WHO Magazine: The introvert’s guide to working from home

In this article for WHO Magazine are Michelle’s tips for introvert’s working from home – Struggling to make yourself heard on Zoom? We’ve got you covered.

As 2020 comes to a close, it’s clear that working from home is likely to become the new normal for many of us moving forward.

And while there are definitely some perks (hello wearing comfy slippers all day!), it also means we’re facing a brave new world of long-distance networking and potentially awkward Zoom chats – which can be every introvert’s worst nightmare!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make WFH suit you. Workplace expert Michelle Gibbings explains how…

Zoom 101
Gibbings says Zoom meetings can be especially draining for introverts who often have to make an extra effort so their voice is heard. “Sitting down and participating in online meetings all day is exhausting,” she explains. “For introverts, these feelings are exacerbated.”

If this sounds like you, Gibbings suggests scheduling a few mini-breaks into your day to reflect and recharge. “Also, consider that not all conversations need to be face to face; some are equally as effective when you pick up the phone and chat,” she adds.

Network like a Pro
Just because you’re an introvert, doesn’t mean you can’t master networking.

“Remember, building relationships isn’t just about the interaction; it’s also about the value you bring to the relationship,” Gibbings explains.
In fact, WFH can introduce new ways to make connections. “With every change, there is an opportunity to reset how your relationships work,” she says. “Set aside dedicated time in your diary for one-on-one relationship building – be it a Zoom coffee catch-up, a phone call to check in on a colleague or sharing an article or something you think a colleague will value.”

The new normal
With many people set to continue WFH through the pandemic and beyond, Gibbings says it’s important to keep making your physical and mental wellbeing a priority. “The pandemic workday can feel like groundhog day with increased workplace stress, never-ending Zoom meetings, and the blurring between home and work-life leading to potential increases in mental health concerns and declining productivity,” she explains.

For this reason, it’s important to take regular breaks, and ideally go outside your home office each day. “Put your headphones in and hold your meeting while you’re walking. Do some stretching, deep breathing and meditation,” Gibbings suggests. “The key is to get away from your desk because by shifting your environment, you alter your state, helping to reset your mindset and get a fresh perspective.”

Lastly, because you’ll be doing double time at home, it’s crucial to make it a place where you enjoy being. “Working from home works best when you have a designated space, where you want to go and work,” Gibbings adds. “Consider lighting, pot plants and music – anything that enhances your workspace.”

What if I’m an extrovert?
Extroverts draw energy from connecting with people – so if this is you, you’re probably sorely missing office banter and casual conversations with colleagues. “Find ways to punctuate your day with deliberate interactions,” Gibbings advises. “For example, celebrate the end of the working week with online drinks, and use online collaboration tools to help brainstorm ideas.”

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