Serving the needs of introverts in the work place is fast becoming a key issue for employers, new research has revealed.
Introverts constitute between a third and a half of any workforce and can be some of the most creative thinkers in a company or organisation.
However, they often struggle in many workplaces today that were created with a bias toward extroverted behaviours and extensive open-plan facilities.
“Every organization has introverts and a lot of them. This large segment of the workforce is going through the day, just trying to get by in an office environment not designed to support their needs”, says Zoe Humphries, senior workplace consultant for Steelcase in the UK.. “The question now is how do businesses unlock the potential of introverts?”
“We looked more closely at introverts and their needs in the workplace. Some of the world’s greatest business leaders are self proclaimed introverts, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Charles Schwab and Brenda Barnes. As a business decision it makes sense to ensure all workers can find the correct office environment which will allow them to achieve their full potential.
“Introverts are wired differently and are overwhelmed by the clamour of open- space offices. Providing time-out areas with sound insulation and adjustable lighting and allow for more relaxed postures is a relatively simple solution to getting the best out of all staff..
“We have learnt that the principal difference between the two personality types is the way in which they recharge their batteries; how they reach that level of concentration they need for their cognitive thought processes to be most productive. It makes good business sense to provide work areas where everyone can reach their full potential.”
Last month Steelcase, the global leader in the office furniture industry, unveiled its collaboration with Susan Cain, author of the international bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. They have joined forces to introduce a collection of workspaces to the American market expressly designed to bring out the best in introverts at work.
In her book Ms Cain describes the wealth of contribution which can be made by an introspective mind and highlights the many advantages an introvert can bring to the business world, including advanced listening skills, inherent gravitas which makes introverts good negotiators and a heightened sensitivity to subtleties of situations.