Coworking For Introverts
Introverts often get a bad rap, understood to be timid and socially inept.
However, this is not the case. In actuality, introverts make up a large portion of the population and just like extroverts, exist on a spectrum. Largely curious and friendly, introverts are provided with an ample platform for socialisation via the coworking space.
According to the 2018 deskmag Global Coworking Survey, 47% of coworking members were ambiverts, and 22% were introverted. In this way, we see a large portion of members, approximately 69%, identifying with characteristics of introversion. The survey also notes that 67% of the “introverted” population interacted with 1-4 co-workers per day. Interestingly, as highlighted by ZIOKS, this is the highest percentage (out of all personality types) for this interaction range.
The value of introverts must not be discounted. As JAGA puts forward, some introverts relish daily interaction. The difficulty for them however lies in how these interactions may be facilitated. As presented in the deskmag survey, introverts attribute the “social and enjoyable atmosphere” of the coworking space as their primary reason for joining. This conveys how the coworking space is viewed as an aid or platform for socialisation.
Before opening a coworking space and before having the opportunity of experiencing one, I always felt that it would be the best outlet for me. I mean, this is a space where I am inside of my social comfort zone among people I feel connected to.
– Dennis Alund in Medium
According to an article by Harvard Business Review, “socializing isn’t compulsory or forced” in the coworking space.
Effectively, members are able to choose their own time for and method of interacting. As stressed by Coworker Mag, the outreach potential of extroverts may be utilised, with bold personalities able to help introverts meet with others. Alternatively, introverts may find friendship in fellow introverts, with the relationship initially forged through their commonality.
Alund in Medium elicits two differing personas of the antisocial introvert versus the social introvert. Basically, the social introvert is keen to connect with others, as opposed to someone who lives “in a light house working on some system kernel code.” For Alund, who defines himself as a social introvert, a coworking space is “a safe environment where [he] can approach the community at [his] own pace.”
Introverts are also great listeners.
Arguably, listening to each other is something we should all do more of. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, highlights that introverts think substantially before they speak and are “highly observant, curious about the world…”. This is paralleled by Alund, who states that his enjoyment for “cheerful noise and interesting conversations” doesn’t necessarily necessitate an engagement with them. Rather, he listens and learns from them.
As compounded by The Farm Soho, “history has proved that introverts can be incredibly innovative and influential.”
Some of the world’s greatest minds belong to the introvert category. For example, Albert Einstein, Dr. Seuss, and Steven Spielberg… just to name a few. According to Cain, introverts possess a horror of small talk but enjoyment of deep discussions, and it is through looking at these notable names that we see deep thought to be an undeniable characteristic.
In a coworking space, introverts are able to focus on their respective projects within an impassioned environment.
Their surrounds charge them with purpose, as opposed to their home office perhaps. Also, coworking spaces afford the flexibility that introverts may seek. When they feel they need alone time to recharge, they can spend the day at home, returning the next day.