At some point in your career, you’ve probably been asked to take the Myers-Briggs personality type test (or a similar quiz based from it). The test sorts personalities into 16 different flavors, and we HR types love it for the insight it offers us into our team members’ perspectives.
However, the categories from a Myers-Briggs personality type test are also useful for a lot of other things in life too, like figuring out whether you and your romantic partner will work, or why you and that one officemate hit it off almost instantly. In fact, you can even channel the results in how your workspace setup! That way, you can design an office that will allow you to be your most productive without sacrificing your personality.
Here’s how to set up your workspace according to your Myers-Briggs personality type:
If you’re an ISTJ (aka the “Logistician”): Orderly and dutiful, ISTJs thrive in a traditional workspace and do best when they progress slowly up the ladder, achieving their goals in good time and measure. These dedicated thinkers bring a certain harmony to their workplaces, since their chief goal is to create a smooth, stable operation. For them, a highly structured office is best, one where there’s a place for everything, and the furniture is sturdy and reliable. However, these slow-and-steady workers may benefit from unexpected details, so don’t be afraid to wear that kooky sweater or take on a project you’re not so sure about.
If you’re an INFJ (aka the “Advocate”): INFJs are a unique blend of emotion and concrete action. As a seeker of harmony and justice, you likely have many fans around the office, meaning tons of visitors who may not be welcome when you need to recharge. Give yourself the ability to shut the world out by installing a cubicle privacy door in your space, setting your remote communication tools off, or by asking team members to schedule meetings ahead of time. When you set up your workspace, feel free to scrap the traditional desk/chair/filing cabinet arrangement for something that better suits your unique preferences. Don’t worry—with your intuition and innate sense of balance, you’re bound to find the right setup!
If you’re an INTJ (aka the “Mastermind”): You could just as easily nickname this type the “bookworm,” since INTJs have an ingrained thirst for knowledge and highly cerebral pursuits. If you fall into this personality type, you’d do well to curate a library of professional reading that tickles your intellectual curiosity. Keep these books in your office where you can access them in one of your many retreats from the rest of the team. In terms of decor, opt for flexible furniture, such as a convertible standing desk that will suit your need for freedom in your workspace. Choose colors that are soothing, with geometric patterns that work with your highly strategic mindset. And make sure that everything stays orderly—there’s nothing an INTJ hates more than a chaotic desk!
If you’re an ISFJ (aka the “Nurturer”): ISFJs are natural helpers, but they have a tendency to underestimate their own contribution to office culture. Therefore, they might benefit from displaying evidence of their achievements on their office walls—perhaps hanging an award or the race bib from a completed marathon. Take time selecting your furniture when you set up your workspace, since you tend to perform best when everything feels welcoming and nothing is overlooked. And remember to book some time for learning when you start a new project. Nurturers like to approach new tasks with a hands-on attitude, so you’ll need some room in your schedule to really dig into the details.
If you’re an ISTP (aka the “Virtuoso”): Decorating for you means finding the perfect balance between order and quirkiness. With your out-of-the-box approach to life, you thrive in spaces that both allow you to express your unique blend of boldness and freedom and provide an enclosed retreat for private tinkering. Look for unusual, stimulating colors, like peaches and mint greens, but keep the furniture sleek with a slim profile that doesn’t intrude on your thinking. And make sure to add some tactile desk toys—it will give you something to fiddle with while you wait for the perfect solution to drop out of the sky!
If you’re an ISFP (aka the “Artist”): If you’re an ISFP and you’re reading this, you’ve probably already put a lot of thought into your office’s setup. As sensual, visual people, ISFPs thrive on aesthetics—but that can also make them a little overly-sensitive to what’s going on around them. ISFPs should therefore strive to separate themselves from busy atmospheres, choosing instead spots near a window, where they can be drawn in by the natural ambience. No windows in your office? Choose some soothing furniture, like a desk in blonde wood, and top it with plants or a small tranquil waterfall. Anything beautiful and peaceful is your milieu.
If you’re an INFP (aka the “Idealist”): Dreamy and emotive, INFPs seek harmony and fairness in the workplace. This type needs a soothing, calming space to retreat, where they can recharge and reflect on their next move. If you can, choose an office space that’s set away from the hustle and bustle of the main room. INFPs may have trouble becoming inspired by traditional office decor with its focus on function. Instead, you should try to integrate your personal passions into your office, choosing pieces that are fair trade, for instance, or that weave in natural elements.
