If you’ve done it — and let’s face it, most of us have— you can relate to the feeling of having a boss eyeing you from their perch as you walk in at 8:10; you can just feel them making a mental note of your ‘tardiness,’ even though you worked after the kids went to bed last night and have met all your deadlines with no problem.
Autonomy is crucial, especially if you’re a parent.
Why? Because flexibility and freedom create space for us to become better business owners, better parents, while allowing us to take care of ourselves at the same time. It affords us the ability to create our own paths and our own schedules, or to be able to make changes at the last minute. After all, life happens, especially when you have kids.
As Pepperlaner Christine McShane told us, “The world of working 9 to 5 is gone. Our lives have sped up so much that we are paying for grocery delivery, lawn care, and house cleaning simply because we don't have enough time. My family spends about 20 hours a week on our kids' activities! Work flexibility allows families a way to juggle modern responsibilities and pastimes.”
We asked more of our Pepperlane members to talk about why flexibility at work is so important to them.
Poolside office, anyone?
Keep Life in Balance
“Happy employee/Happy Mom/Less Resentment/More Productivity.” Christina Granahan knows that when life is in balance, every part of it works better. “What kept me from going back to a traditional job is that my most valued time as a mother was being in the classroom when they were little, and now that they’re older, being on the field watching them do their thing. Flexibility allows me to do the work I am compensated to do AND get fulfillment in these other ways.”
Pepperlaner Christina Granahan is a Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach.
Flexibility gives Vie Davis the opportunity to live her values. “I am raising my son on my own, and I want to be able to put him first always.” She also puts value into maintaining friendships and being available in her community.
Of course, Vie also wants “to be able to take advantage of fun opportunities that come up and be able to arrange my day when needed. Like a hiking outing, a conference, etc.”
Robyn Parets also told us that keeping things fluid can make space for those most important events in life. “Without flexibility and the ability to take an afternoon off for a child's school event—or in my case, take my work with me to Toronto several times a year to see my son perform with the National Ballet of Canada— I would miss out on monumental events.”
That’s right, you certainly shouldn’t miss out on key moments in your family’s life just to punch a clock.
Pepperlaner Robyn Parets with her sons. Parets is the founder and CEO of Pretzel Kids yoga.
Honor Our Unique Strengths and Abilities
Having flexibility at work means creating an approach to work that honors how and when you work.
Amy Falk told us, “We all have different brain wiring. Sometimes we just can’t do certain types of tasks and need to arrange our work in ways that suit our work style and energy levels throughout the day. Some of us suck in the morning but are very productive in the late afternoon or evening. Learning discipline and strategies to work with whatever we have, combined with the ability to structure our days and tasks in ways that allow for optimal work output (on some days, ANY work output) is crucial.”
Pepperlaner Amy Falk is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in working with individuals with ADHD/ADD.
Karen Fieldstad agrees, “The individual knows best,” she says. “What hours are more productive for different tasks, how to be more effective with time management, and how to prioritize for max focus opportunities.”
Pepperlaner Karen Fieldstad is an artist and an engineer.
Improved Mental Health and Decreased Stress? Just Embrace Your Inner Gumby
As a military wife, LaKenya Kopf has no choice but to be ready for whatever surprise comes next.
Pepperlaner LaKenya Kopf is a Virtual Technical Assistant and a Pro at Infusionsoft and Ontraport.
“In the Marine Corps, the spouses are given the phrase Semper Gumby — 'always flexible.' Life happens, sometimes at the drop of a hat. Trying to control how things go is like trying to make a toddler stay still for 20 minutes; it's just not going to happen. By being flexible, you allow yourself to plan for the unexpected and indirectly alleviate potential stress when things go awry, which they will, because the world around you can't see your playbook, so it will make up its own rules.
We can also stretch our thinking to become more limber over time. “I call myself a ‘recovering control freak,’ meaning I have to work every day in staying flexible with what life brings, “ says Robyn Parets. “Flexibility means letting go of control. Control is an illusion that keeps us stuck in our ways. When we’re not flexible, it often leads to anger and frustration.”
Confucius said, “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” In other words, we’re all just Gumby trying to stay firmly planted.
Flexibility Opens Up New Opportunities for Growth
No two days look the same for LuSundra Everett. “Flexibility matters, because our lives are fluid. We are required to move from mom to business owner back to mom in a matter of minutes. Our world moves at such a rapid pace and has so many moving parts. Flexibility allows us to adjust to the rapidly changing needs of our clients, and families, and to be present in each role of our lives without feeling like we're neglecting anyone or anything.”
Pepperlaner LuSundra Everett is a tax professional specializing in home business.
“Flexibility assists with adaptation,” says Joanne O'Neil. “We must adapt to find our way, and to learn new things, create new neural pathways and to open our hearts to more expansive thinking. Flexibility is essential for optimum survival!”
Dang, that’s deep!
Flexibility is Good For Business
Business owners aren’t the only ones who need a bit of flexibility. Your clients do, too. You can create strong boundaries within your policies that work for everyone.
Renee Bordner knows that when it comes to parenting — to put it mildly — things come up.
Pepperlaner Renee Bordner is a music teacher who runs Experiences Music Studio.
“Flexibility is the entire premise of my business! Parents only pay for the lessons their children take and we have a 24-hour cancellation policy. I have paid for many activities over the years that my kids did not take due to illnesses and vacations, and I simply do not want to do the same to our families. Our Instructors also appreciate the flexibility because they cannot control when they have a call back audition, inclement weather or when their own children are ill, etc. We have families choose us over our competitors due to our flexibility!”
Find Your Flex
Longing for some autonomy in your work and life? Not sure where to start with your dream of starting your own business? Pepperlane is here for you every step of the way.
Join our email list to learn how you can move toward a more flexible life using our tools and taking it one small step at a time.