If you are an extrovert working from home due to COVID, chances are you’re finding it a challenge. But just because you’re not in a traditional office environment, doesn’t mean you’re doomed to feeling unfulfilled. With the proper tips and ideas, you can stay motivated, engaged, and productive as an extrovert working from home.
What Is an Extrovert in the Remote Workplace?
In general, extroverts get their energy and excitement from social situations. According to Psychology Today:
“Extroversion is a personality trait typically characterized by outgoingness, high energy, and/or talkativeness. In general, the term refers to a state of being where someone “recharges,” or draws energy, from being with other people.”
In the workplace, extroversion translates to the enjoyment of communication, collaboration, and other in-person experiences usually related to the traditional office. If you’re working remotely as an extrovert, the lack of social interaction is likely the biggest drawback. Since creating community is the extrovert’s superpower, looking at the same four walls without external stimulation can result in feelings of apathy, boredom, and even anxiety.
To find out how you can maintain your momentum and enjoy the many perks of remote work check out these helpful tips for extroverts working from home:
1. Change Things Up
If you began your work from home career at the onset of the pandemic, you are surely aware of the challenges. Perhaps you initially felt freed from the daily grind and energized by your newly discovered autonomy. Then, the walls started to close in as you realized how important getting out of the house every day is to your well-being.
Actionable Step: Extroverts love new experiences. So, the key to staying positive is flexibility and novelty incorporation into your daily routine. This can be as simple as working in a different room for a day. You can also play with how you schedule your tasks to avoid getting stuck in a routine.
2. Spend Time with Friends & Family
The lack of socializing is one of the biggest drawbacks for an extrovert working from home. Thus, scheduling plenty of time with friends and loved ones is essential. Due to COVID, many of these interactions will take place via video call. Yet regardless of how you socialize, you’ll feel the benefits of enjoying a worthwhile conversation.
Actionable Step: Additional ideas to try are:
- Taking coffee breaks with a colleague
- Having a beer after work with a buddy
- Enjoying Sunday brunch with your mom
Remember: just because you’re in different rooms room doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time together.
3. Establish a Virtual Workspace
Extroverts frequently talk things out as a way to solve problems. If you’re starting to feel stir-crazy because you’re talking to yourself all the time, remember that working from home doesn’t have to mean working in isolation. In addition to video meetings, you can also set up informal virtual collaboration opportunities.
Actionable Step: One option is to have a group of your favorite colleagues sign-on to a common video channel and host a meeting without holding an actual meeting. Use that time to work as usual. Keep your microphones and video feeds open to create a sense of community. Call out questions and observations. Or, you could use collaboration and chat software such as a Slack channel to hold watercooler conversations about TV shows, family, sports, and so on.
4. Turn to Nature
Working from home can be tedious, and extroverts may find themselves having difficulty concentrating without the stimulation of an office environment. One way to offset this is to get a change of scenery. Go outside, preferably to the park for some fresh air and exercise.
Actionable Step: A growing body of research suggests the mere view of greenspace can increase productivity and boost your mood, let alone a full-on walk. Take time every day to spend time in nature, whatever that may look like where you are. A good time to schedule is just after mid-day to prevent an afternoon slump in energy.
5. Turn Off and Tune Out
In a modern digital world, everyone seems glued to their technology device. Whether it’s a laptop, tablet, cell phone, TV, or another device, humans are constantly connected to work, social media, and the news. Though seemingly counterintuitive, extroverts need a break from technology, too.
Actionable Step: Taking time away from your devices is shown to increase productivity, improve learning outcomes, and reduce stress. A simple strategy to use is to leave all your devices behind when you go on break, take lunch, or finish work for the day. Spending some time without the constant distraction of your various screens will leave you feeling calmer and more focused.
6. Create a Morning Routine
Once of the biggest differences between working in an office and working from home is the lack of transition. When you work from home, the usual morning ritual of showering, getting ready, and commuting to the office disappears. This can leave some extroverts feeling like they’ve been parachuted bleary-eyed into work each day. While the 10-foot commute is a welcome change, many miss the transition period as a way to prepare mentally for the day.
Actionable Step: The solution is to create your own morning ritual. Start by identifying the top three things that you can do to optimize your physical and mental wellbeing before work. Some extroverts find that replicating their normal office routine works best. Others may wish to spread their wings and explore new options. Try meditating or journaling before work to prepare your mind. Fresh air and exercise are also a good way to start the day.
