Personalities in Your Workforce
Since the office was created, for decade after decade, companies treated staff as units of labour, who received a bland, featureless experience, identical to every one of their co-workers. Only in recent years has this started to change, as managers began to appreciate the productivity benefits of an office design that catered to the unique personalities of their employees.
In an age when workers across the world have had their eyes opened to the possibilities of working from home, it is crucial that your workspace delivers an enjoyable and productive experience for all your staff. Companies that try to continue with a “one size fits all” approach will see poor staff engagement and culture, as well as below-par productivity and profitability.
According to Steve Case, former AOL CEO, “the strength of a team is different people with different perspectives and different personalities.” If your office design gives your people a choice of a bland desk or a drab conference room, you are excluding the vast majority of staff who don’t do their best work in this environment. Even if your office is a collaborative and energetic open-plan space, you are likely side-lining the introverts amongst your team. Only when your office design caters to the characters of all your staff will you unlock the full potential of everyone.
The 5 Personality Traits
There are many different theories and classifications on personalities, but many researchers now agree that there are 5 core personality attributes: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Openness is a person’s willingness to try new things as well as participate in imaginative and intellectual activities. People with a high openness score tend to be seen by others as creative and innovative. On the other hand, people who prefer routine and structure score low on the openness spectrum. They avoid change and innovation, preferring security to adventure.
Conscientiousness considers the level of a person’s goal orientation and their level of self-discipline in regard to their targets. Highly conscientious people are very organised and detail-oriented planners who focus on their goals and reaching them. Those with a low conscientiousness score are prone to distractions, often leaving tasks and goals unfulfilled in order to chase new opportunities.
Sometimes known as the extrovert-introvert conundrum, extraversion is the most often discussed workplace characteristic. Extroverts tend to be confident, outgoing, and fun-loving. Introverts tend to be more reserved people who prefer time and space alone. This does not mean that they are shy – they are just more self-sufficient than extroverts.
This aspect of personality refers to how people view others around them and their relationships. Highly agreeable people are trusting, altruistic, and popular. While they are easy to please and encourage team harmony, they tend to be easily distracted. Less agreeable people are often competitive and tend to be scarcity-minded, leading to them being perceived as uncooperative and even manipulative.
Neuroticism is the personality trait that considers how an individual’s emotions are affected by their perception of their surroundings. Highly neurotic people are often anxious, insecure, and prone to severe mood swings. Those low in neuroticism characteristics are more emotionally resilient and self-dependent people.
It is essential to recognise that these characteristics are not binary – each person is somewhere on a continuum between the 2 extremes. However, these 5 factors give you somewhere to start in understanding how your people vary, and the different workspace requirements that they have.
The Importance of Office Design for Different Personalities
It may seem impossible to create a workspace that is perfect for everyone, and in fact, you don’t want to. By developing a workspace culture that is closely aligned with your brand and values, you will appeal to staff who share similar values and goals. However, with that, it’s crucial that you have a diverse workforce of different backgrounds, perspectives, and personalities, as this will make your team more resilient, flexible, and varied.
As one of the most visible and significant elements of any workspace, furniture has a crucial role in making your office design work for the unique personalities of your people. Whether it’s office pods & booths that give your people time and space to focus, collaborative furniture that brings your people together to innovate, or learning furniture that facilitates educational experiences for all your staff, furniture can make your space inclusive for all personalities.
Not sure where to start? View our gallery of workplace furniture options to get some inspiration for your perfect workspace, or speak to one of our workspace consultants today to gain a deeper understanding of your requirements, and how you can create a workspace that maximises the potential of all your people.