5 Ways To Create An Office That Pleases Both Extroverts And Introverts

Posted on: 11 August 2016

When choosing new office furniture and designing an office layout, it's important to consider your employees' personalities. Your extroverted employees who get energy when they are around their coworkers may be happiest and most productive in an open office environment, while a completely open office will leave introverted employees feeling drained and unable to concentrate. To please both types of personalities and create the most productive office layout possible, it's best to offer a combination of spaces. Here are five tips for pulling this off:

Start with a Modified Open Office

Open office designs have gained popularity because they do in fact offer several benefits. Many employees are more likely to interact with each other and collaborate when they are sitting near each other and there isn't an intimidating closed office door acting as a barrier. Open offices can also help create a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie.  

The key is to design your open office to be comfortable for everyone, including those employees who need a bit more space and quiet. Don't attempt to cram as many people as possible into one long table. Invest in high quality, comfortable chairs and make sure everyone will have enough desk space for their computer, files, and a good amount of elbow room, as well as a bit extra space to accommodate everyone's "personal bubble." Even introverts will adapt to an open office if they don't feel like their coworkers are practically sitting on top of them.

Add Quiet Work Stations

Next, add a few quiet work stations that offer more privacy than the main desks. This way, when a more introverted employee (or anyone who needs quiet in order to focus) feels overwhelmed by being surrounded by coworkers, they will have a quiet place to retreat to. These work stations can be individual cubicles set away from the main work stations or even a library with a few comfy chairs where employees can get away for a bit and work in complete quiet.

Don't Overlook Acoustics

Your more introverted employees are likely to feel overwhelmed and be unable to concentrate in an open office environment if there is an excessive amount of noise. A good solution is to take acoustics into account when designing your office space. If your building is large and echoey, you may need to add carpet and acoustic wall panels to absorb as much excess noise as possible.

Incorporate Break-out Rooms

Break-out rooms are small conference rooms or even mini coffee shops designed to facilitate collaboration in small groups. These can be very effective productivity tools for both extroverts and introverts. Extroverts will get the social interaction they need to feel productive and energized, while many introverts actually thrive in social or teamwork situations as long as the groups are kept small. This will also prevent noisy group conversations from happening in the open office space, to help minimize distractions.

Set Some Etiquette Rules

Setting a few etiquette guidelines and making sure your staff is all on the same page will help make everyone feel understood and respected. One example is that in some offices, employees are encouraged to wear headphones and listen to relaxing music when they want to tune out background noise and side conversations. A related point of etiquette is to remind your staff that if someone is wearing headphones, they don't want to be disturbed.

Another etiquette rule could be to limit loud phone calls to only certain locations in the office where they will be less disruptive and the speaker can have more privacy.

By following these tips, you will be able to design an office space that plays to all of your employees' strengths and leads to the utmost productivity.