What it Means to be Flexible

When you hear the word flexibility, what comes to mind? Do you picture a man or a woman? Is the person fit or fat? When asked these questions, most people use words like smaller, lighter or faster to illustrate its meaning.

Flexibility can be a GAME CHANGER in the business world.

In the workplace, flexibility generally means having the ability to deliver your products or service your customers and manage your operations whenever, wherever and however. we help our clients examine business productivity best practices in three important contexts:

  • PLACE – Where we work: Is your team co-located or virtual? How does travel or inclement weather impact productivity?
  • TIME – When we work: How much flexibility do you or does your team have in determining individual start + end times and breaks?
  • TASK – How we work: Do you have secure tools & technology to help you effectively do your job?

No matter their size, companies recognize the value of leveraging flexible resources to build meaningful relationships with clients and customers. Companies with a small footprint wield its advantages to level the playing field when it comes to competing with the big guys. With 10 or less employees, a growing business can adapt to trends in the marketplace with relative ease. Not so much, when you have 10,000 people to consider.

That said, not all is lost for larger organizations. Employers of choice incorporate flexibility into human resource strategies to attract and retain the best talent. They are smart to do so. Flexibility is the top benefit sought by millennials – who by 2025, will make up 75 percent of our workforce.

If all of this is true, the flexible workplace (along with its inherent benefits) is something to be admired and perhaps even doggedly pursued. But, what does flexibility look like from a practical or logistical standpoint? How do you know if your company truly is flexible?

Here’s a hint . . . It is not only about technology.

If you or your employees are required to use sick, holiday or vacation time when you need to go to the dentist, you know exactly what I mean.

Flexibility is a culture – Culture is shaped by attitudes, and attitudes come from people. Even companies who have invested in advanced technology that facilitates, file-sharing, remote access and video and web conferencing, sometimes fail at creating a culture that embraces widespread application of such tools.

More than technology, operational structure or even corporate policy, flexibility is born of values and beliefs. Which makes attaining it, more elusive than you and I may care to admit.

How can flexible workplaces and virtual teams give you a competitive edge? In our Flexible @ Work series, we discuss the tenants of flexibility: What it is, why it’s important, how you can determine if your team or company is flexible and if not — what you can do to get there.

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