Introverts & Extroverts vs. Quarantine

How do we know if we are introverted or extroverted? Do we react that same way at work that we do at home? And how can we, as business leaders, have our colleagues and our companies embrace our introvert vs. extrovert qualities at this unusual time in history?

During the COVID-19 shutdown, some people may be going stir-crazy wondering when they’ll be able to return to work, see friends, and go to their favorite restaurants; others are relishing their alone time soaking up their days with peace and quiet and all that is good about staying six feet from others. Clearly, this time in our history may have extroverts a little on edge, while introverts have never felt more at home.

Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

When we hear someone described as introverted or extroverted, we may think of a simple definition of being shy vs. outgoing. But there’s more to it than that:

  • Anyone who is an extrovert is an “outgoing, gregarious person,” and someone who is primarily concerned with the physical and social environment.” These bubbly people aren’t reserved and tend to mix well in social settings without stress.
  • An introvert is defined as “a shy person,” or in the field of psychology, a “person characterized by concern primarily with their own thoughts and feelings.” These reserved people enjoy spending time alone and tend to shy away from social settings altogether or find those social situations draining.

Not sure which one you are? You can check the Myers Briggs personality quiz to find out.

Zoom or Doom? ‘Outgoing’ vs. ‘Shy’ and Online Meetings

When both personalities are faced with something like a quarantine, they are probably responding differently to their new work environment.

For example, extroverts may look forward to teleconferencing with colleagues, while introverts may just want to email their thoughts to coworkers. Extroverts may be struggling to brainstorm solo to come up with the latest, greatest idea, while introverts are churning ideas left and right in their comfortable solitude.

The public may think that introverts are in heaven during a shutdown, but one (introverted) reporter suggests the opposite: “The notion that introverts suddenly have it made while we’re all ordered to stay in is wildly misplaced. Our home life – traditionally a refuge for laying low and recharging social batteries – is suddenly required to be all things at once.”

It’s the responsibility of business leaders to encourage their staff to step out of their comfort zone and make the most of a ‘new normal’ – whether it’s encouraging introverts to feel more at ease talking to a gallery of their coworkers online instead of around the water cooler, or recommending that an extroverted colleague spend some quality time listening to a podcast or reading the latest research on a product or service in their field. One thing is for certain: there’s room for both types of personalities in business.

Our team is comprised of all kinds of personalities – and that’s why we work so well together: Individually, we are: Creative. Intellectual. Detail-oriented. Spirited. Compassionate. But together, we are a team that plays upon each other’s strengths to give our clients the tools they need for their business to excel.


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