Working from home has become more of a choice with most people since lockdown started. Some people have decided to get a job from home because they were made redundant through Covid. Whilst others took on a work from home job to supplement furlough money. Whatever your reasons are, today we have Josie from
Before my children were born I worked outside of the home, in exclusively customer-facing roles. Throughout that time, the introvert in me longed to work from home. When I had my second child, I finally achieved my dream and became a and while I do love it, I’ve been surprised that it’s not been the smooth ride I’d imagined it would be, and there have been disadvantages as well as advantages. Here are the pros and cons of working from home as an introvert and my tips for making it work for you.
The Pros of Working from Home as an Introvert
If you previously travelled to work on public transport then the first pro you’re going to find is that you no longer have to make polite small talk with your fellow commuters. Small talk is every introvert’s worst nightmare and they usually spend their morning commute doing everything they can do to avoid it. At bus stops, they will stare at their phones to avoid catching the eye of little old ladies hoping to chat and on trains they will be engrossed in books to avoid getting into conversations with people they vaguely know. Once you work from home, your commute from bed to will be small talk free.
Once the workday begins, you’re able to make your tea or coffee whenever you want. You no longer need to wait until a quiet moment in the break room. You just stroll on into your kitchen and put the kettle on. The same goes for lunch, you can pick any spot you like to eat without worrying that someone is going to try and strike up a conversation with you while you eat.
The other thing you get to avoid is . Office politics usually involve a fair amount of gossip and most introverts just aren’t interested. If you work from home, office politics are much easier to avoid. If you’re self-employed they simply don’t exist. If you still work for a company they can usually be avoided by simply staying out of the WhatsApp group and not replying to emails asking for your opinion on contentious subjects.
The Cons of Working From Home as Introvert
There are however downsides to working from home when you are an introvert. Most introverts hate phone calls as much as they hate small talk and working from home can involve a lot of them. If you’re self-employed you might be able to set things up so that people communicate with you primarily by email (I have been very successful at this!) If you’re employed it can be harder to stop your colleagues from just picking up the phone and “giving you a quick ring…”.
And worse than the phone calls are the video calls. Before lockdown, it wasn’t so bad but now everyone knows how to do video calls and the novelty doesn’t seem to have worn off yet. As an introvert, video calls are my least favourite thing to have come out of lockdown.
Another problem with working from home as an introvert is we forget “how to people”. When you’re happy in your own company it’s easy to stay at home and forget how to behave in the social world. For many introverts, we need work to keep up with our social skills in the workplace to stop us from turning into actual hermits.
The other trouble with being a work from home introvert is we never really have the chance to get to know people beyond the small talk that we hate so much. While introverts aren’t after a hectic social life, we do like to have friends and for most adults, their friendships are made in the workplace. If you work from home, only seeing the people you work with briefly and infrequently, those friendships never get the chance to happen and that can lead to isolation.
My Tips for Working From Home as an Introvert
Having worked from home for 8 years now I have found ways to make the most of the positives and manage the negatives, so here are my work from introvert tips.
- Choose a type of work that suits your personality, not all work from home jobs will suit introverts, some involve being on the phone or on video calls all day.
- Think about where your social interaction will come from, it doesn’t have to be from work but make sure you still get to practice your social skills from time to time.
- If you’re changing to working from home with your current employer, set boundaries around phone calls and video calls, suggest times that you are available and times when you need to focus on other work tasks when invited to meetings, check you really need to be there.
- Consider whether working from home part-time would be a better option than full time, allowing you to still build relationships with colleagues without having to deal with people all the time
- Whether you’re employed or self-employed, decide how you would like to communicate with people and encourage them to use that method, a simple answerphone message saying that you’re easiest to contact by email can go a long way.
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