Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
I’m sure that some of you read the title to today’s article and said, “Of course it does!” But the reality is that being flexible all the time can be tiring. If you look up the definition of flexibility, it’s “the ability to be easily modified” and the “willingness to change or compromise”. So, flexibility is about 1) being open to change and 2) having the ability to do it.
As we think about some of the challenges in the workplace right now – recruiting, wellbeing, scheduling flexibility, equity, and turnover – it becomes obvious that organizations need to think about flexibility. And maybe they are, which is great because they’re addressing part number one of flexibility equation – being open to change. The question becomes what about part number two – having the ability to do it.
Sometimes the best way to feel like you can do something is to hear from others who have made the same or similar journey. SAP SuccessFactors recently launched a series called “Forward” to talk about how to deliver a better human experience at work.
Forward is being hosted by Baratunde Thurston and Adam Grant. Thurston is the author of the New York Times bestseller “How To Be Black”. And if you haven’t seen his TED Talk “How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time”, it’s worth a watch. Grant is an organizational psychologist and Wharton’s top-rated professor for seven straight years. He’s the host of a popular podcast called WorkLife.
During the Forward series Grant and Thurston talk with human resources and business leaders about the challenges and solutions facing organizations today. I recently listened to a session with Chandra Sanders from The Mom Project talking about the importance of upskilling and supporting working moms. We’ve all seen the articles about how working moms, especially working mothers of color, have been penalized during the pandemic.
And in an interview with Sandy McIntosh from TELLUS, she discusses how the organization is addressing workplace wellbeing. Studies have shown that the pandemic has taken a toll on employee mental health and there’s an expectation that companies should be doing more to support an employee’s wellbeing.
These are just a couple of examples of the conversations happening in the Forward series. I would recommend checking out the others.
The reason I’m sharing this resource with you is because I found hearing real stories from real people about the challenges that we’re all facing to be very relatable. And if I can pull a few nuggets of creative inspiration to help an organization overcome a challenge, then it’s all worth it.
Organizations need to be flexible right now. Being flexible isn’t always easy. Even when we want to be flexible. Sometimes the challenge is finding an idea or case study or story from someone else that will let us know that “we can do it”. That can be exactly the boost we need to create flexibility in our workplace.
Image capture by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood District of Miami, FL19