The Rebirth of the Private Office Space – An Introvert Perspective

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Steelcase Cain

There are two types of people in this world, the loud and proud extroverts and the quietly confident introverts. A common misconception in today’s society is that introverted individuals are shy and lacking in confidence.

Extroversion and introversion simply refer to how our brains receive stimulation. Extroverts get the majority of their energy from social interaction, and on the other side of the scale, introverted individuals are more inwardly focused, gaining stimulation mainly from thoughts and feelings.

According to Susan Cain, a leading author and lecturer on the power of introversion, somewhere between a third and a half of us are introverts.

In her hugely popular TED Talk, Susan drives home the point that there is absolutely no correlation between volubility (how loud we are) and intelligence, certainty and judgement, or charisma and good leadership.

In other words, the loudest person in the office might not have the best ideas, but 9 times out of 10 we follow them anyway.

If this is the case, why are some of our most important institutions such as schools and workplaces geared heavily towards group-thinking, teamwork, and open-plan spaces? Considering that up to 50% of us are at our most capable in low-key, quieter environments. Should we be thinking about adding the option of ‘closed spaces’?

Considering that up to 50% of us are at our most capable in low-key, quieter environments. Should we be thinking about adding the option of ‘closed spaces’?

With that in mind, what do all these names have in common?

J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, Steven Spielberg.

Aside from being hugely influential, they are also all introverts, having accomplished their genius works in more quiet, focused environments.

In an effort to curb the open-plan obsession, Susan teamed up with leading interior architecture and furniture manufacturer Steelcase, to develop a collection of discrete spaces for people to seek creative refuge.

These rooms are acoustically sealed, and fitted out with a range of muted tones, tactile fabrics, and comfy furniture. The fogged glass panels can be fitted out with vinyl, fabric, or wood for partial or complete opacity, offering the maximum privacy possible.

It is with a substantial amount of optimism that these will somehow kick-start a revolution in how we live and work, but to increase awareness and get people thinking about how we work most efficiently would certainly be a start. We are big fans of Steelcase here at Ultimate and are proud to stock their forward-thinking products.

Posted January 27, 2015

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