In recent years, remote work has grown in popularity, becoming an option for more people than ever before. While remote work options might not yet be the norm in the workplace, more and more companies are realizing that allowing their employees to telecommute on occasion is a great way to foster good will in employees.
The rise of remote work is undoubtedly a positive development in the corporate sector, indicating that employers are slowly beginning to accept that not all employees have the same work styles. Productivity is not one-size-fits-all, and to assume that every employee will reach peak productivity in a cubicle is short-sighted. The open-plan office can be particularly problematic for introverted employees who may not work well in an environment that encourages spur-of-the-moment conversations and often features distracting noise.
If you’re looking for a better way to foster productivity in your introverted team members, here are a few reasons why remote work is perfect for introverts:
They Thrive in Quiet Environments
While most introverts can successfully navigate social interactions and get along well with others, social interaction tends to take considerable energy away from introverts, as opposed to extroverts, who feel energized from their interactions with others. A quiet, solitary environment is often more conducive to productivity and creativity for introverts than an office, where more social interaction is required.
They Enjoy Focusing on One Task at a Time
A common trait among introverts is their preference for focusing on one thing at a time. This is a tendency that may be problematic for introverts in an office setting where there is always potential for distractions to arise at a moment’s notice, threatening to derail their attention and stymie their productivity.
They Prefer Scheduled Meetings
Because introverts tend to excel in solitude and can be thrown off their focus by unplanned social interactions, remote work is ideal for introverts because the nature of telecommuting dictates that any conversations with colleagues will be scheduled in the form of meetings. And while some may argue that the lack of the proverbial “water cooler chatter” is a downside of working remotely, for introverts, this facet of remote work may actually be a plus.
Introverts Need Their Space to Ponder
A 2012 study at Harvard University found that introverts tend to have larger, thicker gray matter in their prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is linked to abstract thought and decision-making. Extroverts, on the other hand, tended to exhibit significantly less gray matter. This could be part of the reason why introverts tend to prefer space to ponder and weigh their options before making a decision, whereas extroverts are more apt to “live in the moment” and make decisions on the fly rather than deliberating over their choices at length.
None of this is to say that extroverts are unsuited for remote work. Quite the opposite, in fact. A balanced schedule with both telecommuting and in-office work can be largely beneficial to both extroverts and introverts. Remote work is a great option for most workers and this is just a friendly reminder to employers and managers that a schedule that allows for some remote work may be the answer to your problems if your more introverted team members seem to be struggling to perform.