Photo by Salt Water New England

Saturday, April 10, 2021

WSP: Introverts are dreading a return to the noise, crowds and small talk of ‘normal’ life


Many professionals are questioning the value of returning to the 9-to-5 office — introverts because they prefer to work alone, extroverts because their lives would be simpler. Is getting dressed, enduring a commute and sitting at a desk really necessary? Every theory about remote work — it makes employees less productive, less collegial, less available — has been challenged during the past year....

What happens next might depend on who’s in power. Extroverted bosses like the hustle and bustle of a traditional office. Introverted bosses may be more open to a hybrid workplace. In either case, the days of the open office plan, once the darling of corporate consultants, may be numbered.

- WSP: Introverts are dreading a return to the noise, crowds and small talk of ‘normal’ life <Link>

 

30 comments:

  1. Oh, I was thinking the same thing yesterday. As horrible as the last year has been in so many respects, I'm dreading dealing with the crazy traffic (especially since everyone seems to have forgotten how to drive), crowds, the noise, etc. We were hoping to go to our favorite off season place this fall but everything is booked and apparently, that is the case in many places because everyone wants to travel now. We've been lucky our family has stayed safe and well and I'm sorry for everyone who has lost so much but I will miss the quiet.

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  2. I believe dressing is still important...

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    1. Indeed. Even when my day won't involve leaving home and involves only one or two informal virtual meetings, getting up and getting dressed makes me fell better about myself and in turn, more productive.

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  3. I do dread noise and crowds already.

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  4. I’ve been working from home for six years. I have worked for one an Ivy for the last four. I still get dressed. If you are lazy and slovenly by nature, you will use this as an excuse to max that out.
    If you are one of us who read SWNE, you will continue to get dressed. If we didn’t have that divide, we wouldn’t be who we are.

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  5. I am very much an introvert; I keep mostly to myself, with a couple of very close friends that I see every so often. I am surprised therefore that teleworking has not reaped more benefits for me than I expected, even if productivity was actually higher for my organisation in 2020. It does impact one's mental wellbeing. We are therefore in talks at work, for more hybrid working situations, such as working onsite 2 or 3 days a week.

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    1. I'm an extreme introvert and have been working from home for many years but I agree that it's very important to find some social stimulation every day to maintain mental well-being. We are social creatures after all. I can only tolerate small doses of social interaction before I must retreat back into my cave and recharge my batteries.
      My mother always told me that as an infant, I was very quiet, calm and entertained myself all the time. I never cried in my crib for food or anything unless I was sick and she would often find me just sitting there staring at the moon or the sunshine and playing with whatever I could find. She was convinced that I was deaf and took me to the doctor! I am just very observant, creative and content being alone most of the time. And yes, I hate noise ( including fireworks) traffic and being around the general public. I don't know how anyone can enjoy living in a big city.

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    2. I'm curious, were you born in the Chinese year of the Goat/Sheep perchance? I can relate to everything you said. We Goats are peace-loving gentle creatures, very sensitive to our surroundings and like nothing more than to lie back in a sunny field and watch the clouds go by, haha!

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  6. I much prefer working from home. I am more productive; I have better work/life balance; and my home is frankly a much more attractive environment than the office! I’d much prefer to work at an antique desk and lunch at a proper table with proper china than work in a generic office and lunch at my desk (ugh).

    I agree with others - key to working from home is dressing properly for work.

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  7. I prefer to work from home, and production is just as good, if not better! And still dress for work. Puts me in the proper frame of mind, for the task at hand. Thanks much!

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  8. My husband and I are working from home and my teen children are schooling from home, and I have not been alone in my own house for more than an hour over the past 13 months. When I need to be alone, especially to focus on work, I go into the office. A full time return to the office will be a welcome reprieve from the blurred distinction between work and home (and the overemphasis on productivity) that has characterized the past year.

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    1. Ditto!

      I have to go to my office to be alone, because I can never be alone at home and being alone in public (such as reading a book at a cafe) isn't a thing where I live due to lockdown. But that is work, not fun/relaxation.

      I want our home to be a home again-- I cannot relax in our living room when it is so often an office and a school, and small living spaces were not designed for all people to be in them all of the time.

      I go to my office alone every day-- home office is my nightmare. It might be ok if I were alone there, but it is not ok with a spouse and kids there.

      I might add that it feels like I have much more work to do at home because with everyone there all of the time there are more dishes, there is more laundry, more meals that need to be cooked and shopped for and cleanred up from, etc.

      --EM

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  9. Working from home is not for everyone. It requires a strong sense of self and discipline. My sister in law became anxious and terribly depressed because she needs social feedback to define who she is. I'm the total opposite and like Emily above, I'm more productive and my life is balanced. I don't need to compare fashion or hair styles, etc... with coworkers to know what I want and who I am. However, I admit that there was an adjustment period for me when I began working from home. I had to learn to set boundaries and not try to do everything all day long. I'm now a time management expert. My husband is not as disciplined as I am and I must force him to ignore texts, calls and emails.

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    1. Feel sorry for your husband and sister-in-law. It must be difficult for them living with perfection.

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  10. I don't understand the why "the days of the open office plan, once the darling of corporate consultants, may be numbered." The whole idea of the open plan is to reduce the floor plan and eliminate dedicated office space. (All that stuff about "increasing collaboration" is just to make the idea that you no longer have your own space more palatable.) The days of the open office plan have only just begun.

