Can you survive in a coworking space if you’re an introvert?
For those of us who generally keep to ourselves, joining a coworking space can seem counter-intuitive. Why surround yourself with people if you tend to be on the shy, quiet side of the personality spectrum? Wouldn’t working at home prove to be more comfortable?
As an introvert myself, I’d like to clarify that being introverted doesn’t make me averse to people, nor to spending time in the company of others.
It means that I need alone time to recharge, that I prefer one-on-one conversations, and that I almost always feel awkward at parties and networking events.
For me, coworking is great because I can be around people without feeling like I have to talk to them. And unlike artificial networking events, the social interactions at a coworking space arise naturally and feel less awkward.
What Groundwork Members Say
I was curious to see if other “introverted” members at Groundwork! felt the same, so I asked recently. And it turns out they had a lot to say:
I have intentionally sought out environments that would force me to interact with a wide range of folks, because it it not my natural inclination. Coworking is ideal for keeping me connected.
I definitely need time to be alone with my thoughts or to concentrate, but I like the natural interactions that occur in a coworking space. Because it’s a workplace first and foremost, there is no pressure to be social if I’m busy or need time to think. But the informal and structured social opportunities are always there to take advantage of on my own terms.
My natural inclination is to stay home and not go out and talk to people. But if I did that I’d never see anyone or meet anyone new. Given that I am new to New Bedford, it was/is vital to me to spend time at Groundwork, so I have a chance to meet and talk to people. I do sometimes find that after a day or two working at Groundwork, I need some time at home to re-calibrate.
There’s a common thread of respect and understanding that members are free to choose whatever works for them. On any particular day, an introvert could be the one organizing an event just as much as an extrovert could be the one working quietly with earbuds in. There isn’t any good or bad, right or wrong — and somehow it all comes together in a flexible, productive and enjoyable environment.
I have periods of time where I’m extremely outgoing and social, and other days where I want to wrap myself up in a hoodie, stare at my computer screen, and not chat with anyone.
What I love about Groundwork is that it has generated a community, but not one that puts any pressure on its members—and that takes a remarkable amount of balance to maintain.
Being Introverted isn’t a Static Trait
As you can see, there are a lot of common threads in what my fellow introverts had to say. Most of us don’t feel introverted all the time. We have moments when we want social engagement, and moments when we need to be alone.
This plays out beautifully in a coworking space, where the rules and schedule are yours to make. Stay home, work quietly, or grab a seat at the lunch counter– it’s up to you.
One thing is certain– we introverts enjoy the opportunity to be “together, alone.” And sometimes the click of a neighbor’s keyboard is just the perfect amount of companionship.