Workplace Flexibility On the Rise

By Lori Jazvac.

In my earlier career, a manager suggested that I start working from home to perform collection calls in the evening. At the time, I declined. I had grown up with the notion that a traditional “9-5” role constituted working only outside of the home, an assumption likely formed because my parents worked shifts in a factory for over three decades and retired without ever considering flexible work options.

During the recession, I returned to school.  My passion for supporting job seekers was on the horizon. During this time, I challenged my preconceived notions and embraced a new home-based career. By August 2013, working remotely as a career professional had become a reality, and Creative Horizons Communications was launched.

Since then, I have been enjoying greater flexibility – setting my own hours and efficiently catering to clients in diverse locations from home base. I run and manage my own business using a creative vision and mission aligned with my values.

Labour markets change in the blink of an eye, making us shift our career expectations and mindsets. Flexible workplace options have become a way of life for many.

Letting Go of Preconceived Notions

Today, many career practitioners work from home offices and cater to clients remotely, even abroad. The preconceived notions that we learned about “work” and “workplace” are slipping away. Professionals from all walks of life take advantage of workplace flexibility to enhance their personal and family time. Whether you have a young family, want to avoid the daily commute, or need to carve in time for exercise, workplace flexibility provides you with a solution.

For me, work is no longer about “where I work.” It’s a purposeful calling that aims to further job seekers’ career goals and position them for empowering career transitions, which I can do virtually via Skype, phone, email, online, and other mediums – from anywhere at all.

Workplace Flexibility: Gaining Traction 

A large number of North American companies are already offering work flexibility options to employees. Attractive flexible work options are often cost-effective for employers as it enhances their ability to recruit and retain highly qualified candidates. More millennials are embracing workplace flexibility due to technologies advancing at a rapid pace along with the freedom of not being micromanaged.

In a recent Hamilton Spectator article, the 2016 Bright Horizon Modern Family Index survey reported a concern by both genders with young families about career status and progression. Yet, the majority of parents also reported that they would forego salary for workplace flexibility.

What Workplace Flexibility Means for Career Practitioners & Clients

Here are some things to consider:

  • From flextime to compressed work weeks, our clients may have more choice in choosing fulfilling roles with added perks that balance their lifestyle needs.
  • Part-time and contract roles are convenient for job seekers returning to the workforce or those who want to diversify their experience and skill sets.
  • We need to help our clients evaluate their values and career goals while preparing them to consider flexible work options.
  • Clients will need to keep current with changing technologies and develop marketable skills to enhance and maintain their unique brand.
  • The use of weekly reports, online shared calendars, instant messaging tools, group forums, and chat rooms will be relied upon more than ever as people transition to working remotely.

Like many of you, I am proud that I graduated to embracing a flexible work option as an entrepreneur for the past three and a half years. While I am still trying to consistently honour what seems to be a delicate work-life balance, I use regular to-do checklists and logs to stay organized, take time for yoga, and have added welcoming decor to personalize my office. These strategies have added more meaning to my work life.

Although workplace flexibility comes with its own perks, it requires a forward-thinking perspective and strong commitment to succeed. Without the support of Career Professionals of Canada, my transition to entrepreneurialism may not have been possible. Take this free course, if you are interested in embracing workplace flexibility and Starting a Career Practice.

Photo: CPC Member, Lori Jazvac.

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