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Office politics. Distractions. Small talk by the water cooler. People coming by your desk to check up on you. Office life isn’t exactly fun for introverts.
When the pandemic started, many introverts rejoiced at the chance to work from home. After all, what’s not to love? There are all the snacks, furry cuddles (if you have a dog or cat) and most importantly, not a lot of small talk with your co-workers.
But while it’s been great working from home, many companies have started asking employees to come back to work again (*internally screams in introvert*).
So if your boss has asked you to start coming in again or you have been going back to work in person for a while and hate it, here are a few survival tips for returning to the office as an introvert.
If you can, the best scenario is to just keep working from home. If you have a job where you can work anywhere with an internet connection, it’s worth asking your boss if you can still work from home or work hybrid where you only come once or twice a week.
If sadly that plan doesn’t work and you have to go back to the office daily, make your commute count. Listening to an energizing audiobook, podcast or playlist on the way there are great ways to pump you up. So by the time you walk through those office doors, you have had some time for yourself before you have to face the music.
If you’re having a hard time adjusting to office life, make your workspace your own with things that make you smile. A few things you can bring include plants, nice stationary, picture frames, and inspirational quotes. While it may seem small, just bringing those little things from your home office can make the transition to office life feel easier.
Headphones are an introvert’s best friend. If you’re like me and like to play music while you work, definitely bring a pair with you to the office. As headphones are practically the symbol for “hey, don’t talk to me right now,” chances are you will get fewer interruptions from co-workers. This means less time with small talk and more time focusing on your work.
When it all becomes too much, scout out those quieter spaces in your office where you can be alone for a few minutes. If you have your own office with a door that closes, retreat in there and work in peace for a while. If you work in more of an open-plan office or cubicles, you might need to get a little creative. Whether it’s an empty meeting room or a bathroom stall, find those little spots where you can recharge.
While small talk with co-workers isn’t fun for an introvert, having deep, meaningful conversations with people you care about is the best. So as hard as it is, when you go to the office, try to build those deeper connections with a small handful of co-workers. As introverts thrive in smaller groups, start up one-on-one conversations in the break room or with the person at the desk next to you.
As more and more companies are going back to the office, there are a lot more social events to bring people in like free lunches and happy hours. Sometimes these social events can be a lot for an introvert. Remember to be patient with yourself. Do your best to socialize and of course, enjoy the free food, but definitely don’t beat yourself up if you’re not the life of the party.
With all the chatter and noise in the office every day, going in can sometimes be draining after working from your quiet home for so long. So make sure to practice some proper self-care after work. Watch a funny show, have a warm bath, read a book, work out, or do whatever else that helps you recharge.
Going back to the office as an introvert isn’t always easy. Especially after enjoying the peace and quiet of working from home for such a long time. With these tips though, you will better be able to cope with working in an office environment again.
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