Why it pays to be a flexible business owner

Why it pays to be a flexible business owner

Posted: Wed 19th Apr 2017

Flexible working is pretty much essential for most entrepreneurs. It goes with the territory that you need to be available most, if not all of the time, to deal with issues and customers wherever you are. Encouraging flexible working among your employees can also be a boon for your business too.

Any work day is filled with distractions, from chats around the coffee machine to trips out for lunch and a million other human interactions. Working from home tends to have less distractions for a dedicated worker though, and offers the chance of a less cluttered working environment

A survey by Leadership IQ found that successful homeworkers on average tend to be more ambitious and more conscientious about deadlines than their office-based counterparts.

Employees are happier

Cutting out the daily commute and giving yourself some control over where and when you work seems like a no-brainer for a happier working life and there's research to back it up. A 2016 study of a Fortune 500 company found that employees who took part in a more flexible work schedule reported higher satisfaction in their jobs and were less stressed than workers who weren't selected.

Millennials expect flexibility

Older hands may remember the days of being chained to a desk in a nine to five, but younger people coming into the job market often expect to have some flexibility in their hours and locations and that can be a factor when they're choosing which jobs to go for.

The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey found that the allure of flexible working options is an important factor in job choice. When there's relatively high employment and you want to attract the best, offering the possibility of flexible working can help.

If you like the idea of flexible working, but find it a bit difficult to make it work for you, here are some tips to help:

1. Use technology

Keeping in touch with your team by phone and email is all very well, but you can use technology to make the process even more effective. Business apps can allow you to collaborate with colleagues online and back up your work, help with video conferencing and deliver hassle-free conference calls, so it's easier than ever to keep in touch.

2. Get connected

The trick to flexible working is being available when you need to be - even if you set limits on what those timings are. Reliable phone lines are essential but so is a robust, secure wifi connection. And if you feel the need to use public wifi, make sure your phone or tablet is protected with a cyber security app or service.

3. Do a time audit

Make a list of what you're spending your time on and take stock of what you're actually doing; not just what you think you should be doing. Are you really spending enough time on the things you need to? Or are you spending too much time on things that aren't so necessary? Make a list of five things that you consider time well spent and use them as a basis to focus on the things you should.

4. Time yourself

And if you're about to get into something that may steal your time, like social media or internet research, time yourself for a set period so you don't get distracted and overrun.

5. Remove distractions

Sometimes you just need to knuckle down and get on with the job in hand. So don't be afraid to disconnect from time to time, switch of your phone or your email, disconnect your browser and shun social media. You might choose to make this a regular feature of your day or week and include it in your regular schedule.

Get more business tips and inspiration on the O2 Business blog.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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