40+ Examples of Adaptability in the Workplace

You may have heard the saying, “the only constant is change.” This is especially true in the workplace, where the needs of businesses and employees are constantly evolving.

As a result, in today’s economy, adaptability is a trait that people strongly value.

According to experts, here are some examples of how you can be adaptable in the workplace.

Dra. Paulina A. Vargas Larraguivel

Paulina Vargas Larraguivel

Dean of the School of Business and Administration, CETYS University – Mexicali Campus

Adapting to the new working conditions

Change must be seen as a natural process of life, as we confirmed with the appearance of COVID -19.

This hiatus in history obligated us to learn and adapt to everything that came with it:

  • home office,
  • an increase in the activities related to technological tools, and
  • digital transformation

Not only in our workplace but in each activity of our daily life.

But, let’s focus on the work context where adaptability and flexibility are needed to reach high competitive levels in an equally changing market where by the way, many companies require collaborators with soft skills.

In this sense, I would like you to reflect on this:

  • Are you flexible?
  • Are you open to change?
  • Do you enjoy facing new challenges?

If your response is yes to one or more of these questions, congratulations!

You have at least one of the attributes that companies are currently looking for when hiring leaders who will guide their business units to growth and competitiveness through new methods implementation, the capability of taking risks and accepting defiance.

So what is adaptability?

It is a soft skill that reflects the capability of being flexible and open to change in order to achieve the goals and objectives that the organization could define.

Related: 40+ Employee Performance Goals and Objectives Examples

Adaptability is highly currently sought after by different employers because it shows that a certain worker may lead their workspace to success by:

  • Solving processes and problems with a different approach
  • Willingness to learn new ways to do things
  • Adapting to the new conditions and challenges of this changing world

What are the types of adaptability skills?

Adaptability covers a wide range of skills that allow a faster response to new conditions in the industry where the company operates. Some of these skills are mentioned below:

  • Persistence
  • Resilience
  • Openness to constructive criticism
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Strategic thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Organization
  • Creativity and innovation

Companies and adaptability

If a company currently wants to remain competitive in the market and be a fundamental figure in the industry in which it belongs, it is necessary to work on the adaptability of its personnel, which in turn will positively affect its processes and, consequently, will benefit different aspects.

Here are some examples:

  • Development of new strategies
  • Appropriate communication channels
  • Personal growth and development
  • Constant and permanent training
  • Power to undertake new projects
  • Search for new forms of work
  • Implementation of technological tools other than those used
  • Receptive to changes in a positive way

Finally, I invite you to demonstrate that you are capable of:

  • Adapting to the new working conditions
  • Showing your willingness to adopt new roles and responsibilities
  • Committing yourself to your personal and professional development
  • Recognizing those factors that are in your control
  • Suggesting and implementing new ideas and improvements

In this way, the organization for which you work will be able to see this adaptability and will recognize that your collaboration can lead the company to a scheme of excellence through the implementation of innovative strategies in response to changes and unexpected situations.

Adaptability is not only useful for the workplace but also for life, and after putting it into practice, you should be seeing results soon.

Let’s develop this great soft skill.

Michael Diamond

Michael Diamond

Financial Literacy Expert, MD Financial Skills

Having the right mindset

The success stories that will emerge from the economic turmoil of the last few years will be stories of adaptations.

Restaurants found innovative ways to create outdoor spaces. Apparel companies pivoted to mask production. Entire industries had to rethink and rebuild their supply chains.

Behind these adaptations were leaders who were informed, open-minded, flexible, and quick on their feet. You may not know what the next challenges will be, but you can prepare for the unknown by making sure you’re as adaptable as possible.

In my experience, adaptability in the workplace starts with having the right mindset.

The following are examples of the types of attitudes that will keep you on your toes and ready to adapt to changes in your workplace.

Staying curious

You should always maintain a healthy curiosity about what is happening in your industry.

  • What are the latest trends, ideas, and innovations?
  • What are competitors up to?

Always approach these questions with an open mind.

Being adaptable isn’t the same as being innovative. You don’t have to come up with all the great ideas, and you just have to find and implement them.

To do that, you have to stay informed about what’s going on in your industry and identify where new ideas are coming from.

Practically speaking, that means continuing your education. You can do so formally by returning to the classroom or attending seminars, but these days, you also have a million more convenient options.

You can keep up with industry trends via newsletters, blogs, podcasts, vlogs, or numerous other easily accessible means.

If you work in a smaller industry that doesn’t have a lot of educational resources, staying on top of things can simply mean getting beyond the small talk and asking detailed questions of coworkers and competitors.

Being adaptable requires a certain degree of foresight. You have to know what you’re adapting towards. That means staying curious and keeping abreast of industry trends by any means at your disposal.

