Offices for Introverts

In what sort of space do you work best? In an open concept office? Alone in a personal office/cubicle? At home on your own couch? Or in a café surrounded by white noise and people chattering?

Susan Cain gave a TedTalk in 2012 where she spoke on the subject of Introverts noting how our culture, without even realizing it, encourages extroversion. Even in the small ways, such as how we design modern work spaces, is geared towards the extrovert who thrives around the energy of others.

What about the Introverts in the office though? The people who were hired because of their skill, not because they dazzled with their jokes? Their worth in the office is still wanted and appreciated. However, the layout of the office with its open space and overwhelming, overstimulating sounds and colors and lights, your office introverts find it hard to find the peace to function at their best.

Subsequently, open offices can be a huge distraction for extroverts as well. Extroverts (all likely social butterflies in elementary school), can be distracted easily by the movements of others.

Susan Cain suggests there is a need for more privacy in modern office design. Cain partnered with Steelcase, an office design company, to develop layouts for open offices that also contain options for introverts and extroverts alike. The layouts include a series of “shared spaces” that can be used by employees for alone time, two-person brainstorming, or group collaboration.

Moreover, the spaces are all finished with soundproofing so that everyone can work despite discussions of ideas happening next door.

What do you think? Would you work better in a space like this? Do you think this is the future of office design? Leave us a comment!

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