Are you someone who works better when left to your own devices? Then you’re probably an introvert. You’ll find that people automatically assume you’re shy or anti-social, but this is a common myth. The reality is, introverts simply work better in solitude or generally quieter environments. This is why the popular open-plan workplace has become an enemy for many introverts out there, as peace and quiet is often difficult to find. To avoid becoming overwhelmed in the workplace, here are our top tips for introverts to help you work effectively and to the best of your potential.
1. Find a quiet space.
More often than not introverts are finding themselves in a noisy working environment, with the open-plan office trend meaning it is hard to escape from your fellow co-workers. If you are finding it difficult to focus due to noise levels or interruptions, seek a quiet space where you can work in solitude for a time. This could be an empty boardroom or unused office. If you cannot find this spot yourself then it is worth asking your boss if they know of somewhere you can go. Explain how this will help you to improve your concentration and creativity; they will be more than happy to help you work more efficiently. If the situation becomes unbearable, you could always discuss with your employer the option of flex time, so you can work from home a couple of days a week.
2. Socialise when you can.
If you have a lot of work to get through then there’s no harm in keeping to yourself for a while in order to get this done. However, there are bound to be times in the day when you are less busy and these are the moments you should seize to make an effort with your colleagues. If you have ten minutes spare, touch base with one of your co-workers (as long as they’re not too busy!); whether you chat about work or have a more informal catch up, your efforts will go a long way. By doing this every day you will find it becomes more natural for you to interact with people at work and it will certainly help you to develop friendships which will improve your career prospects. Furthermore, you don’t have to say yes to every social event, but if a colleague asks if you’d like to go to lunch or you’re invited to meet people in different departments, it’s certainly worth taking them up on their offer. This will help you to establish important contacts which may prove helpful in the future.
3. Volunteer for appropriate tasks.
No matter what company you work for, there are always going to be tasks that need completing which require someone to work solo, with extreme focus and high levels of concentration. No doubt the extroverts in your office will avoid such tasks like the plague, but this style of work is very much suited to your personality. Offer to take on these tasks and use your strengths as an introvert to complete them effectively; no doubt your extroverted co-workers and your boss will appreciate you stepping in.
4. Let people know.
Introversion is a concept many people are now familiar with, so if you simply make your co-workers aware of the fact that you’re an introvert, they will understand! It’s certainly better than keeping quiet and leaving people to misinterpret your behaviour. Explain why you need to work alone sometimes. Also, come up with a system which will indicate when you’re happy to talk so your colleagues know when it’s best to approach you. This way everyone knows where they stand: you’re not left feeling overwhelmed and your co-workers aren’t made to feel like they’re a nuisance to you.
So if you’re an introvert and the workplace is leaving you feeling stressed and having a negative effect on your ability to complete your work, try using these four tips to improve your situation. Just remember, you’re an integral part of the team and it will benefit everyone if you are permitted to work in an environment that suits you.
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