Sunday, 12 July 2020

The Introvert's Lockdown || Guest Post

I’ve heard it said that lockdown is (or was, depending on your work) the perfect time for an introvert, not that I think that’s true! More concerning for many introverts though is the idea of returning to work at and reintegrating with their team. For a moment let’s put to one side questions about should the country be returning to work; how do you feel about returning to work?

What is an introvert?

The label introvert is misunderstood by many people who assume it means things like quiet, shy and like to be on their own; it doesn’t! Although many introverts are quiet and shy, there are also shy extroverts.

Typically, there are two things that help to explain an introvert:

1.    Do you gain energy by being alone and need to recharge your batteries after time with people (introvert), or the opposite?

2.    Do you tend to reflect and think about a question before answering (internal processing, introvert), or blurt out the answer and the very act of talking is used to help you understand the question (external processing, extrovert).

Why lockdown wasn't the perfect time for introverts

People reacted to ‘lockdown’ in many ways depending on a wide range of factors (money worries, family worries, health, and the need to spend time with others). It’s fair to say that many people were socially lost. We all can feel empty and lonely, introvert or not. To help I arranged zoom calls with friends in the evenings and clients in the daytime, but that quickly led to zoom fatigue. I learnt that as an introvert I could get low on “people energy” using zoom and yet at the same time was craving some social contact.

Introverts do like to socialise, it’s just that they tend to do it in a different way to extroverts.

Returning to work

Three months have now gone by and many people have/ are returning to work. Am I alone in feeling confused? Part of me craves substantial human contact, but how will I deal with meeting real people? How about you?

Many people are nervous about returning to work (not only because of lingering fears about covid). They have enjoyed the quieter ways of working and more controlled levels of human interaction.

At the same time many people are keen to return to work because they crave human company, as well as the “normal routines” they’ve become accustomed to. It’s wrong to say that all those keen to return to work are extroverts.

Returning to work as an introvert

Most workplaces are a mix of quieter introverts and noisier extroverts. Many introverts have told me they’re worried the extroverts be even noisier after 2-3 months of their own company.

Perhaps you’re nervous of the shock of moving from 100% controlled and peaceful work to a much noisier version?

If you’re apprehensive, it’s normal. We all are and it’s not relevant if you’re introverted or extroverted. Important things is to take care of your self and be aware that others around you are probably nervous for different reasons.

That can lead to some strange behaviours that can make it harder, be compassionate with yourself and those around you.

If you have more concerns about returning to work, or howto manage your team in these odd times – please get in touch with me or read some of the other articles I’ve written on the subject,

We have all (introvert, extrovert and everybody in between) been through very unusual times. Returning to “normal” will feel very odd too. What will help you?

Author: Jon Baker

Jon Baker is an introvert who helps introverts to be more successful at work and helps businesses understand introversion so they can get more productivity from their whole team (most teams unwittingly exclude the introverts) . You can find out more about Jon at

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