In her new book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, attorney Susan Cain pits two starkly different work styles against each other. On one side, we have the pro-collaboration, open workspace plan camp. On the other, we have the solitude-is-good supporters clamoring to keep their offices. This debate on the best type of work style has important implications for workspace design and office environment. It also delves into fundamental questions about human nature. While we are social animals, drawn instinctively to work and cooperate with others, we are also territorial creatures who enjoy and guard our personal autonomy.
It is important to realize that extraverts should not dominate collaborative processes and that introverts need their space. Classically, extraverts need to speak in order to think. Introverts need quiet and time in order to think.Either does very poorly if kept fully in the other’s environment.