Why Introverts Excel at Working Remotely — Andy Sto

Characteristics of Introverts

First, it’s important to understand the characteristics of introverts and what exactly it is that sets them apart from extroverts. This is important because these traits are what allows them to be more successful in a decentralized work environment, away from the coffee-pot chat and the seemingly endless impromptu meetings.

  • Are self-reflective
  • Prefer individual work rather than group work
  • Would rather write than talk
  • Being in a crowded and social setting drains their energy
  • They regain energy by being in a quiet and peaceful environment
  • Feel comfortable being alone
  • Take time to make decisions rather than being reactionary
  • Have fewer friendships but have deeper relationships with their friends

Myths About Introverts

One common myth about introverts is that they’re shy. Some introverts may be shy, but this is not the case for all introverts. Other myths include:

Introverts Aren’t Friendly

Unfortunately, if you’re not overly outgoing, which seems to be praised more and more, many people feel that you come off as unfriendly or cold. And since they don’t tend to have large friend groups, from the outside it may seem to reinforce this notion. This is an unfair characterization of introverts.

Introverts Can’t Be Leaders

While the statistics from the aforementioned studies demonstrated that most leaders happen to be extroverts, doesn’t inherently mean that introverts can’t be leaders. While the data may suggest that, it also suggests that it’s extroverts that choose to be promoted due to the traits that make it seem like they would be a better leader, due to the traits that are often associated with a leader. However, just because there is an association with those traits, doesn’t make it the only type of leadership. Leaders can just as well be effective leaders as they can be more empathetic and listen to their employee’s ideas, stay focused on long-term goals, and seem less threatening and more approachable.

It’s Hard to Get to Know Introverts

While introverts may be more introspective and quieter, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to talk to them or to get to know them. While they may not be so interested in small-talk, and skin-deep conversation, the relationships they do form tend to have a deeper bond and you can get to know them very well.

The 9 Reasons Why Introverts Excel at Working Remotely

Introverts Are Less Reactionary

Overreacting can be a very costly mistake to make. Whether it’s an angry email sent in reply to being passed over on a promotion, or saying something in a business or social setting without thinking of the consequences or how it would come off to others, saying something in the heat of the moment can have serious consequences. But this is something that introverts generally don’t have to worry about. Since they are more thoughtful and mindful than their extrovert counterparts, it’s not as common for them to end up in such precarious situations that can result after an action with little thought.

They Work Better Alone

Unlike their extroverted peers, introverts don’t need an abundance of social interaction to get energized and motivated. While others may be chatting in the break room, building up energy, they find solace at their desk, dreading when the banter eventually swallows them as well. And such dread isn’t an issue when it comes to working remotely.

Their Emotional Intelligence Gets to Shine

Having a deeper understanding of emotions (or a high level of emotional intelligence) is a very important trait when it comes to interpersonal communication and leadership. It allows one to communicate effectively, diffuse conflict, and empathize with others — amongst other things. And even just these three abilities are highly valuable when it comes to remote working.

More Creative in a Quiet Environment

Oftentimes, the office isn’t the quietest place. Among the conversations and other noises reverberating throughout the office, it can be difficult for an introvert to focus on this situation — and not to mention the conversations that they can find themselves trapped in. Furthermore, interruptions in the workflow can have detrimental effects on overall productivity and creativity. Not only can continuous distractions cause an increase in errors, but also, it takes on average 23 minutes to regain focus after becoming distracted. And this measure doesn’t delineate between introverts or extroverts. So, for extroverts, it may provide an added boost in creativity to have a short talk about a recent reality tv show. But for introverts, it can prove even more costly as it consumes their energy. However, when working remotely, many of these distractions are gone. They can maintain their focus and thus their creativity can flourish.

They Prefer Scheduled Meetings

Impromptu meetings tend to be more in the realm of the extrovert. And in the traditional office working environment, there are many of them — perhaps too many. While there is a lot to be said about the overall efficacy of so many meetings as it’s thought that organizations have too many meetings, and it disrupts productive work, they are still a common occurrence. And this doesn’t bode well for introverts, which prefer scheduled meetings. So, the remote work environment is much more suitable for them as ad hoc meetings are much less common due to the decentralized nature of remote work. Scheduled Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls are much more common, and in turn, are more beneficial for the introvert.

They Are Observant

Many introverts are much more attentive to detail. They are more likely to notice when someone gets a new haircut, or they bring a new laptop to a meeting. While this trait can have a positive impact in the in-person working environment, it’s also quite beneficial when working remotely. This is because of the more empathetic nature of introverts and their ability to observe not only physical differences, but changes in the emotions of others, how someone else talks, or the quality of work they produce. All of these things are useful when only seeing others through a screen or via written message.

Attention to Detail

Introverts are known for their attention to detail, their unwillingness to let things lapse, and their meticulousness in completing duties, which is crucial in a remote location. While extroverts are frequently the ones who come up with the big ideas, introverts are usually the ones who carry them out.

One-on-One vs. Group Work

Given the characteristics of introverts, it’s of little surprise that they would prefer to work either with only one other person or just themselves rather than in a group. This is perfect when it comes to remote working. Since the dynamics of group work are not quite the same as when working remotely, work that might have been done in a larger group setting in a physical office is consigned to smaller groups or even individual tasks when working remotely.

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