It’s good to be flexible in all areas of your life, right?

Whether it’s a part of your health and wellness routine (stretch those muscles), your personal life (can you pick up the kids today, I don’t feel well), or your professional life (I have a couple of extra minutes, do you need help with that project?), being flexible will invariably lead to a healthier life, better relationships and a more fulfilling work experience. 

While there is not enough time to talk about your health (keep stretching!) or your relationships (again, keep stretching!), if you want to survive in the business world, flexibility is key. And it all starts in your head with your attitude. That’s right, as in all other choices we make in life, attitude will determine how far you are willing to go.

We all know that one person (or business) who is very much stuck in their ways, won’t change or adapt anything and is slow to try anything new. If you look up the word “inflexible” in the dictionary, you will see their picture or logo.

And make no mistake; I’m talking about employers as well as employees. Both sides of the aisle have to show flexibility in order to create the type of experience that makes everyone want to get up and go to work in the morning, especially if you are dealing with businesses and customers around the world. One size definitely does not fit all.

For great examples of flexibility in the workplace, look no further than Zappos or Ritz Carlton, included in this article about excellent customer service, and the lengths that companies will go to make sure their customers will return.

For Employers:

  • Having a flexible approach helps you acquire and keep top talent. According to studies, close to 70% of employees say it’s very important to have flexibility in their work schedules, whether it’s working from home, taking personal days, or teleconferencing.
  • Being willing to work with employees on an individual basis promotes trust and respect, which leads to less absenteeism and turnover.
  • Flexibility in business promotes higher morale amongst all employees. Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that treats you like a human being?
  • Higher morale leads to higher employee engagement, where employees are willing to stay longer, both daily and on a long-term basis.

For Employees:

  • Being flexible in your work ethic is a great way to be noticed. Managers and supervisors are always looking for the person who will volunteer to help out. (It’s not necessary to volunteer all the time. Occasionally, will do.) Managers and supervisors take note of the people who never volunteer.
  • Being flexible means you are ready to take on more responsibility, which can lead to consideration for job promotions.
  • Make sure your managers and supervisors know about the hidden talents that are not part of your current job description. Do you know a lot about social media, technology, photography or cooking? You never know when or where these hidden talents may be called upon.
  • Being flexible allows you to see other areas of the company you may not normally get to experience. It can broaden your expertise.
  • Being flexible allows you to achieve work-life balance. While you may have to work during the evening on some days, that allows you to have time off during the day when it matters more.
  • Once you prove you are able to get the job done, you create more latitude that can lead to even more flexibility.

Being flexible is especially important when working globally. You will be dealing with different languages, different time zones and different customs. Be willing to read up on the differences, and learn a few key words in the native language. Customers are impressed when they know you have taken the time to communicate in their preferred language.

The shifting dynamic of the workplace experience requires the need to adapt and change quickly. It helps keep key talent, increases employee engagement and helps find solutions to problems that were difficult to resolve in the past. Being flexible on the part of the employer, as well as employee will create a win-win situation for everyone.

Photo by Tobias Jelskov on Unsplash

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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