Innovation at Work: The Personality Project, Part 3
by Matt Bushey, September 2, 2014
You’ve read about our study of personality traits and workplace design, and the factors we included in our investigation. Now, we share the results.
Part 3: The Results Are In
Before administering our survey, we developed a series of theories that linked various personality traits to different aspects of the physical environment. These variables of workspace design include acoustics, visual privacy, and physical form, and are what we use to differentiate Activity Settings to suit the four modes of work we discussed last week: Focusing, Collaborating, Learning, and Socializing.
After analyzing the 200 responses we received from our workplace survey, we learned that our theories were supported to various degrees.
- Office workers who are more extroverted are less distracted by visual contact with their co-workers.
- Office workers who are more introverted are more distracted by visual contact with their co-workers.
This hypothesis was Strongly Supported by the following results:
- Office workers who are more extroverted are less affected by ambient noise in the workplace.
- Office workers who are more introverted are more affected by ambient noise in the workplace.
This hypothesis was also Strongly Supported by the following results:
- Office workers who are more sensing prefer familiar forms in the workplace.
- Office workers who are more intuitive prefer spaces that are original and different.
With this hypothesis, we wanted to push the envelope a bit and test a new theory of ours. This was Mildly Supported with the following results:
- Office workers who are more sensing prefer a more linear organization of rooms and spaces.
- Office workers who are more intuitive prefer a more random or organic organization of rooms and spaces.
This was another attempt to link personality traits to the physical workspace. Our hypothesis here was also Mildly Supported with the following results:
With these results in mind, how could a space be designed to suit a particular personality type?
Well, a company is rarely comprised of a single personality type. More often than not, a workforce is made up of a combination of introverts and extroverts; sensors and intuitives. But a company may have a tendency toward one personality trait over another. If there is a clearly dominant trait at work, we can determine the “personality” of the company, and design to those preferences. For example: we may increase the number of focus rooms, if introverts are dominant; or introduce more abstract forms, if intuitives are dominant.
This project has yielded some encouraging results. It has confirmed for us that who we are as individuals greatly affects how we deal with the physical space we work in every day. It has clarified this relationship between personality type and workplace design.
To learn more, or to receive a PDF version of our study on personality types and workplace design, contact Matt Bushey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-488-8314.