Life is a little more complicated for an introvert in today’s world. That’s true! There is professional discrimination against introverts who prefer to work in quiet places and don’t like to shout out their ideas and make a scene. But there is also a cultural bias that prevents people from fully trusting or opening up to an introvert.
So, what’s the solution? As an introvert, are you to stay at home and avoid all workspaces? Definitely not! Even if you choose to work remotely or be a freelancer (two lifestyles that particularly suit introvert professionals), it doesn’t mean that you cannot consider working in a coworking space and enjoying the environment as well. In this article, we are examining some tips that can make an introvert’s stay in a coworking space not only survivable but also fun and constructive.
Be open to making friends
Making friends is a lengthy and challenging process for a true introvert. On the other hand, once they have managed it, they excel at their duties as a friend. Once you have opened up yourself to the possibility of finding a work friend, or even a best friend in your coworking space, you will see that it wasn’t impossible after all.
Having an open attitude is an excellent tool for an introvert. In a coworking space, it will allow you to make a connection with your coworkers, a relationship that will eventually turn into friendship. Just make a point of saying hello to people you find friendlier every day. Feel free to ask them personal questions about their lives and their families. Taking these baby steps will get you there eventually.
Kill the monster that’s small talk
One of the most meaningless and challenging daily routines for an introvert is making small talk with random people. You don’t either see the point or are unable to think of something appropriate to say. As an introvert who wants to make it in a coworking space, overcoming this challenge can take you a long way.
There are two steps that you can take in order to connect to people through small talk. First, make a schedule to check in with people you are comfortable with. Try to synchronise your break times with others so you always have someone to talk to a few times a day in the coworking space’s cafeteria or garden. Second, make a list of the topics you would like to talk about during the break. Try to avoid the clichés and find something meaningful for you.
Expanding your horizons is always a good idea. Watch movies, read books with topics other than work, and keep up with the news and trending topics on social media. All these will give you plenty to talk about in your coworking space.
Talk about you
Honesty is the best policy! Talking about your personality and feelings in a workplace is especially hard for an introvert. However, if you take a leap of faith, you will see that it will pay off. First of all, tell your coworkers about your introverted nature. Having people understand you help you fit in with your community more easily.
Opening up to people like that will, in turn, inspire them to trust you and see you as part of their community. After a while, you will find that you have become rather attached to your coworking space and coworkers.
Find a secluded corner
It’s true that all these exercises will help you become a true member of your coworking place. But you cannot change your nature and you need to respect that. As an introvert, the hustle and bustle of the communal workplace will exhaust you easily and quickly.
You cannot expect yourself to be ok with all that noise just because you have managed to find some friendly faces in the mayhem. So, find yourself a quiet place to concentrate on your job and leave the small talk to your break times.
By doing so, you will also entice people to respect your privacy and keep their distance while you are working. They should understand that it’s not ok to just pop into you’re your space and start chatting you up whenever they feel like it.
Unwind every once in a while
As mentioned before, working in a crowded office tired introverted people much more quickly than extroverted ones. All the noise and movement can get overwhelming at times. That’s why you need something to unwind with when everything gets just too much.
This relaxing activity can be a walk in the street, a quick workout at the gym, or just sitting on a bench in the park with a cup of coffee. Allowing yourself this luxury will help you recharge and get back to work and the community fully focused.
Do something about the noise
Headphones are usually an introvert’s best friend. Having some noise-cancelling headphones will allow you to get rid of the noise whenever you want and be part of it again whenever you are ready. Having this kind of control over your environment will help you relax and ease into the community at your own pace.
What’s more, having headphones on will let people know that you are not mentally and emotionally available. This will keep your boundaries intact and your privacy all to yourself as long as you want it.
Yes, it’s fine to step out of your comfort zone and do something you have never done before. However, for an introvert, working alone is so much more productive than working in a team, and this is one comfort zone that you’d rather not step out of, especially when you are learning to deal with a noisy and crowded place like a coworking space.
Therefore, it’s more sensible to stick to solo projects while you are trying to adjust to the new environment. Once you have gotten to know everybody and feel comfortable enough in the place, you can team up with a few of your coworkers and take on a project together.
And finally, remember that as an introverted person, you would not do well to immerse yourself in a large group without testing the waters first. Choose a few select coworkers and do a few team projects with them. When you have seen the successful results, you can choose to expand your group and include other people you feel easy to be around.
Forming personal and professional relationships does not come easy to the introvert. Planning what to do and what to say, and how to react is always in the corner of their minds, and that’s precisely why their most creative moments happen when they are alone.
To keep the delicate balance between being alone and being in the company of strangers in a working place, an introvert needs to spend a lot of time and energy. However, it’s ultimately worth it because once the coworking space starts to feel like home, then you’ll have all you need to work creatively, both alone and as a team. These simple tips will help you find your voice in a crowd and enjoy speaking out and being part of a productive and lively community.