Coworking spaces are offices that house people from many different walks of life. Whether you’re part of a startup, a big company, or even just a single freelancer, coworking offices are a great place where you can get your work done efficiently and find ways to collaborate with your fellow community members. As the name would suggest, shared office spaces are open-concept areas that encourage workers to network with each other — it’s only natural for people to assume that these spaces are strictly for extroverts. But are they really?
Extroverts enjoy socialization and thrive in busy environments. On the other hand, introverts are people who are more socially reserved, and often find social situations draining. Contrary to popular belief, coworking spaces are great places to work, no matter what your social preferences are. That’s the beauty of working at a coworking office; there are accommodations available to meet everyone’s needs!
In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between introverted and extroverted coworkers, and how to engage these two personality types when you encounter them at your coworking office.
How Introverts Function in a Shared Office
Introverts focus on their internal thoughts and feelings instead of seeking external stimulation. Therefore, introverts are often more reserved. Strong introverts tend to only speak when they feel that what they are saying has value. People sometimes confuse introversion with social anxiety. However, being introverted does not equate to being shy or nervous in social situations. Introverted people can work just fine with others, although they may need to spend some time “recharging” after a long day of social interaction.
Introverts don’t typically like too much spontaneity. Your introverted coworker may have their day scheduled from start to finish. Interrupting their workflow with too many spontaneous interactions can cause introverts to become frustrated — and fall behind on their work.
To avoid social distractions, introverts seek more secluded areas to get their work done. Introverts at a coworking space may utilize a private office or the golden silence of a quiet work zone. In more communal workspaces, you’ll be able to identify introverts by their laser focus, and the use of earbuds to block out any conversations that could distract them from their task.
Introverts take longer to get to know, and, at first, they may set strict professional limits on their work relationship with you. Introductions and ice-breakers may feel cumbersome to an introvert. Given these attributes, it may seem a little daunting to ask an introvert for help or support.
Engaging with Introverts
It’s easy to develop a thriving relationship with your introverted coworker. All you need to do is show respect for their work needs. As previously mentioned, introverts need their daily moments of solitude. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like interacting with their coworkers, it simply means that they need to take some time to center themselves. The best way to collaborate with an introvert is to work with their schedule to see when they are available to meet. Approach them at the beginning of their day, and ask if they have any free time later on to discuss work — and be specific! This allows your introverted coworker to plan their work around your meeting, and prepare for whatever it is you want to discuss. They’ll also greatly appreciate your respect for their time.
Introverts tend to lose their energy during big social events and meetings. Inviting an introvert to a one-on-one meeting or even a small group discussion will allow them the opportunity to open up more about what they are working on. This type of attention ensures that they know they are valued members of your coworking community.
How Extroverts Function in a Shared Office
Extroverts find enjoyment in meeting new people and jumping into new experiences. In contrast to introverts, extroverts can actually feel deflated when they spend too much time alone because they depend on social interaction to keep them “fully charged.” If you’ve gone out to a bar or social venue to destress after a long day of work, you are probably an extrovert.
Coworking spaces are the perfect environment for extroverts, who can feel drained by more traditional workspaces or home offices. Extroverts lean on collaboration and consistent communication at work. Extroverts believe that listening to other people’s thoughts and feelings about work is the best way to encourage growth and progression. Extroverts may pop up often to ask work-related questions, but they’ll likely slip in a few comments about life outside of work in order to connect to their team members.
Extroverts are also expert networkers; they take full advantage of all of the possibilities for socialization that a coworking office provides. If there’s an office party, seminar, or company sports event, they are there.
Engaging with Extroverts
The networking skills that extroverts possess are unparalleled. As great as effective social skills are, extroverts do sometimes need to be reminded to get back on track to finish their own personal assignments. Most extroverts know this and won’t be offended by the light reminder.
While it’s important to help your extroverted coworkers stay on track, it’s also important to allow them some breathing room. Although extroverted coworkers do like to make their social rounds, they should be trusted to get their work handed in on time. Micromanaging can be very restricting for an extrovert and can actually result in lower-quality results.
Allow your extrovert coworkers the opportunity to shine. Don’t be afraid to offer them a compliment after they’ve done a good job on a project or presentation. They’ll love the positive feedback and strive to do even better work going forward.
Regardless of your personality type, coworking spaces are great places to get your work done. 360 Lab SF offers the best environment for both extroverts and introverts to enjoy! Contact a team member today for more information on the work amenities we have to offer.