I’ve known for a long time that I’m an introvert. I pretty much consider myself an extroverted introvert. If you know me — whether your a friend, work colleague, family member, etc. — I’m pretty outgoing. But, settings with people that I don’t know are difficult, I like a lot of “personal” time and I really, really, really need my “me space”.
This need for my “me space” has become almost painful as more and more companies embrace “open workspaces”. It frightens me.
A few years ago, I had to move locations at work. I was having trouble getting up the stairs to my office, and the organization decided to move myself and a coworker down to an office on a lower floor. Thankfully, she was also an introvert and we were both very respectful of each other’s personal space. I think I invaded her space way more than she did mine. Often, we would email each other even though we were sitting within a few feet of each other. It was kind of bliss.
I just recently left a work environment that was more “open concept” — low walled cubicles, two people sharing the same cube, etc. It wasn’t fully an open workspace and kind of mid-way. I really disliked it. I almost would say I hated it. Whether it was the coworker that played his music without wearing headphones or the stuff of another coworker that would find the way into “my space”, it made me really uncomfortable.
There’s a great article from earlier this year in the NY Times about the Rise of the Groupthink and whether or not it’s a good thing. I agree with what the author says about the fact that many of us need solitude — that we work better in solitude.
I’m about to start a new job where I will be working from home and telecommuting 75% of the time. I’m really looking forward to it, although I’m also very cognizant of the fact that I need to find outlets to engage with people in a structured way.