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4 common barriers extroverts face working from home

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BIG THINKING

4 common barriers extroverts face working from home

Frank Smith-Hopewell
Strategy Director
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Twitter

Recently a colleague of mine, John Enoch, wrote an article about how even introverts are struggling to adapt to the new normal – despite that on paper it looks like a ‘better’ deal for them (pandemic notwithstanding, of course). As an extrovert, it taught me some things that introverts may not be enjoying now we are working from home (WFH). But it got me thinking about how I’m struggling as we ‘WFH for the foreseeable’.

According to Healthline, classical extroverts:

  • Enjoy social settings
  • Don’t like or need a lot of alone time
  • Thrive around people
  • Are friends with many people
  • Prefer to talk out their problems or questions
  • Are outgoing and optimistic
  • Are not afraid of risk 
  • Are flexible 

Looking at that list, you can see why an extrovert would thrive in a modern office, but on the other hand, might stumble a bit more when WFH. Not only WFH, but also the new general policy of ‘stay at home’.

Therefore, I wanted to highlight some issues, I, as an extrovert, am facing, and how I’m dealing with them:

I hasten to add this is all my personal experience – and I’m certainly not a licensed expert on these matters.

Less energy

Extroverts typically draw energy and ‘vim’ from social interaction. With fewer opportunities, the first piece of advice, hopefully, everyone is already practicing: video calls and chats. This for me means a lot of interactions: from direct messages (DMs) through Facetime to WhatsApp video calls (and not to miss mentioning Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the likes).

We have to face it (no pun intended), webcam chats are just not as energizing as real-life conversations - it is just what we have to work with. Use these options as much as you can – don’t be afraid to have a webcam chat with a colleague instead of opting for a thread of DMs. As another colleague, Eric Mathis, pointed out – that pre-meeting non-work chat is important now more than ever.

 

Restlessness

Personally, I’ve found that I have less energy at this time but I am also struggling to focus and be motivated in other areas. Extroverts gain a lot of momentum and positivity from being around colleagues, gaining a ‘collective purpose’. And this purpose, or even responsibility, isn’t as evident when you WFH. This is when I think about an amazing piece of training, we at Hall & Partners, received from The Human Performance Institute.

This is all about oscillating – switching between tasks when you need to. I aim to work solidly for around 30 mins or so (you can set a limit that works for you) and then take a break to do something fun – check in with colleagues, or message loved ones and friends. Even watch 15 minutes of something on YouTube or your TV can serve as a much needed break. This, I find, brings my energy right back up. Whilst we must remember to oscillate properly, this exercise will feed your productivity.

 

Anxiety

Whilst this isn’t something that I’ve usually suffered from, the stress and uncertainty of the world right now can be difficult. Relying on yourself, now more than ever, can be unsettling. You need to be open about it with colleagues, family and friends. If you are struggling, you need to let someone know. I’ve found it worked wonders so far, for me, in those odd moments of panic. If your anxiety is reaching critical levels – you must speak to a professional. 

Boredom

Social interaction is usually the norm, however, this is not the case at this time. For an extrovert, it is often the main source of entertainment. The morning office watercooler chat, that drink with friends after work, a dinner party: it’s all pretty much off limits now. There’s only so much Netflix or Sport re-runs an extrovert can watch.

Luckily the modern world has provided a few ways to deal with this, that I’d like to recommend:

  1. Video games: They have an outdated image of being anti-social, but as someone who has done A LOT of research into video games, I can tell you they are very much driven by social motivations. They are a real facilitator of catching up with distant friends and family, as well as being a tool to feel a sense of belonging and/or community. Gamers know this, but I encourage non-gamers to take the plunge. Definitely think about some Jackbox TV with friends over webcam. Try out the new FREE Call of Duty Warzone.
  2. What about a retro, free, web-based quest crawl with friends in Stein World?  The NY Times agrees with me: “It’s a Perfect Time to Play Video Games. And You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About It.”
  3. Collaborative activities:
    • Make music playlists together.
    • Watch a film at the same time and talk about it after (or during!).
    • After work Pub Quiz with colleagues – just do it via webcam.

All these things should help energize you for when you do need to knuckle down and get work done.

Other extroverts – do you agree? Do you have any other tips?

Introverts – what are your thoughts? Would love to hear from you.

