In the current market conditions, all companies are competing to hire talented professionals. To attract these professionals, companies are exhausting their creativity to offer more or better perks than others. Over the past two decades, I have witnessed so many fantastic, and a few not-so-good, benefits or perks to attract the professionals they need. Anything and everything from unique retirement plans, medical benefits, casual Friday, cool biz, robust bonus structures, dynamic commission and incentive schemes, to free lunches, fully stocked food and drink bars within a minute from your desk and of course the flexible working schedule. With companies offering more attractive working conditions, perks and work styles, the way we work continues to change at a high pace. Especially as technology continues to enable us to “work” from “anywhere,” the pace of work-style change will continue to increase.
This is great news for candidates. However, I do see many professionals struggle in one particular area and that is in a flexible working schedule. First I have to say that all of my findings are purely anecdotal and of course, there are always exceptions. However, I have found in more cases than not, there are specific careers and characteristics of specific jobs that make some professionals struggle.
So, as a candidate, what should you consider when accepting a position that gives you a flexible working schedule and or work from home options. Please consider the following circumstances to ensure you not only perform well, but are also satisfied with the role.
First. Be honest with yourself. Yes, the ability to arrive to work mid-morning or working from home a few days a week in your pajamas sounds great, right! However, be honest with yourself. Are you the type of person that has poor time management skills or are easily distracted? If yes, you will struggle, become less productive and eventually this leads to disappointing results and then a disappointed employer. It takes unique talent to be able to consistently and constantly master your work when no one is around. As a result, even if you have the option of these working styles, if you know you cannot manage the distractions or cannot focus, be in the office early and every day!
Second. Job Deliverables. Does your job require you to maintain or monitor activities and or “guide” activities to positive outcomes? These positions are ideal for flexible working times or work from home options. However, for those jobs that require more dynamic innovation, daily interaction with colleagues, require the support of others, collaboration with third parties and or require you to produce some type of tangible results, I have found that those taking flexible work options in these roles tend to be less productive. In this case, I highly recommend to spend the full work day in the office close to the resources and colleagues you need for both inspiration and task based collaboration.
Finally, visibility. Of course simply showing up is not enough. However, professionals that are seen in times when colleagues need your support or guidance most, when a project or other task is in a challenging stage, or the team is not producing well, “being there” available to support others dramatically helps them emotionally. This is positive for you and your team or department. If you or your team is struggling to deliver some type of result, be in the office supporting others, asking for support or by silently demonstrating your dedication to being there for others. Even though you could come in later or work from home, being there gives all more strength to overcome challenges. This is “silent” leadership and will be recognized by talented superiors.
Whatever your profession, be aware of the pros and cons to the many flexible work styles offered by companies and most importantly, how you can best benefit and excel in each specific role and work environment!