The good news on flexibility at work is it is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. If you feel flexibility is something you would like to focus on there are a number of steps you can take:
1. Know your core values.
Core values are the fundamental beliefs or ideals that inform how you conduct your life. They are elements that do not shift and can keep you grounded during periods of change in the workplace. Your core values can be used as anchor points when you receive requests that require flexibility.
2. Take an open-minded approach.
Being open minded at work involves looking at any situation from a variety of perspectives. We can do this to a certain extent ourselves but the most successful approach includes listening to the opinions of others. Someone who is truly open minded will take on the ideas of others and consider that you may be wrong or need to change your perspective.
3. Develop your skills.
The more skills you have the less threatening changes to your role or within your industry are likely to feel. Improve your flexibility by staying up to date with industry trends and innovations.
4. Train your brain to be more optimistic.
You may believe that optimism is a trait we have or we don’t. To a certain degree science backs this up, there are brain markers that distinguish optimistic and pessimistic thinkers. That said, science also shows there are things you can do to become more optimistic if you struggle with negative thoughts:
- When something good happens, dwell on it and give yourself credit for making it happen
- Focus on your strengths and the other positive events they could lead to
- Minimize negative events while still owning mistakes if they happen
Training your brain in this way can help with flexibility at work as you view change more positively.
5. Stay calm.
When a situation changes suddenly it can be stressful and you may begin to feel anxious. Teaching yourself methods of staying calm in difficult situations can help when it comes to facing change at work. Some easy tools for staying calm include:
- Taking a few minutes to focus on your breath
- Going for a walk
- Taking a few minutes to focus on what you can see, hear and touch around you
6. Forward thinking
Although you may not be able to predict exactly when you might require flexibility at work. Do your best to plan to some degree anticipating needs where you can. The upskilling mentioned earlier may help with this as does staying in contact with senior management about upcoming projects and the overarching company strategy.
7. Have a strong support network
Building a reliable and supportive team is key to flexibility at work. Strengthen relationships with colleagues so you can all work together to get through the challenge of changes to your roles or how your work gets done.