Have you ever wondered why some employees do well in certain office layouts, while others seem to become almost stagnate in the same spaces? Is it difficult to get some of your team motivated, engaged, and productive? If so, then the problem could be with your office layout and design.
Research has shown that the environment in an office can drastically effect how well people work (or not). In fact, science has shown that certain personality types require specific office layouts that work best for them. When employees are comfortable in a work environment, not only are they more satisfied, but they also become more engaged and productive.
For this reason, modern office designs have begun to incorporate flexibility into their layouts. The goal is to create workspaces that fit the six major personality types and the essentials they need to work well.
Meyers-Briggs Personality Types
You’re probably familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. This is a common tool that’s been used widely for years when onboarding new employees. The test is used to learn if the new hire is an introvert or an extrovert, and to determine what their personality strengths are.
The Myers-Briggs Personality Test helps determine where the new employee fits into the workflow, relationships with other workers, and more.
These days, the test is also being used to determine the best work environment for each employee based on the results of their test. The goal is to ensure the new hire is comfortable in the office as soon as possible.
Creating a Variety of Work Settings
While it is almost impossible to create an office setting that will fit each employee, creating an office based on the six basic personality types can make it possible for most people to feel comfortable and thrive. Even more, the office is centred on the humans who work there.
The key is to create more than one work environment in the office layout. Gone are the days when an open office plan was foisted on everyone. Nowadays companies are becoming more concerned with the wellbeing of their employees. This is where creating flexible office spaces comes into play with the six basic personality types.
In the next sections, we’ll review the six personality types and the office environments that are most beneficial to them.
Introverts: Need Quiet & Calm Spaces
Introverts prefer to work in a traditional manner and are not comfortable with an environment that’s constantly changing. They also need quiet in which to focus on their work. Introverts do not adapt well to hot-desking.
These employees require dedicated desks in a quiet space. This may be a single desk space or niche area with other desks. Another idea is to create a space for introverts that makes use of modular furniture.
Introverts’ desks should be out of the major traffic areas. Such “introvert islands or niches” create a calm atmosphere where these employees are the most comfortable, as well as highly productive.
Extroverts: Require Collaborative Spaces
Extroverts are those people who are filled with energy, love to work with others, and develop innovative solutions. These are employees who love to socialise—you might say they’re the social butterflies of the office.
Extroverts love to work in an open plan office that’s dynamic. They may also enjoy working in mobile offices, where they can move to a new space to latch onto inspiration.
The problem here is that extroverts thrive on visiting with others. This means they may be away from their desk or workstation, and not get too much work done. To help introverts become more productive, they need a collaborative environment that includes a space where they can land for a time. These “landing spaces” are all about flexible workspaces such as hot-desking or offices that use modular furniture.
With modular office furniture, each employee can have their own desk separate from others. However, when they want to collaborate, the furniture can be put together to create a quick meeting space. This is one example of the flexibility that extroverts thrive on.
Agreeable: Prone to Distraction
Agreeable employees are the easiest to work with and they’re the most adaptable when it comes to office spaces. These are people who strive for social harmony and thrive in a cooperative environment. They enjoy socialising, but they work best in a quiet space.
Open to Experiences: Require Variety
Employees who enjoy new experiences prefer variety and change, so they do very well in a flexible workspace where they can be creative, think and be inspired.
These people also thrive in a space that includes inspiration artwork and quotes, and anything that reminds them of the Golden Ratio. Including touches of nature in these spaces also makes this personality type happy and productive.
Conscientious Employees: Prefer Dedicated Desks
Conscientious employees are usually focused on strong results when it comes to performance, but they need the right environment to make them flourish. These people are usually very adaptable.
Because conscientious employees tend to be perfectionists, they like to be in a space that allows them to be prepared and organised. They do best with dedicated desks, along with the tools they need to help them work on their own.
Neurotic: Need a Balanced Environment
These employees may tend to be a little more on the negative side. They also suffer from anxiety and depression and usually don’t deal well with stress.
People with these traits usually have a difficult time concentrating, making the right decisions, and more. They also tend to be more sensitive to the environment, which includes lots of noise, high traffic areas, bright colours, and more. They become overwhelmed in such spaces are not able to focus and get things done.
Neurotics do best in a calm environment with their own dedicated desks. They may also feel more comfortable being near people they are comfortable with. Here, similar to the introverts, it can be helpful to create “islands,” of quiet, private rooms, and more for them to work in. Neurotics are able to better focus and stay productive in these types of workspaces.
Workspace Design for Everyone
The key is to create a balanced office design that includes a variety of spaces, which gives individual employees the choice of where and how to work. Meeting the needs of employees increases their wellbeing, job satisfaction and their productivity.