Unless you’ve been outside of the office setting for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that open office floor plans have become all the rage. Designed to make communication easier between teammates throughout the office, these designs either minimize or remove cubicles completely so that everyone is working together in the open.
But what type of impact does this have on introverts?
Open Is Not Always the Best Solution
The thing to remember about introverts is that uncontrolled and unexpected interactions throughout the day can become particularly draining. Additionally, not everyone functions well in the same type of busy environment. For some, team members the constant noise and movement that comes with an open office space can be distracting and can even have a negative impact on productivity in the workplace.
In fact, it’s already common knowledge that interruptions and other common workplace distractions have the power to lower the way we perform our day-to-day activities in the office. The mistake that a lot of professionals make is that they look at distractions in the form of emails, social media, and text messages. But for a lot of people working in the office, especially those who’re more introverted, the same type of distractions can arise from excessive commotion in the workspace.
Not Everyone Wants to Be Observed
The truth is that we all our own quirks and our own personalities. While some people don’t mind working while being under constant observation, other people can become self-conscious or overwhelmed at the thought of having no privacy. That doesn’t mean that these people have something to hide – they just tend to work better independently.
If you’ve ever started going back to the gym after having an extended period of downtime, you probably know what it feels like to have everybody watching you. The truth is that, more often than not, nobody in the gym is paying any attention to you because they’re too busy doing their own thing – but to you, it certainly feels that way! The same rule applies in the office, and for some team members, that feeling of being watched is enough to cause unnecessary stress and anxiety which could impact work performance in the long run.
So, What’s the Best Solution?
One of the most important traits of a good team leader is being able to figure out what’s best for the team as a whole, and in order to do that, you need to take into account the strengths and weaknesses of the office before making major changes – especially a switch to an open floor plan. Whether an open or closed floor plan works depends largely on the people working in the office. The 'one size fits all' mentality needs to be thrown out the window.
If you do decide that it’s in the best interest of your team to implement an open office setup, it’s a good idea to have a “Plan B” available for those who work better in privacy. This can be something as simple as a few cubicles in the back of the office or a couple of quiet rooms for individuals to work in. With the search for talent being so competitive today, it will be so important to dig deeper into what and why we do things, especially in the environments we create for the success we are looking for.