The open plan office system that started in Hamburg, Germany in the 1950s has become more popular in North America. An estimated 70% of businesses have converted their workspaces by knocking down physical barriers.
The motivation is logical – easier collaboration, a sense of community to boost morale, plus the low-cost flexibility of a modular setup.
Yet, companies are discovering that the one-size-fits-all open space plans is causing efficiency, productivity and morale challenges. They’re finding that people have innate temperaments and styles of working, that unsupported, can lead to reduced productivity, higher stress and over stimulation.
When we consider the Introvert / Extrovert characteristics, the strikingly different approaches to work reveal themselves clearly in office settings.
Extroverts are comfortable in active, open, social environments. Their style is bold and less reserved than the quieter Introverts who prefer to listen than talk, and need silence to focus and privacy to recharge. The Ambivert – a combination of intro/extrovert shares aspects of both types.
How do you know who needs what environment? The face can show us. Here’s how you tell. Look at a person’s eyes. The deeper set they are, they more they tend toward introversion. The more the eye stands out physically in the face, the more extroverted they are.
Here’s how you can test for the trait. Take a pencil and rest it vertically on the eyebrow and cheek, so the pencil is directly in front of the pupil. If you can open your eye behind the pencil, you are Introverted. If you cannot open your eye behind the pencil, you are Extroverted. If you can open your eye, but the eyelid brushes the pencil, you’re a combination.
For those companies considering the optimal way to structure their offices, they need to bear in mind the nature of the job together with the preferred working style of their staff and what best fits their needs. The right environment generates motivation and well-being but can boost productivity by as much as 12%. The final cost/benefit assessment is the balance between the environment and employees.