Extrovert or Introvert, the Remote Work Environment Offers Lessons

If you had told me on March 13, 2020 that I would need to work from home for at least a year, I would have immediately turned in my resignation. The thought of being away from my teammates and working in isolation would have shuddered me.

You see, I am an extrovert – a really, really, really big extrovert! Like most extroverts, I get my energy from others, I think out loud, and love big social gatherings – and all of that is different in a year of social distancing and quarantining.

This past year has been challenging in so many ways, and hopefully, it’s something that we will never see again in our lifetimes. There have been many moments of stress and anxiety. Both introverts and extroverts alike have faced difficulties, although each in their own unique ways. Despite having faced several obstacles over the past year, there have also been a lot realizations and lessons learned.

Here’s what I have I learned about myself over this past year:

  • I still get my energy from others, but it doesn’t have to be in the same physical space. I have never been so grateful for video conferencing.
  • I still need to think out loud, but having a little distance from my office “neighbors” has given me necessary space to think through some issues more deeply before seeking a sounding board.
  • I still love big social gatherings, but through the complexity of video conferencing, I have learned to wait my turn to speak.

Here’s what I have learned about others over this past year:

  • Some people really thrive with some space from others and not everyone likes being on camera, and that’s okay.
  • Introverts still need human contact. It is important to check in on them too to see how they are doing.
  • It’s amazing what you hear when you stop and listen. There have been so many great ideas, thoughts, and feelings shared over the last year. I was able to hear most of it because I was on mute!

Regardless of what curveball life throws at you, you are still you at your core. It is amazing how resilient we all can be. We have navigated this year by adapting and changing with each passing day. But most of all, it’s important to not make assumptions about what we are or are not capable of (for ourselves and for others), because we might just be pleasantly surprised.

The light is at the end of the tunnel. We’ve almost made it…now if only the mute button existed in real life!

Bobbi Kelly is Kreischer Miller’s Director of Human Resources. She has 17  years of experience providing human resources advisory services to a variety of businesses, including privately-held companies and partnerships. Bobbi joined Kreischer Miller in 2014. Contact Bobbi at Email.

 

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