 

Share this article

 

Recently a colleague of mine, John Enoch, wrote an article about how even introverts are struggling to adapt to the new normal – despite that on paper it looks like a ‘better’ deal for them (pandemic notwithstanding, of course). As an extrovert, it taught me some things that introverts may not be enjoying now we are working from home (WFH). But it got me thinking about how I’m struggling as we ‘WFH for the foreseeable’.

According to Healthline, classical extroverts:

  • Enjoy social settings
  • Don’t like or need a lot of alone time
  • Thrive around people
  • Are friends with many people
  • Prefer to talk out their problems or questions
  • Are outgoing and optimistic
  • Are not afraid of risk 
  • Are flexible 

Looking at that list, you can see why an extrovert would thrive in a modern office, but on the other hand, might stumble a bit more when WFH. Not only WFH, but also the new general policy of ‘stay at home’.

Therefore, I wanted to highlight some issues, I, as an extrovert, am facing, and how I’m dealing with them:

I hasten to add this is all my personal experience – and I’m certainly not a licensed expert on these matters.

Less energy

Extroverts typically draw energy and ‘vim’ from social interaction. With fewer opportunities, the first piece of advice, hopefully, everyone is already practicing: video calls and chats. This for me means a lot of interactions: from direct messages (DMs) through Facetime to WhatsApp video calls (and not to miss mentioning Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and the likes).

We have to face it (no pun intended), webcam chats are just not as energizing as real-life conversations - it is just what we have to work with. Use these options as much as you can – don’t be afraid to have a webcam chat with a colleague instead of opting for a thread of DMs. As another colleague, Eric Mathis, pointed out – that pre-meeting non-work chat is important now more than ever.

 

Restlessness

Personally, I’ve found that I have less energy at this time but I am also struggling to focus and be motivated in other areas. Extroverts gain a lot of momentum and positivity from being around colleagues, gaining a ‘collective purpose’. And this purpose, or even responsibility, isn’t as evident when you WFH. This is when I think about an amazing piece of training, we at Hall & Partners, received from The Human Performance Institute.

This is all about oscillating – switching between tasks when you need to. I aim to work solidly for around 30 mins or so (you can set a limit that works for you) and then take a break to do something fun – check in with colleagues, or message loved ones and friends. Even watch 15 minutes of something on YouTube or your TV can serve as a much needed break. This, I find, brings my energy right back up. Whilst we must remember to oscillate properly, this exercise will feed your productivity.

 

Anxiety

Whilst this isn’t something that I’ve usually suffered from, the stress and uncertainty of the world right now can be difficult. Relying on yourself, now more than ever, can be unsettling. You need to be open about it with colleagues, family and friends. If you are struggling, you need to let someone know. I’ve found it worked wonders so far, for me, in those odd moments of panic. If your anxiety is reaching critical levels – you must speak to a professional. 

Boredom

Social interaction is usually the norm, however, this is not the case at this time. For an extrovert, it is often the main source of entertainment. The morning office watercooler chat, that drink with friends after work, a dinner party: it’s all pretty much off limits now. There’s only so much Netflix or Sport re-runs an extrovert can watch.

Luckily the modern world has provided a few ways to deal with this, that I’d like to recommend:

  1. Video games: They have an outdated image of being anti-social, but as someone who has done A LOT of research into video games, I can tell you they are very much driven by social motivations. They are a real facilitator of catching up with distant friends and family, as well as being a tool to feel a sense of belonging and/or community. Gamers know this, but I encourage non-gamers to take the plunge. Definitely think about some Jackbox TV with friends over webcam. Try out the new FREE Call of Duty Warzone.
  2. What about a retro, free, web-based quest crawl with friends in Stein World?  The NY Times agrees with me: “It’s a Perfect Time to Play Video Games. And You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About It.”
  3. Collaborative activities:
    • Make music playlists together.
    • Watch a film at the same time and talk about it after (or during!).
    • After work Pub Quiz with colleagues – just do it via webcam.

All these things should help energize you for when you do need to knuckle down and get work done.

Other extroverts – do you agree? Do you have any other tips?

Introverts – what are your thoughts? Would love to hear from you.

 

Share this article

 

Frank Smith-Hopewell
Strategy Director
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Twitter