Flexibility in the way businesses operate can take many forms but adaptability and agility are increasingly becoming key attributes in competitive enterprise scenarios.

Whether we’re talking about SMEs or large multinational companies, there is a real need for flexibility at a strategic level, both in terms of the way in which businesses operate and from the perspective of individual employees.

Here’s a look at some of the essential ways in which businesses can look to make their operations and their workforces more flexible:

1 – Remote working

Through technological advancements, remote working has been made increasingly possible over the past decade or so and it’s now an accepted part of the way many organisations operate. Different roles bring particular demands on individuals but virtually all businesses stand to benefit from giving members of their workforce the chance to function as normal from almost anywhere.

2 – Deploying new solutions

Equipping staff with the smartphones, tablets and laptops they need to operate seamlessly on the move or wherever they might be is vitally important in the context of enterprises becoming flexible. But new software solutions and cloud-based business applications can be crucial too in giving businesses the best chance to be flexible and more efficient in a variety of valuable ways.

3 – Flexible hours

The advance of communications technologies of different sorts has opened up the prospect for employees of working from home and in patterns that suit their individual needs. Businesses that embrace flexible working are seeing benefits in terms of employee morale and staff retention but also from the perspective of meeting customer needs. Companies of all sizes increasingly need to be operational around the clock and having resources ‘out of hours’ has become an integral part of how service providers deliver what their customers want without disruption.

4 – Cash flow options

As we all know, cash flow is the lifeblood of businesses big or small and ensuring financial flexibility can be the difference between a company remaining operational and biting the dust. For small to medium-sized operators in particular, financial margins can be tight and unforgiving. So, being aware of, and having in place, a number of emergency financing options can often be essential in keeping companies afloat during times of acute pressure on cash flows and income streams.

Flexibility is something of a buzzword in business at present but it isn’t necessarily worth pursuing for its own sake. What flexibility really means and why it’s important is that it makes businesses more robust, more adaptable, more competitive and better prepared for whatever opportunities and challenges the future might bring.