Introverted intuitive feelers (INFJ’s and INFP’s) in the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator are commonly known as being quiet, sensitive and kind. When the COVID ‘19 pandemic hit back in early 2020 in the Unites States, many INFX types were forced to work completely remotely, possibly for the first time, and possibly permanently, because many companies realized they could save money on office space by having remote employees.
This new remote working environment seemed to be a significant win for most people of these types, as they aren’t the majority of the population. INFJ’s make up about 1.5% of the population, and INFP’s make up 4.4%. This is shown by the following data with the spread of personality type distribution over the general population: Personality Type Distribution by Michael T Robinson.
So, with a little under 6% representation of the population, many of these types day-to-day needs and preferences often and easily get overlooked, due to their quiet natures and desire to avoid conflict by speaking up about it. These types need quiet, alone time for processing and for rejuvenation of energy levels. Hopefully remote work will become more common even now that the pandemic is lifting because it is very beneficial for these sensitive personality types. While these types do enjoy collaboration and connection with others, and sometimes even working with others, they also need a lot more alone time than the average person. It would be great if a common reason for working remotely takes personality type into consideration, but we have a long way to go before this is commonly recognized in the world. Working one day per week in the office could even be an option, as this will allow these types to have a chance to connect with their teammates, but allow for greater concentration and less burn out if they are able to focus their energy from a place that greater supports their nervous system.
Of course, there is the possibility that someone of this type may have less than ideal working from home conditions. In that case, special consideration should be made to allow this type of personality to have their own office, or own space, instead of forcing them to sit in a collaborative work space within the office. Just before the pandemic, the “open-office” plan had become extremely popular for companies and firms who prided themselves on collaboration and the “team approach” to problem solving. Here is an article about the history of this concept: History of Open Office Spaces by Alyse Kalish.
While this is great for many types, and specifically the most common types in the United States, it is not great for INFX types. Introverted, intuitive, feelers need a lot of alone to process information they receive from the world, and having to constantly listen to others talking or even participating in conversations will not allow these types to be at their best for learning and processing information. Additionally, they are intuitive, which means that they relate to the world through intangible theorizing, which of course, happens in the mind. While the most common second letter type; sensing, uses the five senses to engage with the world, intuitives have to process things through the mind to fully understand and relate to others and problems that arise. Lastly, because they are feeling (the opposite letter being thinking), they are usually fairly emotionally sensitive.
All of these traits together usually make INFX types very sensitive. They are sensitive to loud noises, smells, strong lights, and their energy is typically drained quite quickly with those types of sensory inputs. They can easily be prone to sensory overload, and when that happens, they are unable to process any new information. When we allow these types to either work from home, to have a private space in the office, they will thrive. By allowing them to thrive, companies are allowing their assets to be at their best and perform their best work. You wouldn’t run your brand-new Lexus for hours on end, not allowing it to take a break except for gas, and let people scratch it and let it sit out in the sun with its fresh coat of paint. So, companies shouldn’t let their employee assets burn out either. INFX types are typically very dedicated to what they do, and will likely be a wonderful asset for many companies if they are allowed to create their own space and take things at their own pace.
Thank you, COVID-19, for teaching the world a very important lesson. When we all went remote, the INFX types started to shine. Their energy levels were repleted, and they were allowed to do things their way, which was a beautiful reminder that there are all different types of people in the world, and not everyone does or processes things the same way. It would be great if companies and firms could start adopting the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, NOT as a way to typecast or stereotype, but as a way to allow each individual to be their best, and create a work environment that really allows them, as an individual person, to shine.
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