise to follow this up with a post written for Extroverts.)

Introvert-Friendly Wishlist (Also Suitable for Those Who Just Like Quietness When they Work)

We’ve not yet found a suitable space. But we do have a wishlist in addition to the usual open space found in coworking spaces:

  • Small, private offices for those who want peace and quiet all the time
  • A quiet room (maybe we’ll call it The Library) with flexible hotdesks, where (near) silence is the order of the day
  • Small, private booths for making telephone and conference calls, or working for a solid hour or two
  • Semi-private desks, chillout zones and nooks where you’re not looking directly across a large coworking desk into other people’s (unless you want to!)
Moods, Flow, Tasks and Schedules

It’s not only the introverts who need a quiet place to focus on work. We’re convinced that some people will want quiet regardless of personality.

  • Some people will want a quiet, focused morning and a more relaxed, sociable afternoon, depending on their mood at the time.
  • Some people’s peak Flow will be from 2-4 or 6-8, not the assumed 9-5.
  • Others will need quiet when they’re engaged in a certain task, and will prefer an open coworking space the rest of the time.
  • And, finally, we recognise that many will want to focus right throughout normal working hours, and will be happy to mingle and chat only during breaks, over lunch, or before and after work.

We aim to design a community and space that will cater for people’s personalities, moods, tasks and working day.

All suggestions are welcome.

Image credit: vuhung

Dawn Baird
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