Being an introvert in a loud, busy office setting can be exhausting and may negatively affect your work. While some might think these truths make introversion a career handicap, career coach Caroline Butterwick argues the opposite. In this helpful overview, Butterwick highlights the value that introverts bring to the workforce, such as their abstract thinking capabilities and well-thought-out solutions. She also lays out simple tips to help introverts make working in an office setting less challenging and more productive.
- Being an introvert at work can be challenging.
- Introverts have different strengths than extroverts.
- Take three simple actions to help yourself flourish as an introvert in the workplace.
Being an introvert at work can be challenging.
Modern open offices, with shared desks and noise, can be tough for introverts who thrive in quiet spaces that support inner reflection. Introverts find large, crowded spaces draining because engaging with people – particularly in large numbers – requires a significant outward energy expenditure, which they can find emotionally and mentally exhausting. Other aspects of work, such as small talk with colleagues and participation in meetings, can also be tiring.
“For introverts, it’s all about energy.”
While introverts’ natural tendencies may feel like handicaps in the workplace, introverts should not feel compelled to change who they are; they should embrace their unique qualities instead. Recognizing and celebrating these strengths can lead to personal and professional growth.
Introverts have different strengths than extroverts.
Career coach Patricia Ezechie notes that introverts bring valuable strengths to the workplace. For instance, they tend to excel at focusing intensely on tasks and possess keen observation skills.
“Introversion isn’t something to hide; it can allow you to flourish.”
Introverts’ inclination toward introspection and contemplation often results in well-thought-out solutions and contributions. Furthermore, introverts’ natural curiosity makes them excellent abstract thinkers – an asset to most businesses.
Take three simple actions to help yourself flourish as an introvert in the workplace.
Introverts need to find ways to work without becoming exhausted from social interactions. Follow these three tips for a more effective work day:
- Seek out quiet spaces – Finding quiet spaces in the office for thinking and recharging is essential. Fortunately, modern offices often have these dedicated areas. Keep track of when you feel overwhelmed, schedule time in your office’s quiet spaces and take breaks outdoors. Communicate your need for quiet time to colleagues so they honor your need for space.
- Match the job to your work style – Identify your top skills, how you work best with others, and what you need to take care of your emotional and mental well-being. When you know your work style, you can pursue opportunities that match your strengths. Consider how your working style matches different career options and roles to find the best long-term fit.
- Schedule smaller meetings – Smaller meetings or one-on-one interactions with colleagues can help build your network and make sharing your ideas less daunting. Remember, your contributions are valuable. You can prepare ahead of meetings or follow up with emails to ensure people hear your input.
About the Author
Caroline Butterwick is a career coach.