Approaching change with confidence, not overconfidence

Confidence is a tremendous part of your ability to adapt successfully. Confidence is what allows you to approach change with optimism and enthusiasm.

Overconfidence, however, can make you blind to potential improvements and innovations.

To walk the fine line between confidence and overconfidence, honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate your strengths and build on them, but spend equal time contemplating your weaknesses.

Related: 80+ Leadership Weaknesses and How to Fix Them

Acknowledging your weaknesses allows you to see adaptation as an opportunity to better yourself rather than as a threat.

For example, if you’re technically challenged, adapting to your company’s new software might give you the opportunity to start over anew, really study the tutorials, and maybe even develop a level of technical expertise.

Resisting the appeal of routine

The unfortunate answer to many questions about inefficient workplace practices is, “because we’ve always done it that way.” That’s stubbornness, the exact opposite of adaptability.

Yes, there’s a comfort in routine, but too often, sticking with the familiar can prevent you from adapting to new, more efficient methods.

Many workplaces have adapted new messaging programs explicitly designed for offices, but there’s always the holdout who writes out long emails just because that’s how they’ve always communicated.

Having to communicate with different people on different platforms can set the whole office back.

We are all creatures of habit, and you may slip into inefficient routines without even realizing it.

Every six months, take a step back and spend an hour assessing just how you spend your time. What are you doing strictly out of habit that is no longer an efficient use of your time?

Embracing change

A big part of adaptability in the workplace is understanding that things change. Bosses come and go, projects are completed, policies and priorities change, divisions are restructured, and responsibilities are reassigned.

Sometimes it seems like the only constant in the workplace is change. Embrace it. Think of change as the only thing standing between you and boredom.

If you don’t embrace it, the fear of transition between one mode of operation and another can cause significant career setbacks. Yes, change can be difficult, but inertia can be even worse in the long run.

Going with the flow

You also have to accept that no matter how much we prepare, some challenges will come completely out of the left field. Sometimes, like during the pandemic, being adaptable simply means being able to think fast on your feet.

The Mitch Hedberg joke about Pringles comes to mind. Hedberg joked that Pringles made their cans with the intention of manufacturing tennis balls, but when a shipment of potatoes showed up instead of rubber, they just ran with it and made potato chips instead.

That’s a joke, of course, but during the pandemic, plenty of companies had to make changes that were almost as drastic. They saw opportunities and just went with it.

Short of joining an improv class, it may seem like there’s not a whole lot you can do to improve your improvisational skills, but the ability to improvise is, in reality, a function of your preparation.

If you have stayed informed on changes in your industry, honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses, sought out efficiency over routine, and embraced change, you will be fast on your feet when the time comes to adapt in a hurry.

Tara Milburn

Tara Milburn

Founder, Ethical Swag

Getting back to basics

Sometimes it’s in the process of adapting to change that you come to learn what your company is truly about in the first place.

We all have our commitments and our visions of how things should be, but they don’t always correspond to the reality on the ground, especially when that ground is shifting.

While the capacity to react to sudden and dramatic changes is certainly a key aspect of adaptability, having the foresight to make changes that build adaptability into the structure of a business itself is one of its most important, though underemphasized benefits.

While nobody was truly prepared for the pandemic, some businesses were in a better position to weather it than others.

Purpose-driven businesses, especially those committed to protecting the environment, faced special challenges during a lockdown.

With online ordering becoming, in some cases, the only way to buy and deliver goods, companies found themselves becoming increasingly reliant on final-mile deliveries.

This process, which typically relies on delivery trucks that burn high amounts of fossil fuels, made it difficult for some businesses to stick to their sustainability goals.

Some companies, however, took steps to reduce their final-mile carbon footprint even before the pandemic hit by taking steps such as purchasing carbon offsets, investing in electric vehicles, and looking into more sustainable packaging methods.

Related: What Is Environmental Sustainability and Why Is It Important?

This was a kind of adaptability before the fact: by embodying their commitments at every level, these kinds of businesses were able to maintain them even during an unprecedented difficult time.

By adapting to climate change— the kind of change, we can accurately measure and predict— they positioned themselves to adapt to the kinds of change that we can’t foresee.

The business of learning

Teamwork and openness to suggestion are absolutely crucial to fostering adaptability in the workplace.

As a founder, it’s important to remember that those around you are not barriers to executing your vision but sources of insight and dialogue who can help you improve it.

Keeping open lines of communication between all members of a company helps foster shared, continual learning while promoting personal responsibility.

Learning is, essentially, a form of adapting, so implementing policies and procedures focused on promoting a culture of learning is key to preparing all members of an organization to respond productively to any challenges they may encounter.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to foster a culture of learning and plenty of room to get creative in doing so.

