Being an introvert in an open office layout can be distracting and draining. From a lack of privacy to all the conversations, the office setting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. While you can’t magically become an extrovert, there are steps introverts can take to make yourself more comfortable.
1. Mindfully Block Your Schedule
Back-to-back meetings can be draining for anyone, even extroverts who thrive on interaction! Try to strategically space out your meetings to allow for some downtime in between. This way, you can go over your notes and get some of your own work completed in between meetings.
You can also block out time during your day to re-energize yourself. Your lunch break should always be a source of rejuvenation, but also try to get up once an hour even if it’s just to walk to the restroom or to get a glass of water.
2. Find (or Create) an Introvert-Friendly Space
Though open office layouts are popular, there are likely still spaces within your suite where you can find some quiet. Consider an unused conference room or meeting space or an alcove tucked away from the crowd.
You should also set up your desk as a “safe space” for you. Even without walls, your desk area can be introvert-friendly. Decorate your desk with artwork or items that make you happy, and consider methods of creating isolation for yourself. One way might be to incorporate noise-cancelling headphones. These can both make you more comfortable and signal to others that you are “in the zone” and not to be disturbed at the moment.
3. Be Open With Your Manager
Let your manager know from the start that you are an introvert and the open office layout can be stressful for you. They can help suggest ways to make you more comfortable and be more supportive if they see you always wearing headphones, for example.
You can also explain that time in between meetings helps you recharge and that alone time might increase your productivity. These traits are helpful to communicate with your manager so that they are aware and can better anticipate your needs!