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Coworking: the sweet spot for introverts, extroverts and ambiverts !

Are you an introvert, an extroverted, or an ambivert? I always thought I was an introvert. It turns out I was wrong.

After many years of freelancing in a home office – a pure introvert’s environment if ever there was one – at some point I realized my working environment wasn’t really working for me. A few consecutive days toiling at my computer in solitude could be a kind of splendid isolation, at first. It was like being a single flower in a simple vase – focused and peaceful.

Yet, after another day or so, ever so surreptitiously, I would start to wilt from the inside out. When that mopey feeling came creeping up, I’d take myself to a café (the sanctuary of freelancers everywhere) or to a library. These were and are very good quick fixes (hello there, BANQ, my old friend), but they don’t necessarily provide a sense of comradeship or belonging.

After observing variations in energy, productivity and mood, it dawned on me that I’d misunderstood something really fundamental. Naturally taking to solitary pursuits (like writing) does not make one an introvert. I often solve problems by talking things over and thinking aloud with friends and colleagues. Was I more of an extroverted introvert?

 It turns out there’s a name for this: ambiverts. These are the people in the middle of the scale of extroversion and introversion – and we are legion. (And useful, apparently.)

What makes an extrovert?

Extroverts are more motivated by stimulating, active environments. In a nutshell, extroverts are neurologically wired to be less sensitive to stimuli than introverts. So it takes more stimuli to completely activate extroverts. Introverts, being more sensitive to stimuli, do better in environments with fewer surprises and distractions.

When I joined the Halte 24-7, I was motivated to find a professional space where I could meet with clients and subcontractors. Since the Halte 24-7 offers plenty of space for that, it fit the bill, and I signed up as a member. A year and a half later, it’s clear that this coworking space, which combines quiet corners with pockets of sociable spaces, has really boosted my productivity.

The flexibility of coworking spaces do seem to be beneficial for concentration levels. Writing in The Harvard Business Review, Christine Congdon, Donna Flynn, and Melanie Redman break down concentration needs into three phases: controlled attention, stimulus-driven attention and rejuvenation. When we have work to do that requires steady concentration, we logically need peace and quiet. On the other hand, some tasks can be done with the bouncy kind of attention that goes into multitasking.

Rejuvenation, on the other hand, is a like a little recess break for you brain. Congdo, Flynn and Redman say that this rejuvenation takes different forms for different people. I wonder if introverts, extroverts and ambiverts naturally seek out particular kinds of breaks. An introvert might take a walk in Lafontaine Park, or a read on the terrace. Extroverts might seek out a group activity of some kind, having their lunches with colleagues and coworkers, for example.

And what about us ambiverts? Maybe we’re the wild card. We’re just there to keep you guessing.

Whatever your personality type, a well situated and designed coworking space offers a range of options when you need a break – and that has real impact on productivity.  

The more I read about personality types and productivity, the more significant the coworking movement looks. It’s hard to imagine that it won’t be increasingly embraced by corporations who want to attract and retain productive staff.

Do you feel as though sharing office space with people you don’t have to chat with makes it easier to be focused and productive?

In case you’re interested . . .

If you’re your own boss and/or somebody else’s, how can you motivate yourself to be more productive as an introvert or an extrovert?  http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2016/08/16/motivate-extroverted-introverted-people/

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