Adaptability is what is typically considered a ‘soft’ skill. Still, this term undersells its importance— it has tangible benefits for all members of an organization, including increased innovation, problem-solving skills, and collaboration.

The best way for leaders to promote adaptability is, of course, by modeling it:

  • leading with empathy,
  • listening to coworkers, and
  • communicating clearly

There are also plenty of tools available to develop employees’ soft skills, beginning with the onboarding process and extending throughout an employee’s entire tenure with a company.

Designing these programs in ways that build on what has come before allows for a more long-term investment that gives employees a satisfying sense of progress.

Prizing adaptability in the workplace is a key step toward creating sustainability in the workplace.

When I talk about sustainability in this sense, I mean it in a very person-centric way: it means creating a culture in which each employee’s mental, emotional, and physical resources are respected and preserved.

There is nothing more conducive to professional burnout than the feeling of being stuck doing the exact same thing day in and day out, so creating access to learning opportunities is a must for ensuring professional fulfillment.

Jackie Ferguson

Jackie Ferguson

VP Content and Programming, The Diversity Movement

Displaying flexibility and allowing your workers to work together

Leaders have always had to deal with change. As a matter of fact, many professionals get promoted precisely because they deal so well with turmoil — remaining the calm center in a sea of noise.

However, even skilled leaders face new challenges as pressures intensify and new complexities come to light.

The challenge is that as turbulence increases, some executives begin to respond in the tried-and-true fashion that has worked for them in the past.

In these moments, adaptability as a leadership trait becomes most valuable.

There are two ways to demonstrate adaptability as a leader:

  1. Serve as a role model for your team by breaking through rigid decision-making.
  2. Show that you understand the concept by applying it to your teams by looking at them as individuals who approach, assess, investigate, and analyze problems uniquely and from different viewpoints.

Given that chaos seems to be the new normal both professionally and in our personal lives, an adaptive leader must prioritize gaining an understanding of how their people actually think, just as deeply and expansively as they do about objectives, strategies, and tactics.

Adaptability as a foundational skill enables leaders to view their teams from a broader perspective, taking the whole person into account.

The key here is understanding that all people process information differently: you can’t expect them to be mini versions of you or tackle challenges in a rigid or ordered way.

For some of your employees, an emphasis on deliberate goal setting will be key, while for others, it is motivation to reach a new milestone. Regardless, a fluid approach to understanding how your people think and work is essential.

An example is the way society’s view of neurodiversity has changed as new research and studies have been conducted.

What was once labeled a ‘handicap‘ is now perceived more broadly as a full range of natural variations in human brain functions, especially around learning, thinking, or processing information.

We have seen that companies embracing neurodiversity can gain competitive advantages in many areas, including:

  • productivity
  • innovation
  • employee retention

Despite these benefits, because neurodiversity is non-visible and, unfortunately, often stigmatized, many individuals choose to keep their neurodiversity secret in order to avoid being unfairly judged or discriminated against.

The critical piece here is that adaptability as a leadership strength means demonstrating flexibility and also giving your people the space to work together in a way that makes the whole unit stronger.

The era of rigid leadership is long gone. Just as we’ve learned that the whole person matters at work, we must think about how the actual thinking process can help us work better, more creatively, and improve efficiency.

Most people are not intuitively adaptive, and even the best leaders can slip into a rote way of dealing with challenges, particularly when the pressures magnify.

The move to adaptability needs to be deliberate and takes practice to implement. An adaptive leader can add this mantra to their management skill set: “I have approached this topic with a flexible mindset and value my teammates for their unique perspectives.”

Pavel Bahu

Pavel Bahu

Global HR Director of Dyninno Travel, Dyninno Group of Companies

Flexing ideas to adapt to the company’s culture, norms, and ways

Adaptability in the workplace, or in other words, understanding the business and being able to adjust thoughts, emotions, and behavior to any situation at any given time, is the number one trait every employer is hunting for.

Simply said, adaptability implies employees’ ability to flex their ideas and ways of thinking to adapt to the culture, norms, and practices that the company works.


  • Are you a good problem solver?
  • Can you approach challenges with a positive mindset and deal with an outcome that might not be the way you expected and imagined?
  • Can you examine the problem, identify, assess, and evaluate the situation, and, most importantly, find the right answer to behave and adapt to the situation?

For example, to be promoted to the next level of the job, the employee needs to pass an elaborate Assessment Center. One of the tasks at hand is a practical problem using the so-called “Experiential Learning MTa kit.”

The candidate needs to control their team via communicating with remote team members and addressing their constantly changing issues in a fast-paced environment against the clock and with a piece of very limited information on the current state of the project.

