Five Reasons Why Flex Isn’t Weird at All
Most people have had some experience of working with unwavering advocates for the status quo, those whose infinite roundabout of reasoning amounts to “this is the right way to do things because this is how we do it.” And while change for the sake of change is rarely a good idea, there is a happy medium: being flexible. Of course, there are plenty of things in this world for which rigidity is the optimum state of being: tree trunks, mason jars, uncooked pasta (unless you buy the fresh stuff, fancypants), etc. Your business, however, isn’t one of them.
Here’s why you have to flex.
Customers want it
One of the best ways to future-proof your business is to stay ahead of what customers want instead of playing catch up. From surveys and focus groups to advisory panels and outreach, savvy businesses build customer feedback into their day-to-day processes and then innovate accordingly, enabling them to respond readily to shifting demands. All customers — whether B2B or B2C — want to work with companies that listen, so being flexible can go a long way toward fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.
It’s better for your employees
It can pay dividends to be flexible when it comes to your employees and the way they work. Paying salaries is, by a large margin, the biggest expense for most companies, which alone is a compelling reason to get your company culture right. There is nothing that makes an employee feel more like a cog in a machine than treating them like, well, a cog in a machine. Understand that you have a team of individuals, not all of whom will thrive in a typical office environment. Having a variety of spaces in your office to promote concentration, collaboration, and socialization, respectively, makes for a better working environment all around.
You might get bigger (or smaller)
Growth is paramount for businesses to stay competitive, proactive, and solvent. For startups, especially, this growth can be explosive, which usually means scaling headcount to do all the work that needs to be done. A rapidly growing team can present challenges; for example, finding an office that works for you, both now and in the future. Growth is unpredictable, too, whereas commercial real estate leases typically aren’t. You can expect a five- to 10-year commitment, onerous terms, and financial distress if you need to break the lease (subleases, for example, usually go for about 10% to 15% less than than what the original tenant pays). This is one of the main reasons that flexible office space is booming — why take on the risk, hassle, and upfront investment of a traditional lease if you simply don’t have to anymore?
It’s the demographics, dummy
Not another article referencing millennials! Sorry — in 2019, it’s unavoidable. From redefining the very idea of customer service to insisting on corporate social responsibility, Millennials are increasingly in the driving seat when it comes to how business is done. Companies that don’t flex to embrace their customer base for what it is, rather then what they’d like it to be, are going to be on the wrong side of this avocado-toast slice of history.
The computers said so
Gone are the days where we can plan a year ahead of time, and good riddance. In this day and age, short-term, data-driven activity is just as important. Yes, data is the new black (or something), and we’ve never had more of it at our disposal, which sounds daunting but really it means that we can test, measure, and pivot ad infinitum based on what we know about our customers, competitors, and results. The key is making the data work for you, and keeping your planning flexible enough to be responsive.
The bottom line for your bottom line is that rigid things are wont to break. Being flexible when it comes to business means that your company can respond to external changes as and when they happen, and reap the inevitable opportunities.