If you’re an introvert then you’ll be relieved to know that you can definitely survive and thrive at work, with these 9 life-saving tips on how to survive as an introvert at work ( even when you’re surrounded by extroverts)
But first, are these statements true for you? If they are then it’s more than likely that you’re an introvert.
- You love spending time alone, that’s with or without Netflix because your mind is busy and full of thoughts as it is!
- You can’t wait for everyone to go out so you can have the house all to yourself
“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
I’m a woman of very, very few words lately. This isn’t the time to be saying much at all. No more talking for the sake of just talking.
— ⍛ (@dauvoire) February 18, 2020
“There is a tremendous difference between alone and lonely. You could be lonely in a group of people. I like being alone. I like eating by myself. I go home at night and just watch a movie or hang out with my dog. I have to exert myself and really say, oh God, I’ve got to see my friends because I’m too content by myself.” ~ Drew Barrymore
Introvert Tip: Schedule all of your extrovert activities on the same day so you’ll have a full week to recover
— Alisha (@THEAlishaNicole) February 28, 2020
Where Did This All Start?
Back in 1960, Carl Jung described two personality types that were direct opposites. Introverts and extraverts, (now commonly referred to as extroverts). According to Jung, the difference between the two types was the way they regained energy.
Extroverts gain energy by spending time with others, while introverts gain energy by spending time alone. Back then, the two types were seen as discrete and separate types, but now we know that introversion and extroversion are actually on a spectrum. You don’t have to be either the life of the party or a shrinking violet; you can be somewhere in between and be more or less of one or the other.
If, like me, you’re an introvert to any degree, then there will be times when you need some alone time, which can be hard when you’re working in a busy, often open-plan office. And if the majority of your coworkers are extroverts, then you’ll definitely need time to recharge, especially if you’re high on the introversion scale.
Here are 9 tips for surviving as an introvert at work, in an office full of extroverts
1. Work From Home
Let’s start with the most ideal scenario. One of the best ways to survive as an introvert in an office full of extroverts is to work from home. And yes, this may sound like a cop-out, but it will make a world of difference.
Thankfully, more and more companies are understanding the benefits of giving employees the chance to work from home, putting aside the return to office battle that’s raging on. With remote working technology and more international and geographically spread teams, working from home makes sense.
As an introvert, working from home will give you the personal space you sorely need. You’ll focus better and have fewer distractions, and what’s more, just one or two days from home a week will leave you feeling more energized and better able to collaborate with your extroverted colleagues when you are in the office.
2. Start Work Earlier
In addition to working from home, why not start work earlier than the rest of the team? Instead of arriving at the office when everyone else does, start a couple of hours earlier and finish earlier- if you can. This way, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend with everyone overall.
Even starting work one hour earlier can make all the difference, helping you ease into the day by the time everyone arrives. What’s more, you can use this quiet time to get those tasks done that need that extra bit of focus.
3. Hot Desk
If you have a hot desk, this means you have the opportunity to sit anywhere, or at least in a variety of different places; therefore, this gives you a chance to pick somewhere that’s not in the thick of things. Just what you need as an introvert at work, when working in a team full of extroverts.
Whether you sit with quieter colleagues or are tucked away in a corner, this could make all the difference to your working day. Better still, sitting with people from other departments or teams will help you build new relationships and broaden your horizons, which is also great for your career development.
4. Be Open and Honest
But getting away isn’t always the answer, and working from home might not be an option.
It’s important to be open and honest about who you are, not just with your colleagues but also with yourself. While it’s ok to adapt your approach to changing environments and to tailor your communication style to suit different people, it’s not ok to have to become a completely different human being.
Trying to change yourself to be more like some other person won’t make things easier, far from it. It will only lead to frustration and will be a drain on your energy. Don’t forget:-
“It’s better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else-“
Even if you do think that someone else is fantastic- learning from them and developing the best habits they have is not the same as pretending to be them.
Rather than feeling like you have to be a different person at work, get comfortable with who you are as a person, what your strengths are, what you value, and what value to bring to the team. Accept yourself for who you are and be honest with yourself and your colleagues.
5. Play to Your Strengths
In an office environment, especially one that’s full of extroverts, it can sometimes feel like you have to fight or shout loudly to have your opinions heard to make an impression. But this isn’t the case.
As an introvert, while you might not be comfortable being the loudest in team meetings or discussions or fighting for center stage, this doesn’t mean that you’re not engaged or don’t have an opinion,
far from it. Introverts tend to be great listeners, and this helps us to notice things that others in the thick of it might miss.
Why not use this strength to your advantage and make a name for yourself as the person on the team who catches things before it’s too late? Bringing things that might otherwise be missed to everyone’s attention.
While introverts and extroverts might be different, this just means that they can complement each other – so find out where your introvert superpowers are and start owning them.
6. Build Relationships
Most introverts hate small talk, preferring instead to have deeper, more meaningful conversations. This can make things difficult if you don’t invest the time to build good relationships at work because every encounter will feel like it requires the dreaded small talk.
However awkward or uncomfortable it might feel in the beginning, it’s worth putting in the effort to get to know your colleagues and to build good relationships with at least some of them, especially those you work closely with. This will limit the time you have to spend on small talk, making things feel more comfortable.
7. Understand Yourself and Your Team’s Personality Types and Styles
Learning about different personality types is a great way to improve working relationships. There are lots of different personality assessments out there that can help you to understand yourself, build your awareness, and understand your colleagues better.
Knowing about your personality type and other personality types within your team will help you communicate better. Not only this, but understanding different personality traits – especially those of your colleagues- learning how they come across, what makes them tick, and how they naturally communicate- will help you improve your collaboration skills. You’ll be less likely to take things personally, and it can create the basis for an open discussion about differences in working styles and preferences. This should hopefully lead to more consideration from all parties concerned.
8. Create Boundaries
As an introvert, it can be easy for some people to overstep the mark. But the truth is that this may be through no fault or the other person since introverts can find it difficult to set boundaries.
While this isn’t necessarily true of every introvert out there, since introverts tend to be introspective and empathetic, setting boundaries can feel like putting up a wall that isn’t intended.
But everyone needs to set boundaries. Boundaries are the things that tell people what’s not ok for you and what is. The sooner you set them and the more transparent you are with people about them, the easier your life will be – in the long term, especially when dealing with people who may not be as empathetic.
While it might feel easier to say nothing and to let seemingly small things slide in the beginning, the longer-term impact of allowing people to cross your boundaries is feelings of frustration and even resentment, which isn’t healthy.
Get clear on what your boundaries are and communicate them clearly – even, more importantly, stick to them.
9. Accept and Respect Each Other’s Differences
Ultimately, introverts can work well in an office full of extroverts. Armed with these 9 tips for surviving as an introvert at work, you’ll find that when you pay attention to where your strengths are, as well as where your differences lie, and when you respect each other and value what everyone brings to the table, things will run more smoothly.