Thursday, 7 March 2013

How do you want to work..?

Just read this interesting piece on introverts and work spaces.
The gist is that modern work environments, with their emphasis on open-plan spaces, 'incidental' meetings, high collaboration, etc, are not as effective as many people think they are and, in fact, actually have a negative impact upon those with introverted preferences.

I am a bit conflicted by this notion that open, collaboration-focused work environments are negative for introverts... I understand some of the discomfort felt by introverted types in such environments, but I believe strongly in the importance of people exploring diverse perspectives, accessing the knowledge and skills of many (rather than one),working together to solve complex problems, etc, etc... I also think schools need to be preparing students to be good at working with other people and communicating well, in preparation for living and working in a world that places growing emphasis on these skills...

We all have to act out of preference at certain times, so that we can get along with people that are different to ourselves, as well as tailor our behaviour to the situation and context we find ourselves in. The key to 'coping' with this need to act out of preference is to know how and when you can meet your own needs - the article has some techniques that are useful [and very familiar to me!] for - in this case - introverts. 

So should introverts continue to 'push back' against the growing emphasis on collaborative work practices, or should they 'put up', shelving their discomfort in the interests of the greater good..?

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