How to Accommodate 5 Personality Types in Modern Office Design

Progressive companies realize the importance of designing offices that create effective, functional workspaces to accommodate different personality types.

There is an increased focus nowadays to create flexible office space that accounts for the five major personality types and allows employees to do their best work in the right environment for the task they are performing. The end goal in workplace design should be increased productivity and employee satisfaction.

Activity-Based Working and Personality Types

The traditional personality model is based on 16 character traits documented in the Myers-Briggs test. This test was developed during World War II to help women joining the workforce to find jobs that suited their personality. The core principles of this test are still used today but personality types have come down to the five most dominate traits: extraversion, open-closed, conscientiousness, agreeable and neuroticism.

A people-centered office design fits into the agile office model and allows for workplace fluctuation while delivering personal preferences that are influenced by personality traits.


Creative extroverts are energetic and thrive in adaptable spaces that where large groups can exchange ideas. They embrace the concept of mobile offices and are best suited to flexible workspaces and willing to work in different locations. A change of scenery is inspiring to extroverts.

On the other hand, introverts are best suited to personalized and familiar workspaces. They prefer traditional working styles and are less open to changing environments.

Creating spaces with extraversion in mind is the basis of modern office design. However, there is a need to incorporate more traditional workspaces for conscientious workers and neurotics.

Agreeable, Open and Conscientious Personality Types

Agreeable personality types are usually ambivert, possessing both extrovert and introvert characteristics. They are very adaptable and enjoy social interaction but also need quiet spaces to focus, revitalize and refresh.

They are abstract thinkers with the ability to think about objects, principles, and ideas that are not physically present. Designs that incorporate the Fibonacci Sequence and incorporate natural beauty appeal to this personality type.

Impulsive individuals are at the other end of the scale. Like extroverts, they can make snap decisions and act on impulse. In many cases, powerful ideas are often instantaneous.

On the flip side, these types are easily distracted and prone to excessive socializing. Although this type will benefit from collaboration, a closed space may contribute to higher performance.

Neurotic Personalities in the Workplace

Neurotics are not considered the most sought after employees but studies have shown they can be an asset to a company.

The neurotic personality type is usually characterized by negative emotions, anxiety, depression. They do not handle stress well and often have difficulty concentrating because they are stressing about something and can’t relax. This causes their performance to suffer which acerbates their anxiety.

While may not thrive in high pressure, stressful situations, they are good at identifying threats and risky situations and assume responsibility.

Neurotics are very sensitive to environmental stimuli. They do best in quiet, low traffic areas that minimize stress and maximizes performance. They need a balanced environment that includes personal space while allowing them to speak with colleagues.

In the right environment, if neurotics can focus and perform at their best, they are conscientious and will not let you down.

Workspace Designs Should Consider Spatial Density

Personal space has a big impact on performance, well-being and overall job satisfaction. Environmental qualities such as humidity, air quality, temperature, and outside views all affect employees’ overall comfort.

Agile offices incorporate a variety of workspaces. Designers should consider seasonal changes and take energy efficiency, visual and thermal comfort into account.

The Financial Impact of Agile Office Designs

A recent study on the effects of office design on business [performance found that a mere 2-5% increase in employee performance will more than cover the cost of fitting out an agile office.

To make sure you find optimum workspace balance, consult experienced office designers that understand how space affects cognitive behavior in multiple personality types. A good office design will heavily impact employee satisfaction and productivity, so it’s worth the investment to get it right!