By Tova Jaffee
Many times when people talk about flexibility in the workplace it is thought of as being open to changes having to do with scheduling, taking on new tasks, or being a team player. While this is true, it is much more than that. It’s a mindset – for everyone.
The truth is that flexibility in the workplace can be a two-way street. According to a 2015 workplacetrends.com, employers gained 71 percent increase in productivity and a 65 percent increase in talent retention, meaning the employees tended to work harder and stay with the company longer.
For employees, being flexible can bring huge returns. Consider the following:
- Self -empowerment: Recognize that your career growth starts and ends with you. You control your career destiny.
- Adaptability leads to additional skills which lead to career advancement. With everyone being so short-staffed these days, the more you know, the more you can help your employer.
- Positive perception of self and others emboldens and promotes you. Everyone loves a team player. Being flexible sends the right message to your boss that you are in this for the long-haul.
- Diversification: an appreciation that assumptions about age, and gender, can be stereotypical and often mistaken. Viewing others with an objective eye are tools for self-growth.
When you take charge to learn new skills or take on new responsibilities within your skill set- and out of your comfort zone- it opens up the window to not only how you are viewed by your superiors and co-workers but also how you perceive yourself. It can give you a renewed self -confidence once you get over the initial fear of jumping off the career balance beam.
Adaptability will bring you where flexibility departs. Can you adapt your skills to a new career? Identify your transferable skills in order to broaden your opportunities. Perhaps you were a teacher seeking to change careers. You have public speaking skills and may do well working for a non-profit you are passionate about marketing your agency’s programs and services.
Your job title does not have to limit or define you as there may be several titles that illustrate your experience, skills, and qualifications. If not for an open mind you might have been caught in a rigid job search for a former job title. An example would be a Patient Services Coordinator could also be a Case Manager Specialist. Be fluid in your search while true to what you can offer an employer.
The big payoff:
As we broaden our own self- image through a flexibility lens we in turn stretch and pull our professional skills muscles. We reinvent ourselves. Sometimes this is painful and even scary. You may be a clean slate or become one out of necessity. The result can be an exciting new creation of your core individuality that is enhanced by a bigger picture view, an objectivity and appreciation for diversity, and expanded skills that might not have otherwise have been explored.
By Tova Jaffee, Career Coach & DORS Team Supervisor, JCS Career Center
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.