No one can deny how the pandemic era has changed the future of business – for established companies and startups alike.
Pew Research found that 71% of workers were working remotely during the peak of the COVID-19 era in October 2020. However, this didn’t assure an easy transition. If anything, businesses struggled to strike a balance between mitigating losses, risks and strain throughout the swap – and continue to do so today as employees demand that the level of pandemic-era flexibility remain.
Despite Forbes predicting that at least 25% of all work will be remote by the end of 2022, many businesses have adopted an in-office or hybrid system, prompting employment shifts such as “quiet quitting” and the Great Resignation. Movements like these and the atmosphere around the business world in 2022 have prompted the question: Where does flexibility fit into business? Specifically, where does it fit into businesses in their leaner seasons or startup phases?
Below, we’re digging into what business flexibility can look like, and how you can promote flexibility at every point in your business’s development.
What does flexibility in business look like?
Flexibility in business looks different for every brand. Ultimately, flexibility should promote autonomy and freedom to successfully grow, scale and retain revenue and human capital. However, it can be difficult to translate what that looks like in a “real-life” application.
Some top applied examples of business flexibility include:
- Defining and refining your work structure: Whether you’re adopting a hybrid, remote or in-person element to your office experience, allowing adequate flexibility for your employees to succeed is key to business success – especially after the recent standard set by the pandemic.
- Employee management: Soft elements can be the dealbreakers in your business. Managing people, while considered a soft skill, directly correlates to your hiring costs and retention rates. Flexibility here would look like allowance for employee life events, active emotional and logistical support and taking the initiative to build and refine the office culture to promote flexibility and autonomy.
- Dynamic deliverable deadlines: While deadlines are important, extenuating circumstances can shorten or extend your timeline. Allowing for this and building fallback strategies into your planning process can help you to minimize the risk of deliverable compromisation and errors.
How can I promote flexibility in my business structure?
There are two main reasons why business owners choose to build flexibility into their business’s structure: To promote quality of culture and to boost employee retention rates. While the application of flexibility looks different for every business, actively looking for ways to engage and collaborate with your employees is a great place to start.
After doing so, be sure to capture their insights and develop processes and pathways to act on them. You’ll never truly be done capturing a completely flexible and agile framework, but you can continue to iterate and refine this focus with your team.