If you’re an INTP (aka the “Architect”): INTPs adore playing with ideas and exploring—no wonder some of the world’s renowned scientists fall into this personality type. These are the folks who are so creative and logical they can come up with the theory of relativity (Einstein is one of their more celebrated members), but will often abandon their coffee mid-sip in the throes of a new theory. A well-ordered space, with highly efficient shelving and organization systems, will suit this type well. But make sure to include a miscellaneous file—and a nook for doing more unordered thinking—for when the creative bug sets in.
If you’re an ESTP (aka the “Entrepreneur”): ESTPs are having quite a moment these days. These rulebreakers love to think outside the box and are the kind you’d see chatting about “disruption” and “failing forward.” Therefore, they need an energetic workspace that captures the boldness and risk-taking that inspires them. Charged colors, like electric blue or bright orange, with unexpected accents—a curved desk, for instance, or an unusual piece of artwork—will keep this type running on all four cylinders. Just don’t go for anything too fussy. With your preference for rapid change, you’ll likely be reorganizing often.
If you’re an ESFP (aka the “Performer”): Expressive and vocal about your opinions, you probably take no issue redecorating your office as you see fit. But as a caring, compassionate person, you love to reach out to friends around your workplace too, so don’t be afraid to ask them for their advice! Seriousness is for the other personality types to worry about, so go ahead, grab that fabulous bulletin board and that dramatic desk chair. Just make sure you don’t get too caught up in decorating—after all, you still have actual work to do!
If you’re an ENFP (aka the “Campaigner”): Blessed with natural charisma and an energetic spark, ENFPs are passionate about their ideas and bring the fun at the office happy hour. In their workspaces, they need decor that will refill their nearly never-ending cup of joy. But they could probably also do with some simplifying as well, since these types hate routine tasks and view organization as a form of drudgery. Keep your filing system as simple as possible to avoid the blahs and allow you to focus on what you care about: new ideas.
If you’re an ENTP (aka the “Visionary”): As “big picture” thinkers, ENTPs tend to overlook the finer details, such as organization. For these idea-oriented types, challenges are motivating, so if you can view the cleaning as a problem that needs to be solved, you’ll likely have much better results. Use unconventional solutions—an unusual, eye-catching shelf, or a standing desk with rolling walls—or just give yourself the freedom to work in a new coffee shop or restaurant, if that’s an option. Just keep it flexible, and remember: everything is reversible!
If you’re an ESTJ (aka the “Executive”): As you might guess by their moniker, ESTJs thrive on order and tend to follow the rules. They’re also hard-working and moral, so they don’t like to be weighed down by trivial details. Therefore, if you fall into this category, you’ll do best with clean, unfettered decor that doesn’t really push the envelope. Think “oval office” and get inspired by the mixture of traditional luxury and executive prowess. And make sure to add an extra seat for visitors. With your reputation for leadership and community organization, you’re sure to have a more than a few office drop-ins!
If you’re an ESFJ (aka the “Caregiver”): You know that one chatty coworker who’s always game for a quick conversation? If you’re an ESFJ, it’s probably you! You love working with people and view meetings as more than just work—they’re a chance to entertain, too. Give yourself enough room to invite people in when the mood strikes, while still maintaining the order and organization in your space. Go for practical, utilitarian pieces, like a rolling white board, that can help you lead a group meeting and keep your thoughts together.
If you’re an ENFJ (aka the “Giver”): Generous and collaborative, an ENFJ is the very definition of a “people person.” Therefore, they prefer spaces that are hospitable, inviting, and comfortable, and thrive in spaces that are energetic and novel (think “startup with bean bag chairs and wall murals.”) Choose pieces that are punchy and will start a conversation, but still maintain a sense of order in your space. Whatever you do, make sure there’s plenty of room for collaboration. In fact, you may even want to share your office, if that’s a possibility. ENFJs are one of those rare types who actually enjoy open plan offices, since they allow them to easily do their work in teams. If you work from home, try out coworking spaces and coffee shops.
If you’re an ENTJ (aka the “Commander”): You like to brag that you’ve never been bested by a car salesman, and that’s because you enjoy the challenge of negotiating. With your commanding presence and dominating personality, you need decor that’s just as domineering—and maybe even just the slightest bit intimidating. Pick out the biggest desk you can get and a plush leather chair to capture that ambience of control. But don’t forget to allow your sensitive side out once and awhile, too. A few gentle touches, like a photo of your dog displayed on one of your shelves, will go a long way to humanize you to your fellow teammates.