7. Feed Yourself
As an extrovert, you crave regular, positive feedback from co-workers and managers. This feedback can be essential in maintaining morale, motivation, and direction. However, when working independently, you may not have as many opportunities to receive these affirmations.
Actionable Step: In this instance, extroverts need to learn to encourage themselves. Set your own weekly milestones and find ways to celebrate as you achieve them throughout the week. For example, if you finish a project early, you can tweet about your accomplishment and treat yourself to something you enjoy. The added bonus is that documenting your accomplishments will come in very handy when it’s time to fill out a self-evaluation or update your resume.
8. Find an Online Community
While many extroverts who work from home have co-workers that they regularly communicate with, many freelancers and contract professionals do not. Under normal circumstances, these remote workers may attend networking events or belong to professional organizations to fill that void. However, during COVID, these opportunities are few and far between.
Actionable Step: Another way to fill this void is to join an online community that will give you the outlet to exchange ideas, share problems you are tackling and make connections. Online communities can be found almost everywhere in our current digital-focused workforce. There are even virtual reality spaces where you can connect with others and attend virtual events using your avatar. If this isn’t quite your speed, you can find email newsletters, podcasts, and other chat groups to help you create a community all your own. Virtual volunteering can also give you an outlet to meet other like-minded individuals or those in your industry.
9. Take on Leadership Responsibilities
Without the environmental stimulation and communication that takes place in an office environment, many extroverts feel deflated and without purpose. This can lead to a lack of professional motivation and engagement.
Actionable Step: Since extroverts tend to thrive in leadership positions, one way to add purpose back into your work is to volunteer or apply to take the lead. See what your boss says about allowing you to lead a meeting or a project. This will help you feel more connected to your team and your company. Additionally, it may give you a chance to meet new people in your company, increasing your professional network. Never a bad thing.
10. Lean into Your Strengths
To feel happier as an extrovert working from home, embrace your personality type. Research says that in an office environment, extroverts have a small, but persistent advantage due to slightly higher levels of motivation, positive emotions, interpersonal skills, and performance. These benefits can also bring success in a remote position. You just need to be creative in finding new ways to apply your strengths.
Actionable Step: Remember that not all extroverts are alike. It is most accurate to characterize extroverts and introverts as existing on a continuum. So, what works for your extrovert friend may not work for you. Take time to identify and apply your strengths appropriately to your current situation. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, online personality tests and quizzes can provide some insight.
11. Introverts and Extroverts Working from Home. Together. Successfully.
A final common problem experienced by an extrovert working from home is living with an introvert who is also virtually employed. Stress points that extroverts can experience vary in this arrangement, but the most common are noise levels and alone time.
Introverts prefer quiet, calm environments and have no problem being alone. As an extrovert, you’ll be tempted to invade an introvert’s space. You’ll want to talk to them and be with them as the only source of company in the house. You may also want to make more noise than they are comfortable with, such as background noise or loudly talking on phone calls. This will inevitably lead to a lot of shushing noises.
Actionable Steps: Reduce the drama by incorporating a few simple household rules:
- If there’s a problem, speak up. Don’t wait until things get ugly to address the issue. Nip it in the bud and find a solution before feelings get hurt.
- Set ground rules. Establish times throughout the day when it’s okay to talk to your housemate. Maybe that’s at lunch or when they’re at break. Try and stick to the schedule.
- Establish your own workspace. Trying to keep quiet while in the same room with your introverted companion is probably impossible, so find your own space.
- Respect an introvert’s need for solitude. If your companion signals that they need some alone time, be respectful. Even if you don’t understand, giving them the space they need will ensure that they are happier and more relaxed when they are spending time with you.
If you work on a team with introverts, check out the following article with tips on how to engage your remote team members:
Managing the Remote Extrovert in Yourself
Working from home is a perfect opportunity to improve your work-life balance and experience the benefits of a flexible schedule. While extroverts may initially feel that the cards are stacked against them in a remote position, this isn’t necessarily the case. By applying the techniques above to the stress points that you identify, you can make your work from home experience a positive one.
Do you have any tips for an extrovert working from home? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and suggestions. We’d love to hear from you!
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