Work Enviroments for the Highly Sensitive Person

Are you sensitive to lights, sounds and smells? Do you become overwhelmed easily by stressful situations? Have friends and family always said you’re too sensitive? If so, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). The term was coined by psychologist Elaine Aron and has gained more attention in recent years. If you believe you may be highly sensitive, it is important to choose a work environment that allows you to reach your full potential without draining you emotionally and physically.

Work from Home

Working from home offers an ideal situation for highly sensitive people, because they can manage distractions and take time to respond to clients or coworkers. The best way to find a work-from-home job is to start working with an employer that typically offers opportunities to work at home. Most online work at home job listings are scams, so be wary of such advertisements. Working at home requires discipline and a designated work space, so if you have any distractions (children, pets, etc.) it may not be the best option for you.

Small Business

Small business provide some advantages HSP’s, because they often offer more flexibility and laid-back work environments. As an HSP, you also want your work to matter, and you may feel you can contribute more in a smaller workplace. However, a small business can be even more stressful if each worker has to fill many different roles (a common situation at very small companies). Every business is different, so you should use interviews and other available resources to assess the specific work environment at each potential employer.


Freelance or consulting work is another option for highly sensitive people to consider. You have more control over your schedule, and in many cases can do work from home. The downside is that you will be working form many bosses (your clients) instead of one or two as you would at a traditional workplace. There will also be competition for clients’ business with other freelancers, which may be stressful for some highly sensitive individuals. Some good consulting/freelance occupations: writing, web design, photography, programming, IT consulting, and academic tutoring.

Fluorescent lighting, ringing phones, and tight deadlines can annoy anyone, but for the highly sensitive person they can greatly reduce job satisfaction and productivity. Therefore, consideration of work environment is particularly crucial for HSP’s. Consider the tips above when choosing a career and where to work. If you want more information, read The Highly Sensitive Person and Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person