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    4 tips for introverts surviving open office layouts

    Posted by Bill Herndon

    Posted on 10th Mar 2020 in Cubicles, Office Furniture Industry, Open Office Furniture


    The terms introvert and extrovert came about after World War I. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung first described extroversion as an "outward" libido, and introversion an "inward" libido. Jung's definition of libido is quite different than that of Sigmund Freud's. The latter's theories centered around sexual gratification, whereas Jung's "libido" referred to any and all factors that motivated people to do things.

    Today there are no clear-cut definitions as to what is an introvert and extrovert. Psychologists use what is called the Introvert-Extrovert Spectrum with two extreme points. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, with few being in the upper or bottom tenths. Dr. Dan McAdams of Northwestern University described the spectrum as continuous, with no real limits on each end. But that doesn't stop researchers from asking people about their own personalities.

    The first ever Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a self-reporting questionnaire, found that Americans are evenly split - 50.7% introverts and 49.3% extroverts. A 2014 study by the American Trends Panel found that 12% were very extroverted and 5% were very introverted. Occupation plays a role in how people describe themselves too. Lawyers reported 56% introversion, with librarians even higher at 63% introversion.

    The ongoing debate about open office workstations has become divisive, particularly in the Bay Area where several of the world largest tech giants are headquartered. A group of Apple employees threatened to quit in 2017 when the company moved to an open office layout. Some companies, right or wrong, don't give workers much say in the matter. Thus introverts must adapt to ensure their job performances stay on par with KPIs. Here are four tips for introverts in open office settings.

    Get creative with your space

    You have to show up to work whether you like it or not (unless you won the Mega Millions jackpot last week). Make the best of it by decorating your space with things that make you happy and keep you focused. Old photos of you and your closest friends will make you laugh when all the distractions in the office become annoying. Hand grip exercisers are great for relieving stress. A small fish bowl with a few little friends inside is ideal if your employer allows it.

    Utilize conference and other private spaces

    The conference room furniture is typically the most comfortable in the building. Most offices either have online booking or some sort of whiteboards that allow departments and individuals to block off time. Spend an hour or two per day in one of these spaces. Your lunch break adds an additional hour to escape the chaos of open office. If you play your cards right everyday, you'll only have to endure 5-6 hours of open office per day.

    Request work-from-home days

    The Brookings Institute monitored 545 occupations from 2002-2017. It found that 90% of those jobs showed dramatic increases in digital tool utilization. Thus, most jobs can be done completely from a laptop. When asking for work-from-home days, cite the statistics. Remote workers actually put in full eight-hour shifts and are far more productive than their in-office counterparts, according to a 2017 Stanford University study. Telecommuters also take fewer breaks and sick days.

    White noise

    Headphones and earbuds are ubiquitous in offices today. Some workers do well blasting the latest rap and pop songs. Others go with classic rock and country. But the best sound for concentration is white noise. One of the most popular is rainstorms. Youtube has many 10-hour uploads of rainfall sound. There are also long-form uploads of fans blowing. Either is great to drown out the surrounding noise.

    Eco Office designs open office layouts for our Bay Area clients' specific needs. We're also the top solution for new and pre-owned cubicles for those using traditional workspace. Give us a call today at 408-437-1700 to discuss your needs.

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