Being flexible in the workplace isn't about being able to contort yourself into the office cupboard or being winning the limbo at the office Christmas party. Instead, flexibility is about being able to adapt and think quickly on your feet.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility in the workplace is about adapting successfully to changing situations and environments. No workplace environment ever stays the same, so you will need to be able to change your job role and responsibilities at short notice. Being able to multi-task and perform several tasks at once is also vital in the workplace.
Flexibility in the workplace can involve:
- Reacting quickly to changing circumstances and finding new solutions
- Persisting when unforeseen issues come up
- Dealing with changing priorities and deadlines
Why do employers want flexible employees?
Employers need flexible workers as they need staff who can adapt to new work situations and changing circumstances. Most businesses will face periods of difficulties and will need a workforce who can perform under pressure in roles that might not be the best fit for their skills.
Flexible employees are also useful for when a company is short-staffed or needs to restructure - the more skills and areas in which you can work or provide cover, the more likely an employer is to hire you.
How can you show you have them?
It's not enough to simply say in an interview or CV that you are adaptable. Anyone can do that. It's vital to show examples. Some good ways of demonstrating your flexibility include:
- Working in a part-time job while studying
- Living in a foreign country
- Fundraising for a charity event
- Dealing with a short deadline at school/college/university
How is it used in the world of work?
Flexibility at work is all about adapting yourself to a changing environment. You need to show a willingness to learn new techniques and take on new roles through your own initiative.
Flexibility is also about covering for other members of staff when they are ill or a project is struggling or failing, occasionally putting in extra hours to get things done and being resourceful and positive even when things aren't working well.