Research shows that 74 percent of introverts don’t want full-time remote work. They want this instead.


As the masks come down and Covid restrictions ease, offices are opening their doors again to employees – for some as an option, others as a requirement. Much attention has been paid to the pros and cons of this hybrid work policy, much of which relates to three key considerations: safety, productivity, and employee preference.

The latter is a sticky wicket. The convenience of remote working has been a boon to many employees, who like to travel long distances and spend more time with children and family at home. But there’s another piece to the puzzle: the natural tendencies of introverted employees versus extroverted employees.

At first glance, you would expect the extroverts to be clamoring for personal work in the office. That’s not what Myers-Briggs found in a recent study detailed in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, they discovered something completely different: 82% of extroverted employees would prefer a hybrid work model, while 15% preferred full-time remote work. Self-described introverts, on the other hand — a whopping 74% of them — said they wanted to be in the office at least part-time.

CEOs and people leaders navigating our new normal should learn a lesson here, which is that employee preferences are not as black and white as management would like.

As one introverted employee, quoted in the article, noted, “Ultimately, I want to be home alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t crave someone else’s company.” Indeed, as John Hackston, Myers-Briggs’ chief of thought leadership, noted, the bottom line here is that new working models shouldn’t be all or none — or even as highly regulated as some executives would like. The controls must land with the employees.

The research is instructive on another level. In addition to the formal office/home work policies that are now being drafted and implemented, companies creating a culture from scratch need to understand that inclusivity includes those of different introverted and extroverted tendencies — and that each employee’s comfort level for engagement can be mapped on a scale, not classified into either/or categories.

At the end of the workday, culture—in many ways reborn as businesses reconfigure in our ongoing digital transformation—should be organic, not forced. Just as a CEO or leader wants to continually build meaningful relationships (both internally and with external communities and partners), the road to get there cannot be forced. Better to model healthy relationship building at the top; to live the values ​​defended by team members and the community; and to share personal vision on growth and engagement.

Forcing introverts to be busy in a specific way or extroverts to withdraw is a no-go. Leave room for people on the social engagement scale to find their own cultural fit while modeling inclusivity into whatever work model best fits your business needs.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not’s.

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