Back to office: this is how you survive as introvert in open-plan office

While there are certainly drawbacks to working from home, it is a party to work from home for many introverts. A noisy open-plan office is already a killer for productivity for many people, let alone if you deliver the best performance in a quiet environment with little stimulation (the opposite actually).

With many companies now allowing their employees to come back to the office (full or part-time), you, as an introvert, will have to find a way to survive in an open office.

Introverted in the office garden

A survival guide for introverts who have to return to the open-plan office.

Set clear boundaries

The biggest disadvantage of an open plan office is that anyone can tap you for a ‘quick question’. That is why it is good to set clear boundaries.

For example, ask if it can be done later if someone addresses you. If you do this often enough, at some point, people will understand when they can make you work better. Putting your headphones on (do not disturb) or off (available) can be a useful tool.

Find the silence (outside the open-plan office)

Do you have to meet a deadline and concentrate on working? Block a time in your schedule as an appointment with yourself and find a quiet place in the office, such as a conference room.

Personalize your workplace

It is important to feel comfortable at work. Make your desk a place you like to be, and you will be able to deal with the challenges of the open-plan office much better.

For example, have a thick sweater ready if you often get cold in the office, put some photos of friends on your desk, and don’t forget your favorite snacks.

Negotiate flexible working hours

It’s the norm to work from 9 am to 5 pm, so it makes sense that most people would be there around that time. It can, therefore, help you as an introvert to be at work earlier than the rest or stay longer so that you have more time to work in silence. Even in the office garden!

Therefore, talk to your manager about flexible working hours. Emphasize that this way, you get more work done. Another option is to continue working from home several days a week if that works better for you.

Make your needs heard

Good to remember: your colleagues and supervisor can’t guess what your needs are. You should not expect them to know this if you have not already made this clear. Let your colleagues and supervisor know that you work best in quiet environments.

And, if you find it difficult to set boundaries, say something like, “It’s not personal if I accidentally ignore you or act curtly while I’m working with my headphones.” Only if you tell them they can take your way of working into account. It may even be possible to have a workplace designated in the corner of the open-plan office.

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