How to progress in a flexible culture
Flexibility and self-motivation is a growing part of the workplace, and it will only get bigger. Here’s how you can manage your own time effectively
Flexible working and self-motivation is a part of modern work. It offers a lot of benefits for employees, such as the ability to manage their own time and work in environments that best suit them.
But for inexperienced employees, time management and personal development can be a challenge. CMI’s Management 4.0 report found that technology-driven flexible working is creating an ‘always-on’ culture, or digital presenteeism, making it difficult for workers switch off during their leisure hours.
In the section ‘Patterns of work’, the Management 4.0 report outlines the future of how we will work:
- Virtual meetings are becoming the norm
- People are choosing their own working patterns
- Portfolio careers are becoming more prevalent
- We’ll be working outside of traditional 9-to-5 hours
So how can you manage your own time effectively, ensuring that you deliver good work without losing your work/life balance? And how can you ensure you develop and progress?
1. Find a mentor
With a mentor or a coach, you can put together a plan for your career, focus on the things you need to develop and learn, and how to work effectively. “By utilising the mentors and coaches available to them, as well as their developing networks, young people can identify what works for them and what is realistic in terms of other constraints on their time,” says Pam Dyson FCCA CPFA FMAAT CMgr FCMI, a management consultant and mentor.
2. Set strong goals
Think clearly about your goals – both work and personal – and make a clear plan about how you will achieve them. Think about counterproductive activities that will hinder those goals.
“Create a project plan for life updated and evolved as an important and regular routine,” says Dyson. “Set personal parameters about how you wish to operate and be public about that. For example, I will not be available for meetings early in the morning/every Tuesday/in an office etc.”
3. Communicate those goals
“Be clear about what development they want and need and by being demanding about how, when and where to get that learning,” says Dyson. “Constant self-reflection is critical to future success.”
4. Expect a lot from your career
“Leaders have a responsibility to engage the whole workforce, across all generations, using innovative and effective possibilities to benefit everyone involved. Each person can and should be enabled to learn from the other. Otherwise there is alienation and creative opportunities are missed.”
Part of working well in a flexible environment is adapting to sudden changes in your workload – read our article, How to plan for the unpredictable when managing projects, for advice on the best ways to react to a project’s roadblocks.
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