As we all consider what work will look like after the covid-19 pandemic, we mustn’t lose sight of the essential component: flexibility. This is particularly important for any company bringing employees back to the office. However, all companies should consider how they might best support their workforce. Building flexibility and adaptability into work schedules means instilling it into the culture. And, when done correctly, it allows us to push beyond the traditional definition of work/life balance and achieve a more nuanced and meaningful integration.
Flexibility gives us space to take care of ourselves.
I believe in the power of in-person collaboration. No creative use of a video hangout will ever replace the feeling of connectedness you get from spending time together in person. However, a break from that togetherness can also be beneficial. Over time, being in the office can drain me. I find that occasionally working from home allows me to recharge and refocus.
Space also gives us the freedom to more privately take care of ourselves for a therapy session, a doctor’s appointment, etc. Because Atomic Object accommodates some variability in schedules, we are all empowered to manage our time in a way that supports our health while still reliably getting our work done.
Flexibility gives us time to care for others.
Life sometimes feels like an impossible equation to solve. The variables are constantly changing, and yet the final answer stays the same. We still only have 24 hours in a day. If we’re also expected to work at very specific times with no variation, it’s quite difficult to take care of much else. However, at Atomic, we’re able to flex our schedules to react to the unpredictability of life. That means we can carve out time for others without having to disregard work.
Sometimes this looks as simple as an early start to the day so you can catch a show or a flight. Other times it might be a bit more complicated, as it was for me earlier this year. My son developed severe anxiety following a massive storm. He couldn’t leave the house, and he withdrew into himself.
In a different time or place, I may have been forced to put my career on hold. Fortunately, my incredible team at Atomic gave me the flexibility to care for my son. The freedom in my schedule allowed me to support him and still get my job done.
Flexibility also gives us the capacity to pursue our goals.
Besides time and space, flexibility at work also means creating a culture that is supportive and open to change. We can develop our skills, grow into new roles, and pursue new interests in this environment. We don’t need to put someone in a box and forever hold them to the position they were initially hired for. Instead, we can nurture their interests, develop their talent, and encourage their ongoing growth and development. There’s a lot to gain when an organization implements and practices this growth mindset.
Implementing this level of flexibility may feel like a lot of change for some organizations. However, speaking from a company that has led with empathy and has provided flexibility to all Atoms for a long time, it is worth the effort to make it happen. Employees are looking for companies that trust them. They’re also willing to put in work to keep communication open, be there for their teammates, and reliably deliver high-quality work. The last two years have been a lot for all of us. I hope more and more organizations lead the path forward like Atomic. The company allows us to be ourselves in this messy life and lets us prove just how much we can do when given the opportunity.