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An Introverts Guide To Working From Home


Sophie Blaine

Marketing Specialist - 05 Feb, 2021


If you consider yourself an introvert, you were probably very excited about the idea of working from home to escape the masses of people and work where you feel most comfortable: home. Merging comfort with work has its cons, and introverts have been struggling alongside extroverts with this abrupt change to routine. There are challenges for everyone who is adjusting to working independently, and engaging in productive habits can be quite the learning curve. Sure, many introverted people favor working from home, but no one likes losing their freedom, and an absence of socialization is difficult — not just for extroverts.

Note: If you’re struggling to label yourself as an introvert or an extrovert, you’ve got that in common with half the population. Regardless, working from home is a challenge for everyone, and the most important tip is to communicate your needs. You can still consider some of these tips to practice self-care and find a work from home routine that works for you.

Working as an introvert in a very extroverted culture can make you feel out of place, with the expectation of social engagement always lingering in the background. Fortunately, working from home diminishes the powerful social pressures of being in an office — for the most part. Yet, we see alternate challenges such as the increase in meetings since moving online or the anxiety of speaking in a Zoom meeting and often having to interrupt others. In these situations, the extroverts hold an advantage, and introverts have to develop ways to cope with this anxiety-inducing experience. Let’s face it; we have all experienced sweaty palms and a fast heart rate in a Zoom meeting when it's your chance to speak.

Not resonating? Check out our guide for extroverts here

extroverts blog@2x

Some introverts have had to adjust to being surrounded by their family members, which is by no means an easy adjustment. Their typical, quiet workspace is filled with a partner, pet, kids, and many other distractions. Learning to work in harmony with your “new coworker” is no piece of cake. If you’re an introvert, here are some things you can do to improve your home life and workflow:

Establish ground rules

Sit down with your “coworker,” whoever that might be — a roommate, partner, child, or maybe just a colleague that loves to chat — and set down some boundaries. The beauty of working from home is that you get to decide what works best for you, so let the people around you know when you need to be alone. Sit down with your partner and talk about what you need to be productive from home.

Put your mental health first and establish rules that will accommodate your work from home zen, along with your partners. Perhaps that means setting aside 30 minutes a day for quiet time, where neither you nor your “coworker” talk or take phone calls. This will not only benefit your introverted self, but you will also have time to dive into deep work.

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Find a quiet, dedicated workspace

When you’re working from home, it’s essential to separate your comfort creatures and unavoidable habits from your workspace and find a “work now” vibe that helps you focus. Lay down boundaries so you're not caught distracted by the people in your space. 

Ideally, you have your own workspace and can shut out any distractions, but that’s not very realistic, and many people have to share an office with their partner. If you have to resort to pinning up some sheets to create a personal barrier or build an office space in the garage, you should. Personal space is essential for finding your focus, and you can build a bubble to control your attention span.

  • Fill your workspace with items that bring your joy (a houseplant, treat jar, or your favorite coffee mug)
  • Block out distractions by muting notifications, putting on noise-canceling headphones, or removing yourself from a busy atmosphere


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Take a different kind of break

For many introverts, the perfect break is time away from people appreciating the silence and being introspective. It's okay to need a break from socialization for a few minutes, but when you’re working independently, breaks might look a little different. You might not crave solitude as much as you once did, but you still deserve a break from work itself. Here are a few ideas:

  • Socialize! Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all need some degree of socialization in our lives, and loneliness can be challenging. Get a regular dose of social contact from trusted friends, coworkers, and people that will support you.
  • Meditate. Set aside time for personal reflection and visualize your goals for the week. Here are some awesome mediation apps you can use when you’re feeling drained and ready for some solitude: Calm, Headspace, Omvana, and Mindful.
  • Exercise. Get your blood pumping and energy levels high with a workout to help your body fight “chair torpor.” Go for a walk, do some yoga or find a workout class you like. Moving your body throughout the day will refresh your mind. Track your activity levels using Fitbit, or

Tip: Develop healthy habits that re-energize you throughout the day and practice self care.


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Block off alone time

It’s important to value your alone time, even though you might be working alone all day. If you don’t, you will likely stay up late or wake up early in the morning to sneak in some quiet time before anyone else can distract you.

Carve out time during the day that is just for you, so you feel refreshed and ready for the next Zoom call. If you’re lucky enough to have nice weather and natural space, take the opportunity to get some fresh air.

  • Block off time in your calendar for deep work
  • Take regular breaks to refresh your brain and quiet any distractions
  • Go for a walk!
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Don’t rough up your routine

Defining a routine when you're working at home is the key to your productivity and well-being. Keep your routine consistent so you can maintain some degree of normality with this new shift in your workflow.  If you would typically start your day off with a coffee chat, then grab your coffee, arrange a Zoom meeting and start your day off right. Even putting on regular work clothes can help get you into the zone and create a ‘work now’ vibe that separates your home life from your work life.

Design your workspace with things you would have in your usual office space: pen and paper, computer, phone, coffee, and maybe a cute plant. Surrounding yourself with items that make it feel like an office space will help transport you into the zone and mitigate the strangeness of it all.

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Protect your calendar

Avoid filling your calendar with back-to-back meetings and try to schedule in time blocks to decompress. Virtual meetings are reported to be even more draining than those held in person, so you need to give yourself time to re-energize between sessions. Try setting aside one day in your calendar for deep work. That means no meetings, no phone calls, and muted notifications, just a full day dedicated to focused work. At Shift, we have implemented deep work Wednesday, allowing everyone to dive into a project and take a break from Zoom meetings.

Unwind as you normally would

Social interaction is limited to virtual meetings when you’re working from home, but that doesn’t leave you any less drained than in-person socialization. Continue with a regular routine and unwind from the day as you usually would. Whether that means mediation, sitting down with a good book, or just basking in the beautiful silence of a long day's end, take this opportunity to relax — you deserve it. Right now, during a time of high stress, you might need even more alone time than usual, and it's best to practice good self-care by giving yourself this time.

Tip: Getting a good nights rest and listening to your body's needs will boost your productivity and give you the energy you need for the next day. Learn about your sleep chronotype and adjust your sleep schedule by catering to the hours you feel most productive.


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Cut yourself some slack

You’re not going to be productive every hour of every day, and that is okay. Nurture your emotional well-being and communicate your needs with the people around you. Remember to take a break now and then, reminding yourself that you are doing the best you can in a testing time. Of course, getting your work done is a priority, but so is your mental health. Let loose and engage in activities that make you feel better about your situation. Whether that means working in pajamas every so often or taking a walk when you feel overwhelmed — trust in yourself, attend to your needs, and do your best.


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Find the perfect power tool

Working from home has revealed new challenges to your workflow; keeping Zoom invites organized, funneling everything into your calendar, managing virtual communication apps, the list goes on and on. Integrating with a power tool like Shift will help you stay organized and improve your focus when you’re battling a wave of new projects. You can add all of your most-used apps and extensions to begin working more efficiently. Create dedicated workspaces for your ongoing tasks and build a routine into your digital space.

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