As pandemic restrictions have eased, employees are beginning to see the floodgates of “back to the office” open and along with it, a range of emotions. For some, it’s the excitement to be in-person again, while others are filled with a sense of anxiety. This has led to the inevitable question of whether or not it’s time to work in person again, if at all. For some companies, management is urging its employees to return to the office and revert to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy.
Some employees are excited to return to the office, while others are far more hesitant to return, if ever. In fact, some workers have decided to quit their jobs when management required them to come back in-person to work. Although it may seem like an extreme decision at a glance, it isn’t too surprising when considering the shift to hybrid and completely remote companies, a shift we made in the last year.
Back to the office? Maybe not.
There’s a multitude of reasons why workers may feel a surge of joy at the prospect of being in the office again while others have decided to opt-out of the experience in favor of remote work. Beyond the benefits of convenience, work-life balance, or personal preference, a worker’s personality can play a significant factor. By this, I mean the battle of the introvert and extrovert.
As an introverted, Gen Z college student, every company I worked with as an intern so far has been remote. For an introvert, this is an absolute dream. For extroverts, it can be an absolute nightmare.
Extroverts anticipate going back while introverts dread it.
According to a survey conducted by Truity, there’s a high disparity between introverts that want to stay home compared to extroverts that want to get back to work. After a survey in April 2021, Truity found that 59% of extroverts reported themselves as feeling “very positive” or “mostly positive” about returning to the office, while only 36% of introverts felt this way. Moreover, 36% of introverts fell on the other extreme of the spectrum, feeling “very negative” or “mostly negative” about returning to the office.
In a world where tendencies such as assertiveness, boldness, and interpersonal skills are associated with extroverts, it’s no surprise that 96% of executives and managers identify as extroverts. With primarily extroverted leaders at the top of the ladder, it’s easy to see why some companies that were completely in-person before the pandemic are eager to return to the office because that’s the environment that they typically thrive in.
The busy office scene with phones ringing off the hook and constant background noise is normalized in a world run by extroverts, yet introverts may find themselves distracted or overstimulated by the noise. For myself, I dreaded the thought of writing an article in the middle of an office, preferring to write in solitude with minimal noise or interruptions. Staring at a blank page with constant distractions surrounding me caused frequent writer’s block. Writing alone or outside gave me the freedom to change my surroundings, jumpstart my creativity, and write more efficiently. This was the power of working remotely as an introvert.
To go back or not to go back?
As the working world has shifted back and forth between remote, hybrid, or in-person options, this leaves employees unsure which direction to take. Should they return to the office, advocate for a hybrid option, or simply leave their job in the hopes of finding one that’s completely remote?
Whether they’re an introvert that has found solace in a quieter work environment, an extrovert that sees the benefits of remote life, or somewhere in between, it’s clear that the working class has shifted towards a desire for remote options.
For companies still debating your course of action, don’t box your employees into office life all over again. Sure, some employees may want to go back to the office, but if you aren’t shifting to invest in remote work long-term, you’ll be missing out on a lot of growth opportunities, and worse, lose some of your employees.
How can you adapt to your work environment?
Molly Owens, CEO and founder of Truity, pointed out that “leaders crafting these policies should not only look at productivity and business needs but also examine their own biases in wanting to return to the office.” When looking at productivity, 67% of employees felt as or more productive when working from home during the pandemic.
As leaders consider how their company should move forward as pandemic restrictions ease, it’s best to keep these three things in mind:
Evaluate your company’s current productivity and work environment.
Think about how your company has performed over the past year. While some companies failed to adapt, those that have adapted and become flexible have thrived. There’s an overwhelming amount of technology and tools that can aid teams in productivity, communication, and building culture. Investing in these tools can expand your company’s success. By redefining your company to being partially or completely remote, the possibilities of finding the best talent for your company are no longer constrained by location.
Accommodate to your employee’s strengths by being flexible.
Offices are often built for an extrovert world. Consider the talents of introverts and how they can thrive by being in their element remotely. Survey your employees to understand how they work best. Remember that with all of the technology available to connect teams, employee surveys don’t have to be a majority rules system. Consider opting for a hybrid office environment that keeps everyone happy and productive. Creating a hybrid office is the perfect solution for teams that have differing feelings about being in person, remote, or a mixture of the two.
Foster an environment of inclusivity for working environments.
Remember that every employee is different. Although the study conducted about going back to work was limited to introverts and extroverts, there are plenty of workers that are ambiverts- people that have both introvert and extrovert qualities. Listening to your employees and investing in their well-being means happier and more productive employees.
Keeping all of these things in mind will help your company remain flexible in response to the continual changes in the working world. Striving to be flexible and adapting to employee feedback is key to helping your company create work environments that encourage employees to be happier, more productive, and eager to fulfill your company’s mission.
Finding the perfect worker for your company can be difficult, especially when the location doesn’t have to be a factor. Although it can be a strenuous process, it doesn’t have to be with the recruiting efforts of HubSearch. If you need any help finding the next great talent for your company, contact us today.