As social distance continues to be a part of the fabric of our lives for the foreseeable future, you might have noticed the impact it has on your employees. COVID-19 came abruptly in the eyes of many employees, and the transition to remote work hasn’t been easy for many people. One of the best things you can do right now is help introverts and extroverts thrive because these two groups are a large part of your organization.
COVID-19 Is Impacting Different Groups In Different Ways
Across the spectrum, from introvert to extrovert, this transition has not been easy. Since we are living in unprecedented times, everyone is struggling with how to thrive (or, at the very least, survive.) Introverts are dealing with an unusual amount of alone time while extroverts are finding the lack of connection disconcerting. There are many tips that we can use to help introverts and extroverts thrive.
Tips To Help Introverts Thrive While Working Remotely
In the book Networking For People Who Hate Networking, author Devora Zack notes that introverts:
- Think to talk (reflective)
- Go deep (focused)
- Energize alone (self-reliant)
As you understand how you can best serve the introverts on your team, you need to consider how all of these notes about introverts might impact the introverts on your team. How can you help them connect with their true nature while working from home?
1. Check-In With Your Introverts
There’s a massive misconception about introverts. Many people think that introverts are not social people, but this is not true. Introverts love to connect, but they’d rather do so in smaller groups. Introverts may feel that large crowds are their enemy, but smaller groups aren’t. Introverts tend to enjoy one-on-one conversations as long as they go deeper than small talk.
So, don’t leave your introverts alone, thinking that they must be excelling during this time. Chances are, they’d love some one-on-one time to chat with another person. As a manager, check-in individually with the introverts on your team from time to time.
2. Give Introverts Plenty Of Time To Talk During Video Meetings
Introverts think to talk. This may mean that it takes them longer to form words and share their thoughts on a subject with others. Since we are doing tons of Zoom calls now, this can have some unintended consequences for the introverts on your team.
According to an article published by TechRepublic, “video meetings make it harder to pick up on the social cues we’d get when speaking face-to-face, making it trickier to judge when it’s our turn to speak, or when someone wants to chime in.”
Since introverts can take a while to get their thoughts out, you need to be aware of that and give introverts space to talk during meetings. You need to be as aware of those around you as you can. Also, it means trying to observe the different people on your group call as much as possible. Make sure you are using a computer as your video meeting platform if you can, so you can see people better.
3. Limit The Number Of Mandatory Back-To-Back Zoom Meetings When Possible
While your introverts should be checked on often, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many group meetings, either. There are times when group meetings are necessary, but often you can avoid these—especially back-to-back group meetings. Introverts like some interaction, but they still do energize alone. You want to make sure that you are giving your teammates enough time to energize by themselves.
An open calendar doesn’t mean all the meetings can be booked during that time. Many introverts need time to work solo and fill their energy reserves. If you want to help your introverts thrive, make sure that all your meetings have a good buffer window built-in.
Tips To Help Extroverts Thrive While Working Remotely
Extroverts are in a peculiar state right now. Our current pandemic is not something extroverts are used to handling. When describing extroverts, Zack, the author of Networking For People Who Hate Networking described that extroverts:
- Talk to think (Verbal)
- Go wide (Expansive)
- Energize with others (Social)
As you can imagine, in a world where many of us can’t go into the office or socialize normally, extroverts are feeling the pressure of social distancing. Here are some tips to help them thrive during all of this madness.
1. Provide Extra Video Socializing Opportunities For Extroverts
Extroverts thrive when they can be around others, check-in with their colleagues, etc. It’s no wonder that so many extroverts grew when they could go into the office every day. Now that so many offices are working remotely, extroverts aren’t getting that same level of interaction with their colleagues. Luckily, you can provide extra video socializing opportunities to your extroverts. Give your team the chance to be in groups to celebrate and bond as remote employees.
Here are a few extra video socializing opportunities you might want to provide throughout the week:
- Happy hours
- Birthday celebrations
- Coworking sessions
- Workout classes
- Q&A/Town Halls
2. Give Extroverts The Opportunity To Work On More Group Projects
Since extroverts are verbal and social, group projects would be the perfect use of their time. Many extroverts like working with and bouncing ideas off other people. If you know you have a few extroverts in the house, don’t be afraid to assign them projects that will give them the most interaction and opportunity to connect with other people.
Here’s the thing, though, you don’t want to force extra socialization on extroverts. We are living in unprecedented times, and even your extroverts might not want to be on camera or have extra group work. Typically your extroverted employees will enjoy group work, but be mindful of how your employees are feeling in the moment. Ask them about the work environment and experience that will support them and their growth during this time.
3. Encourage Your Extroverts To Get Outside (While Social Distancing)
The lack of consistent contact while being cooped up in the house is too much for some people. You don’t need to be cooped up in the house, as long as you are socially distancing from other people, though. Your employees can go for walks and spend time in nature, and it’s good for them too.
In our recent article about creating a healthier workplace for remote workers, we shared the importance of getting outside during this time. Spending time outside has several positive benefits for your extroverted employees, and it will help them not feel so cooped up.
What About Centroverts Or Ambiverts?
Are you looking so closely at how to help introverts and extroverts thrive that you miss a good portion of your employees?
In her book, Zack talks about centroverts or ambiverts. These are people who don’t strongly connect with either introversion or extroversion. Many of your employees will float between introversion and extroversion, and that is perfectly acceptable.
You probably want to have a deeper conversation with the centroverts on your team to see which programs they need or how they want to be treated during this time. While the centroverts on your team may have a slight preference for introversion or extroversion, they might not identify strongly enough with one to make those strategies work for them.
Get to the bottom of what features the centroverts on your team take from extroverts and introverts. For example, a centrovert on your team may love group interaction but enjoy getting a deeper understanding of the tasks they need to do. So, you might let them work on more group work, but help them limit the number of back-to-back meetings that might impede on focused project time.
Conclusion: Help Introverts And Extroverts Thrive While Working Remotely
Companies are a wonderful mix of introverts, extroverts, and centroverts. We need every type of employee to make our company run smoothly. A workplace full of extroverts would work just as well as a company full of introverts—not very well. These tips will help you connect with the various people at your company so they can thrive and produce their best work possible under these strange circumstances.