Does One Size Fit All

By Lindsay Adams

With the modern trend toward grouping staff in workstations in offices becoming more and more popular some people are revelling in their new found togetherness, while others are going home stressed, underperforming and suffering from people overload.  How could grouping staff together at workstations cause stress and productivity to suffer?

It comes back to people’s preferences for how they like to relate to others and how they like to get their work done.  Some people prefer to work in a more extroverted way, talking with their colleagues, discussing issues out loud, having impromptu gatherings and meeting frequently with their co workers at their desks.  These people love to get involved in others people’s work and relish a variety of tasks and activities in their day.  People like this thrive in the crowded workstation designed workplace.

Other people however, are more introverted in their behaviours in the workplace.  They prefer a quiet reflective environment which will allow them to think issues through on their own.  These people don’t have a high need to be with or around other people and value time to themselves to work quietly and think before meeting with others to problem solve or agree a course of activity.  These people also prefer to work on one task at a time in a linear fashion, finishing one task before moving onto another.  People like this suffer in a workstation environment.

People with an introverted preference are often overwhelmed by the noise and activity going on around them in a workstation environment and find concentrating on tasks difficult.  Lack of concentration leads to job stress and can lead to a reduction in work quality and output.  People with an introverted preference work best in an office environment where they can close the door and shut out the outside world for periods of time. 

One client in a large public sector organisation said “When I have important tasks to perform I try to book a meeting room so I can shut myself away and concentrate.  If there is no meeting room available I take the work home and do it there.”  This is OK for some people, but brings added stress into the family household while the bread winner is working long hours at home to catch up on what could be done during the day.

So Does One Size Fit All?  Obviously not in terms of office accommodation.  If you have staff who are grouped together at workstations or you are finding it near impossible to concentrate at your desk it could be because of your personality preference.  If you want to increase your team’s productivity you may need to consider locating them in a variety of seating combinations or provide a range of work space to accommodate the people you have in your team.

Introversion and Extroversion preferences and how you relate to others at work is one of the four work preference measures which form part of the Team Management Profile.  This profile is a psychometric personality typing instrument which quickly identifies your preferences in the workplace. 

Would you like to find out more?  Why not contact Lindsay, at or by phone on +61 438 180 358.

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