The Office: An Extrovert’s World?

How we have designed an office space that works for everyone.

When you think of a co-working space, what comes to mind? Bustling? Noisy? Aggressive? On the surface, the idea of an open-plan co-working space, hosting a multitude of individuals and companies can appear overwhelming at the very least. However, a modern, productive and welcoming co-working space is more than simply an extrovert’s paradise.

As a co-working space ourselves, we know that, at the coalface, the reality is rather different. Every healthy office plays host to a variety of different personalities, introverts, extroverts, as well as the very many of us who lie somewhere in between. However, not all office spaces are able to achieve this fine balance. Larger, multiplex co-working spaces can become crowded and overwhelming, whilst smaller, more intimate spaces, hosting a small number of co-workers can lack in the all-important social interactions of professional life.

As the father of the entire concept itself, Carl Jung, once said, ‘There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum’.

Therefore, everyone has aspects of both within them, and every workplace, therefore, must ensure it gets the best out of both types of people and both styles of work.

The rise of mobile and remote working has created a stream of professional nomads. Many workers now find themselves as laptop-wielding freelancers who could, theoretically, work anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection and a good Espresso machine. However, both introverts and extroverts often find that working from home, or out of a coffee shop can lead to similar issues.

According to Steel case, 95.3% of workers say that ‘access to quiet, private places for concentrated work’ is important to them, yet, 41% of them don’t have this access. Sometimes a busy coffee shop just doesn’t cut it for focus and concentration. Furthermore, 20% of workers say they struggle with loneliness from remote or home working. Therefore, despite the conveniences of home working, there remain issues that play to the weaknesses of both extroverts and introverts.

Therefore, introverted or extroverted, often the problems of home working remain the same for all of us.

A carefully designed co-working space, geared for the many different types of workers that frequent it, can kill two birds with one stone. Modern, innovative industry leaders have recognised the importance of creating workspaces for both introverts and extroverts. Vodafone and Skype are two great examples of companies who have combined social areas, such as large outdoor terraces and co-working benches, with smaller rooms and pods for quiet focus.They are challenging a rather outdated, noughties notion that knocking down walls, laying out IKEA beanbags and forcing boisterous socialisation is the only way to generate creativity and productivity.

At AW, we strive to challenge such assumptions, creating an office space which maximises the potential of all our co-workers.Our office spaces range from sofa areas and breakfast bars to smaller, single-desk pods and cosy, compact meeting rooms. Whilst our communal areas and expansive roof terrace facilitate social interaction, we understand the importance of self-reflection and focus, offering weekly, in-house meditation sessions. A co-working space should combine the best of both worlds, allowing for introverts and extroverts alike to thrive alongside one another. Plus, there’s unlimited Nespresso, which – let’s face it – helps us all introverted or extroverted.