Are you an extrovert? About half of the people in the U.S. are. But what exactly does that mean? The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment model says extroverts tend to focus attention on — and are energized by — interaction with the outside world of people, things, and experiences. In contrast, introverts focus on — and are energized by — inner thoughts and feelings.
To be clear, this is not binary. It’s a spectrum. In other words, extroverts have an inner life, and introverts interact with the outside world. But everyone leans in one direction or the other.
Historically, the business world has aligned more closely with extroverts’ needs. For example, think about open-plan offices that define so many work environments. As Susan Cain notes in her book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, the modern office is “designed for extraverts.”
However, the pandemic has dramatically changed workplace norms. Now, many people work from home, at least part of the time. How is this shift affecting extroverts? Are they adapting successfully? Let’s take a closer look:
How Extroverts Feel About Working From Home
You might think extroverts would resist working from home, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, 78% of extroverts recently told us they enjoy working from home, while 74% said they appreciate the peace and quiet of a home office. (Not surprisingly, introverts are even more enthusiastic, with 88% and 86% answering affirmatively.)
Yet, some aspects of home-based work are particularly challenging for extroverts. For instance, 69% said they miss having people around them (compared with only 39% of introverts).
Work-From-Home Guidelines For Extroverts
If your personality preference leans toward extroversion, how can you improve your work-from-home experience? Here are some suggestions:
Extroversion isn’t just about connecting with people — it’s also about connecting with your surroundings. Make your home an interesting, stimulating place to work. If possible, choose a location with a window and natural light. Hang pictures around the room, add items you can interact with, and play music you enjoy.
Take hourly breaks by briefly “visiting” another room in your home — even if it’s just the hallway. If needed, set an alarm as a reminder.
Spaces outside your house or apartment are great places to connect with the external world. Take a walk around the block before work, at lunch, or at the end of the day. If you have a garden or a balcony, step outside occasionally to enjoy some fresh air.
Regular contact with others in your world is important. Take time to interact with family members. If possible, join them for lunch or coffee and a chat. Take time to say hello to your neighbors whenever you cross paths. And when participating in online calls, use video if possible.
Reach out to connect and communicate with co-workers. Schedule regular informal meetings and get-togethers. Seek out opportunities to collaborate on projects. Working together virtually can foster social interaction and build a sense of teamwork. Look for industry-related communities you can join, so you can develop a broader professional network. Reach out to introverted colleagues, too — they may want to participate.
Invite co-workers to meet up in person. If possible, rather than working exclusively from home, choose a hybrid work schedule or consider a co-working space, so you can feel part of a more socially connected environment.
To be sure you don’t forget breaks and meetings, schedule them. Also, schedule breaks between online meetings. Back-to-back sessions can be tiring for everyone — even extroverts!
It’s easy to get distracted when working from home. Therefore, book specific times on your calendar for focused work. Also, choose a quiet space for this kind of work, so you can minimize disruptions.
Work-From-Home Success Tips For Each Extrovert Personality Type
Extroversion and introversion are not the only aspects of personality covered by the MBTI model. The framework also considers 3 other characteristics. Specifically, how individuals prefer to:
Process information (Sensing “S” or Intuition “N”)
Make decisions (Thinking “T” or Feeling “F”)
Interact with the outside world (Judging “J” or Perceiving “P”).
Together, these traits combine to define eight distinct extrovert types:
ESTP, ESFP, ENFP, ENTP, ESTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, ENTJ.
Below are detailed tips to help people with each of these extrovert personality types work effectively from home: