Working at home and introversion: Is there a relationship?

There have been two items about working at home in the news lately.  Marissa Mayer (a self confessed introvert), CEO of Yahoo, has announced that working at home is no longer allowed at Yahoo.  To quote her:  “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side,” the memo said. “That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

Then, the Census Bureau reported that work at home had reached an all time high.  “Some 13.4 million people, or 9.4 percent of U.S. workers, labored at least one day at home per week in 2010, compared with 9.2 million people, or 7 percent of U.S. workers in 1997, according to one Census Bureau report released Tuesday.”

Susan Cain, in her book Quiet, notes that Introverts work better on tasks that need concentration when the noise level is low and extraverts (sic) work better when the noise level is high.  She notes that the open office plans that are taking hold right now can be problems for introverts.  I can attest to that fact, when I worked in a cube I was very frustrated and not as productive as when I had my own office just around the corner.  When I was in the cube, there was one woman whose voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me, but she didn’t seem to bother others the way she bothered me.  Now that I have read Quiet, I attribute a lot of my reaction to being an introvert.

I personally welcomed the ability to work at home as a way to overcome the problems of working in an open office plan.  So I wondered, whether more introverts work at home, or at least are happier working at home, especially if the option is a (relatively) noisy cube.   I raised that question to Susan Cain, who thought it was a very interesting question.

As I market researcher at heart (even though I am only consulting occasionally ), I am curious. So, I have created a survey to study this issue.  Actually, since am using the free version of Survey Monkey, I’ve created two, one for extraverts and one for introverts.  Below are the links for each, please click on the link that applies to you.  Feel free to pass it on to extraverts and introverts you know.  I will report these results in this blog when I have gotten a reasonable number of response to each.

If you are an extravert and have worked in more than one type of work environment (work at home, work in a cube, work in an office with a door) please use this link:

If you are an introvert and have worked in more than one type of work environment, please use this link:

Thanks for your participation and please feel free to pass it along to others so I can get enough responses to be meaningful.  (As of May 7th, I have 43 introverts and 23 extraverts – I need 50 of each minimum, so please pass this along to your friends.)


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