Creating value is part of the very essence of our lives. Whether it is personal, spiritual, family, community or business-related, it generates that feel-good sensation when we believe we have made a worthwhile contribution -- big or small.
Whether it generates happiness, excitement, pride or satisfaction, this feeling motivates and drives us. It is creates the energy that keeps us going. We might have learned something new for ourselves, achieved a higher level of consciousness, done something good for someone else, or given significant input on a business project. This creation of value is fuel for the engine moving us onwards, and upwards, in our lives.
Creating value gives us meaning and purpose.
How do you feel about the value you are creating in your life -- for yourself and others? Are you over-burdened but nowhere close to your value capacity'? Is your schedule tapped out, but you feel you have much untapped potential? Do you feel there is much more that you could be doing or contributing to?
Workplace flexibility can enable you to increase your value creation, sense of self-worth and resulting overall happiness. How? Here are some stories about choices and changes some people made in order to increase their sense of purpose, satisfaction and/or fulfillment in their lives, pursuing a wider breadth of their ambitions:
- A publicist who transitioned from the bureaucracy of a major government agency to write a book and is now exploring becoming an entrepreneur;
- A high-performing trader transferring her skills to another field, so she can drop her child off at school in the mornings and be more present is his life;
- A banker who created a portfolio of Board memberships to give herself a diverse and interesting combination of senior part-time roles;
- A female attorney, starting her family, who is looking for a boutique law firm to support her ambitious career advancement desires and her family needs;
- An equity and angel investor, returning from overseas, is focused on a fulfilling finance-related role in a location compatible with his new wife's new job.
- A TV development executive who started her own company to have more control over her schedule and be able to incorporate her passion for running marathons;
Add a dose of flexibility to your work and life, and consider what value you could add for yourself and the others around you.
What about the corporate equivalent?
If you are a business owner, employer, or manager, what is your value proposition?
How are you creating value each day, not only in the products and services that you provide for your customers, but also for your employees or team? Is it clear to them and you what value your company actually creates internally and externally?
Research indicates that in companies where there is a value proposition that is clearly communicated and understood, employees work harder and more productively. They feel they have a purpose, and they can align themselves to advance towards that vision together. This is because they can understand and get satisfaction from their own personal contributions and, as a consequence, their value as part of a worthwhile, common goal.
So what does flexibility add to the corporate value equation?
Implemented thoughtfully, workplace flexibility increases the value of an organization and strengthens the relationships among those working there.
The introduction of flexibility recognizes the value of a company's employees as contributors to the enterprise value and offers them more control through alternative work models and structures to fit their different lives and working preferences better.
Proposing select or broad flexible working options, a company also shows respect for its employees as individuals and acknowledges that they have different needs and desires. In so doing, the company also demonstrates a commitment to their employees, and greater trust in them to leverage the new choices appropriately, while continuing to add value and achieve the business' goals.
Numerous studies show that the results are significant. Employees respond positively to acknowledgement of their value and there is a reciprocal increased commitment by employees to their employer. They also understand clearly that these choices can have a meaningful personal impact, allowing them to improve the balance in their lives.
Productivity gains and increased levels of engagement are two of the results generally observed with the implementation of flexibility that obviously impact the top and bottom lines significantly. A reduction in absenteeism and an increase in employee retention are also typical outcomes, both of which reduce costs and therefore result in increased profits. Higher quality people are attracted to companies that are known to recognize and reward the contributions of their workforce which improves future prospects as well.
Overall, workplace flexibility actually changes the game, enabling much greater value to be created across the board. Time to flex it up.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.