Remote work or work from home offers the quiet messenger who flies under the radar in the office the chance to stand out.
When the pandemic shut down her office and forced Bejo and the rest of her team to work from home, she became more productive, almost instantly. Bejo, a senior manager at a leadership training organization in the U.S, considers himself an introverted man.
I get more energy from being alone and recharging he says. every morning, when the house is quiet he can suddenly get more done than usual in a busy office environment – and to him, a drain.
“I would wake up at 5 a.m. and instead of having to go through the bullshit of getting ready, feeding the dog, a laundry list of things to get out the door, and going on a 45-minute trip, I was just in the zone,” He says. “I finish everything when I feel energized in that quiet time.”
While the transition to remote work in early 2020 was sudden for everyone, some find themselves progressing more than others in many cases. Many introverted workers find that working from a distraction-free environment is preferable. Client needs also change in ways that benefit the introvert’s expertise and while virtual communication offers more opportunities for introverts to share their thoughts. For the ‘quiet messenger’ who may have flown under the radar, remote work offers not only less of the day-to-day burden but also the opportunity to combine that extra energy with new ways of working – and stand out.
An introverts moment to shine
“While extroverts are renowned for being outgoing, action-oriented, and enthusiastic, introverts bring analytical thinking and empathy,” says Bejo, a Surrey-based branding expert who lectures on introverts in the workplace. “During pandemic in 2020, those skills immediately became highly taught. They are good at deep thinking and forming personal connections. That is especially important during a period when companies are trying to retain clients.”
In a Bloomberg interview, Patty McCord former head of HR at Netflix said that managers are realizing employee skills that previously didn’t attract attention. He referred to a senior executive at a Fortune 100 company who had a “skill matrix” he once used to identify a great salesperson: “capable of controlling space, lots of energy and charisma, confident. right upside down during the pandemic,” McCord said. the company’s best employees were are “quiet people just call clients and listen.”
A refreshing change of pace
That’s difficult for someone with an introverted personality because constant conversation can be draining. While extroverts, on the other hand, are energized by social interactions, says Etienne, “in the end, introverts are exhausted.”
Bejo considered himself a more reserved person. Like Wortman Ploetz, he says he ends up being more productive while working from home.
For example, I think we’ve all been through this: you finish a meeting and you walk back to your desk and someone sees you and you’re chatting. And you lose time processing the meeting you just finished and rearranging. It doesn’t happen anymore. Now, I can have my moment of reflection in silence, undisturbed. With things like Zoom and Teams, there’s even a ‘do not disturb’ setting; You really can’t text me.”
Playing on the strengths of an introvert
In addition to providing more peace, the new introvert-friendly work environment gives the personality space to stand out in other ways.
“The physical meeting table disappears and with that goes the hierarchical structure of tough people gathered in the middle and introverts on the periphery,” says Bejo. those who might hesitate to jump into the fray in the conference room are empowered by virtual meeting rooms.
Workplaces created by extroverts, for extroverts – Bejo
Virtual meetings also tend to have fewer interruptions and speaker overlap. “The platform ethic is different,” says Buelow. You’re much ware if you interrupt or over talk.
A slightly slower pace of conversation gives introverts the time they need to gather their thoughts.
Plus, extroverted and louder coworkers tend to dominate virtual spaces over physical spaces.
Return to the office and all its expensive stimulation is optimistic that the lessons of remote work will make leaders and workplaces more accommodating to introverts. The definition of a star employee has changed. “Traditionally, we think of ‘contribution’ to mean talking,” he said. we’ve learned that contributions can take many forms, and it’s not always about the person who talks the most.
There are tactics that leaders can use to ensure more introverted employees can continue to contribute, even if the team switches back to direct work. Simple solutions, such as having a brainstorming session or small group chat before a full group discussion, can be very helpful, says Buelow.
“This is a consideration of how to respect those who want a few minutes to think quietly before sharing their thoughts, “When we return to the office, leaders need to ask, ‘do offer a variety of ways to contribute?’. There are many ways to do that – it just takes creativity.”
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