How to work from home during COVID-19: top tips from an introvert

John Enoch
How to work from home

Let’s face it – social distancing for an introvert sound like a match-made-in-heaven.

Introverts have experienced years of metaphorical (and physical) walls being torn down, cubicles being replaced with open workspaces, and new technologies and apps being released at an accelerating rate, making communication easy and frequent. It’s been a long and arduous adjustment we have endured over the past two decades, and right when we were finally adapting (at times, begrudgingly) to this hyper-social new normal – boom, COVID-19 forces another shift in convention!

Overnight, we’ve been thrown back into a socially isolated working style: home offices, cancelled meetings, and calls-instead-of-coffees have abruptly become the new normal for all of us (at least for the time being). Sounds like a dream for introverts, right? Surprisingly, this sudden sense of distance is weighing heavily on all of us equally.

When I first learned that our LA office would be working from home for the foreseeable future – admittedly I thought “I’m going to get so much more work done without any distractions…”

We’re four days into our new working arrangement, and some clear benefits have emerged: flexible working hours, less interruptions, time to recharge creativity, etc. However, this newfound sense of peace and quiet comes with its own set of complexities.

It’s increasingly important that we sustain some of the positive social habits we have adapted to in recent years. Here are some tips for introverts and extroverts, alike:

  1. Be aware of how others are feeling. As we adjust to these new working conditions, it can feel easy to get lost in the day-to-day of our jobs and forget that seclusion is especially hard on some of our more socially inclined teammates. Make sure to check on how your co-workers are handling this new transition, or to lend them a good listening ear if they just need to talk.
  2. Brainstorming is important. There’s nothing better than unimpeded time to flex your creativity but be sure to bounce your ideas off others. Two heads are undoubtedly better than one and brainstorming will further stimulate your creativity. You may even make your extroverted co-workers’ day.
  3. Participate in office tomfoolery. I’m the first to admit that my presence at office celebrations rarely lasts beyond the second verse of the birthday song. However, it’s more important now than ever that we take the time to participate in office culture. Join in (or better yet, host) a virtual happy hour or lunch session! It takes a village to overcome the anxieties we are all facing, so don’t leave your fellow villagers hanging.
  4. Keep your routines, but also go outside (if you can). Though it is tempting to roll out of bed 5 minutes before work each day (and get that extra hour of sleep per night you have always dreamed of), it’s even better to keep a sense of routine. Shower. Get Dressed. Comb your hair. A lack of stability, routine, and sunlight can weigh heavily on the nerves, and add to the anxiety we are all currently feeling.