The modern workplace looks so much different than it did 30 or 40 years ago. Gone are the days of the 9-5 grind, the dark-wood-paneled conference room, and the big corner office with the window. In fact, today’s workplace may not even be a place at all. More and more companies are supporting virtual workforces, finding that those who work from home are happier and more productive.
While the workplace has evolved into a more flexible atmosphere, the modern worker must do the same. The workplace may be moving away from a 9-5 schedule, but the worker has to be willing to do what it takes to get his or her projects done, even if it means periodically working outside the traditional hours. Like any successful relationship, it’s a give-and-take.
Flexibility as an employee is essential to your success. Being able to take on various responsibilities as needed will set you apart from the “That’s not my job,” type.
It would be nice if territories and channels never changed; if we always knew who we’d be calling on so we could build those relationships over time. But since that’s never the case, it’s important to be flexible with your territory assignments. Whether it’s covering a new state while a wholesaling position can be filled or it’s taking on new channels within your existing boundaries, it’s imperative that you are willing to say, “Yes!” when taking on a new batch of potential leads.
Even the most well-meaning clients have to make last-minute cancellations sometimes. And there are times when your entire week can fall apart right before your very eyes. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game. Rest assured, you aren’t alone.
Be prepared for these kinds of days (or weeks) by having a backup plan. Return to your office and start making calls to see if you can get in a quick phone meeting or two. Or work on those illustrations you’ve been meaning to get to. Or send out the thank you notes that you’ve been meaning to send. Just because your schedule fell apart doesn’t mean that your entire day has to.
Admit Your Mistakes
This one really applies to any workplace position. The ability to say, “Wow. That was a terrible idea on my part and I really messed it up,” has always proven to be more effective than, “I didn’t do it!” Being able to own your mistakes shows tremendous work ethic. Helping to rectify the problem is the ultimate in flexibility. Don’t just be a part of the solution…be the solution.
Cover Co-Workers’ Projects While They Are Out
When a co-worker is out on leave – whether for vacation, health issues, or personal reasons – offering to help pick up his or her work is a great way to be flexible in the workplace. Be sure to know your limitations, though…no one expects you to pick up an entire second position. Be true to your own book of business, but offer to take on a portion of another, if necessary. Offer to make service calls, prepare reports or meet with clients.
Be flexible. Stick to your guns, know your schedule and plan your work…but when those inevitable bumps in the road crop up, be ready to adapt and take your work to a new level.
The ESA Advantage
Executive Scheduling Associates prides itself on our ability to be flexible for our clients. Whether we are helping to re-route you through a construction zone or assisting in refining the new prospects you’ve been assigned, we are ready to serve you. While we specialize in scheduling, we can also make your follow-up and confirmation calls, book your travel, prepare your expense reports, plan your events, send your correspondence and refine your data. Just ask…the answer is almost always, “Yes…we can do that.”
Tell us your best practices for being flexible in the comments below.