A couple of posts back I recommended that Flexible Working is for everyone. Now I’m saying that Flexible Working isn’t for all. NO I’m not confused 🙂 The reality is that flexible working options are not suitable for just anyone, any job or any organization.
Personal characteristics of an individual matters a great deal when it comes to successfully executing a flexible working arrangement. If you are not the most organized person around, then you should probably think twice before venturing into flexible working. Flexibility gives you power, so you have the responsibility to make it work or not!!!
You need to excel in time management, communication and collaboration to excel in flexible working. Specially arrangements such as teleworking will only work based on your own commitment and attitude. If you are someone who gets distracted by television, phone, internet and/or house work, then definitely teleworking is not for you. To make teleworking work, you need to setup schedules and stick to it at all costs. Similarly your ability to manage time between professional and personal activities with a give or take on both ends is crucial when engaged in a flexible working arrangement. Individuals succeeding in flexible working thrive on excellent communication and collaboration skills, they are always connects and effectively makes use of various tools and techniques. After all, this is what makes working anytime, from anywhere possible. So if you are lacking on any of these areas, then I suggest that it is not wise to engage in flexible working as it’s definitely not going to make it work for you.
The nature of work you do also determines your suitability for flexible working. While some jobs thrive with flexibility, some just don’t. If your job requires a lot of direct interactions, meeting people, requires specialists equipment or environments, requires time sensitivity, then some or most flexible working arrangements will not be possible or practical. On the other hand if you mostly work on your own, works well with virtual tools/environments or work can be done offline, then definitely flexible working is for you and you can make it work.
Flexible working arrangements require a change in mindset when it comes to organization cultures. These work schedules focus on delivering results rather than emphasizing on face time. Open communication, constant collaboration, accountability, productivity, trust and respect would be key elements of the organization culture that embraces work flexibility. Organizations that uses technology as an enabler will thrive with flexible working practices. On the other hand traditional, old-school type organizations where culture is driven by status quo, face time, rigid work processes and rigorous policies will not be able to adopt flexible work arrangements in a successful manner.
So before deciding to pursue with flexible working options, please review closely these factors – Personal Characteristics, Nature of Work and Organization Culture – to determine its true suitability. After all this would make the difference between whether you could actually Make it Work or Not.