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    1. I agree. Open floor plans are about money, not collaboration.

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    2. My dear Satre, since it is not unreasonable to speculate that you, one of the world's greatest (living?) man of philosophy may ever find himself in a bull pen at work, may I speculate on the source of your insight? Is it philosophically premised, such as your postulation about the bus containing separate realities every time a passenger boards or departs? Pray tell.

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    3. Ah, one of the great corporate fibs of the late 20th/early 21st centuries; the open office/bullpen as a "collaborative" space. As one of my favourite Evelyn Waugh characters would postulate: "...up to a point, Lord Copper." I've found that although people can collaborate in these situations, they do require at least an equal amount of time to sit and think, without the distractions of social intercourse to muddle their thoughts. Covid has introduced a new situation to a larger portion of the office workforce; the option of working remotely. It's very likely employers will see the advantage of this vis-a-vis overhead costs, and cut down on office space - with time. We're seeing that already in the city in which I live/work. ...not a great prospect for those who are employed maintaining buildings, but a true boon for rent-payers. The current wisdom here has office workers going to their respective workplaces to receive taskings, and provide briefings/etc. Much of the rest will likely eventually migrate to home work environments. Quite a change from the past.

      Your intrepid reader from north of the 49th,

      Banacek

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  11. I've been retired for three years, so it doesn't matter now. However, I had to do a few things on-line with banking a few times now and then. But mostly I needed to be there among the other people to get anything done. There were simply too many things I needed to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands. The company where I spent almost 20 years was a trade show company, which is a form of face-to-face marketing. Doesn't happen when nobody travels.

    The biggest problem is that instead of walking down the hall for a brief meeting, you have to schedule a conference of one sort or another. I don't miss the traffic, though, but I miss getting out of the house every day.

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  12. This year has been a nightmare for introverts who have never been able to be alone in their off time!

    --EM

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    1. I have seen a number of articles that suggest you are right about that. And the wall-to-wall Zoom calls are more stress-inducing for introverts than for extroverts. That little article above has superficial appeal but is shaky on a number of fronts.

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  13. I enjoy my morning routine of farm chores, changing into a suit then a short commute on country roads. About to turn 60 so I guess it what I'm used to. Also, as a fund raiser I enjoy getting out and meeting with people.

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  14. While slightly extroverted, I've really learned to appreciate being at home and being quiet. I know many have said they have have better work/life balance while at home, but it has been a struggle for me. I find that it is too easy to plant myself in the office early and work for too many hours without interuption. In the beginning, I'd set myself up with a pot of tea or carafe of coffee, but I had to move to a cup-by-cup situation so I have good reason to stretch and look away from the screen.

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  15. As an introvert, I hope the extroverts win this battle. I think society in general benefits from socialization. Schools, business, church, athletics. We need each other.

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    1. I hear what you're saying but the implication that introverts don't "need each other" is a terrible stereotype and not founded in psychology. And I don't much care for your "battle" analogy. Introversion is an inborn trait that shouldn't be subject to judgment any more than any other accident of birth.

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    2. We ALL need each other! It's why we are here in my opinion. That was all I was supporting.

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  16. Also-- just because one is more introverted doesn't mean they want to be at home all of the time. But where I live due to Corona lockdown I cannot sit in a favorite cafe with a cup of coffee (not even outside-- any gastonomy is takeout only and has been for months!), go to a bookstore, visit a museum, etc.-- activities that I enjoy doing alone but outside of my home. Introverts can also enjoy things like travel (oh how I miss travel!), going out for a meal they don't have to shop, prepare and clean up after, etc. And being introverted doesn't mean that you don't ever want to see family and friends.

    In the US it seems people are starting to get their lives back and have some choice about what activities they choose to partake in, risks they are comfortable with, etc. but from my perch in central Europe this is a very different situation-- the vaccine situation is much slower than in the U.S. and not even all of the senior generation has been able to get vaccinated. It feels different to be confined to home when it is one's personal decision to do so than when it is mandated! And I might add that it is very frustrating and downright depressing to have to live this way for well over a year and the numbers are still up and things aren't getting better (the latest hard lockdown has already been extended twice!)

    I go out for walks like I did before the pandemic-- so now my quiet outdoor places are filled with people and their trash and noise, even at times of the day and places that used to be peaceful! So that bit of relaxation and recharging is also gone!

    --EM

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    1. Excellent point! And as an extrovert, I can relate to the converse of that, I've been enjoying not having to go out all the time and be social. Also have been reveling in the fact that I don't have to interact with people who get on my nerves if I don't want to and have a viable excuse. The pandemic has had it's positive and negative aspects for everyone, introverts and extroverts. I think the key now is for everyone to find a good balance in what we feel comfortable with. We went to dinner a few nights ago (we are both vaccinated) and I was actually quite stunned at how busy the restaurant was the entire time we were there and that people were waiting to get in. Not sure I'll be doing that again any time soon.

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  17. Been working from home for 14 years now. More of an introvert, and live in a small (dysfunctional LOL) community of busibodies. Anyway, I do miss personal and business travel (no gold status for me this year!) More productive working at home,but these goto/zoom meetings are way too much. Glad for spring and house and yard projects, and for 5:00 on the porch and the time to daydream.

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