4 tips to create flexibility in your trade business

In an increasingly technological world, it’s becoming more and more important for trade businesses to become aware of their rigidity and flexibility in every area,  including staffing. Tradies must be willing to change, where necessary.

Take the simple rubber band as an example. When the band is tight (normally when it’s holding something in place) even the slightest pull of the band will make it ‘snap’ against the force of being moved. On the other hand, when it’s loose (aka not in use) you can manipulate it.

The rubber band can snap due to rigidity and can be manipulated due to its flexibility. Finding the balance between the two will have benefits for yourself as an employer, and your employees alike.

Here’s our top 4 tips to create flexibility in your trade business:

1. Being flexible is not just a policy

Being a flexible trade business doesn’t mean just having policies on the books that claim a “flexible work environment.”

Think of flexibility as a way of doing business that extends trust to team members and works in harmony with your business goals. Flexibility, by this definition, creates loyal and productive employees because it’s part of the culture, not just the employee handbook.

Entrust employees with important tasks that’ll allow them to step up to the plate and perform, increasing their confidence. Your flexibility = increased employee confidence!

2. Telecommuting options are mandatory for true flexibility

In today’s world, it’s impossible to run a business without offering telecommuting options. It’s proven to be highly productive and helps employees, too.

A flexible culture allows employees to work wherever they can be most productive. That might be in the office, or it could be working from home. For example, if one of your admin staff needs to buckle down for a day, allow them the flexibility of working at home where there’s no chance of a phone or a tradesman breaking their concentration.

3. Flexibility is not about being a pushover

Some people consider flexibility as ‘catering to other people’s demands’. That’s not what it’s about. If you’re afraid to change the rules or your business culture because you don’t want to give your power away, you’re holding the wrong view of flexibility.

In the end, as the business owner, you hold the decision-making role. If a staff member asks for something, for example, to work at home one day a week every week, you don’t always have to say yes. It is a case-by-case basis. Learn when to be flexible and when to ‘lay-the-law’ down.

4. Your mind (and your employee’s mind) fights change

It’s easy to look at a situation that isn’t working and excuse it by saying you’re doing everything correctly: ‘the problem must be something else’. Your mind doesn’t like the idea of change. It’s going to fight you all the way. Your mind doesn’t want you to admit that change is necessary. It wants to be right, and admitting you need to change is like admitting you’re wrong.

However, changing to adapt to your circumstances isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about implementing solutions that support your businesses success.

We live in an uncertain world with unexpected changes around every corner. You wouldn’t stand still if a tree started to fall toward you, you’d run to get out of the way. You might get nicked by the tree as you run, but you’d recognise running as the best option and it would be worth the effort. That’s a flexible decision.

Perhaps a rigid person standing under a falling tree has a legitimate reason for staying put, but it won’t save them from being crushed. A rigid person will see their inflexible decision as ‘holding their ground’, despite impending danger.

Being flexible in your decision-making means being willing to make a decision that won’t cut off your future options, even if you don’t like that decision. A person who insists on standing under a falling tree is cutting off their future.

Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t serve your business. Call in an expert, if necessary. Your success depends on your ability to do what’s right for your business, even if it means making big changes and being flexible.

Businesses that don’t change don’t grow, simple, as, that.

What’s next?

  1. Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
  2. Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.