This is a very good representation of how challenging the work of a new manager could be.

Critical thinking

  • Are you open to trying something new, and can you determine the right course of action while controlling your emotional response?

Another example of tasks we use to evaluate the Critical Thinking abilities during the Assessment Center is the so-called “In-tray exercises.”

A series of work-related notes, letters, and memos are presented to the candidate, along with the list of decisions they should make based on the information presented within a limited time and financial budget.

This pushes the critical abilities of the candidate to the edge because the resources are scarce, and some tough cuts must be made.

It is a very interesting choice some people have to make:

  • future vs. present success
  • friends vs. business
  • objectivity vs. subjectivity

Soft skills

  • Do you have good communication skills, how do you behave in a team, are you patient, and have a good mix of social and interpersonal skills?

We test all the above and many more with the help of the “Potential in Focus test.”

We evaluate the candidates against the historical success of thousands of other candidates and come up with the potential success rate of a candidate in a new position.

Alice Li

Alice Li

CEO, First Day

Able to learn new things and take on new difficulties

You will be a strong professional overall and a competitive job applicant if you can adjust to shifting settings and work methods. You can learn new things and take on new difficulties if you have the ability to adapt.

Developing additional soft skills like communication and interpersonal abilities can also imply improving your flexibility.

Let’s examine the definition of adaptability, its components, and methods for enhancing your adaptability skills.

What does being adaptable mean?

The capacity to be adaptable and change with circumstances, circumstances, or situations. Nearly all workplaces place a high importance on adaptability.

What are the qualities of adaptability?

A wide range of abilities can be categorized as being adaptable. These vital soft talents include, for example:

  • Communication skills
  • Personality traits
  • Aptitude for addressing issues
  • Abilities for strategic and creative thinking
  • Teamwork abilities
  • Organizing abilities

Communication skills

Your team leaders will be able to notice how eager you are to learn and how willing you are to ask for assistance when you need it if you can ask for clarification throughout transitions or look for extra information or resources for a brand-new and unfamiliar project.

Adaptability also includes other communication techniques, such as nonverbal communication and active listening.

Related: 50+ Reasons Why Listening Is Important

Personality traits

Similar to having efficient interpersonal skills, having exceptional interpersonal skills might be crucial to your overall flexibility. Having the ability to engage with others in a healthy and constructive way will help you stay out of conflict and miscommunication when working shifts.

Related: 100+ Examples of Miscommunication in the Workplace

Aptitude for addressing issues

When faced with difficult job problems, you could use your problem-solving abilities to come up with original solutions.

Additionally, your bosses will see that you are open to changing or improving the way you solve problems if they can see that you can observe and assess how you may tackle a new situation.

Abilities for strategic and creative thinking

Creativity and strategic thinking are two more skills that might be necessary for adaptability.

For instance, ways to demonstrate your general adaptability skills include:

  • coming up with fresh concepts for marketing goods,
  • figuring out how to adjust to a shifting market, and
  • putting techniques into practice to enhance and create new tactics

Teamwork abilities

Being able to adjust to various personalities and workplace dynamics may need teamwork skills. Your coworkers may be a mix of people with various talents, experiences, and backgrounds.

How adaptable you are in a team setting may be favorably influenced by your ability to work on a varied team of individuals and cope with conflict, divergent views, and other dynamics that might arise.

Related: 30+ Workplace Conflict Examples and How to Resolve Them

Organizing abilities

It may be required to acquire organizational skills in order to increase your capacity for flexibility. You may better prepare for operational changes at work if you keep your workspace organized, including papers, digital data, and other components of your profession.

Your capacity to adapt to changes in your environment depends on your adaptability abilities.

Being flexible at work is being able to react rapidly to:

  • concepts,
  • obligations,
  • demands,
  • trends,
  • tactics, and
  • other procedures that may change

Possessing soft skills like interpersonal, communication, creative thinking, and problem-solving abilities is another aspect of adaptability.

How to increase your capacity to adapt

It may not always be simple to be flexible and open to change, but you may think about taking the following actions to assist you in doing so:

Recognize how your surroundings are changing

Being aware of changes in your workplace is a crucial strategy for enhancing your capacity to adapt.

If your team’s duties include the usage of corporate finances, for instance, you can pay attention to the finance team’s new budget and keep up with the most recent allowances.

To keep up with changes to various business practices, you might also continue to be aware of policies, procedures, and other operational processes.

Establish an attitude of progress

Being adaptive also indicates that you’re open to learning and experimenting.

Having a growth mindset can help you be more willing to:

  • take on new challenges
  • seek out new learning opportunities
  • participate in new initiatives

Your dedication to your professional development may also be demonstrated to your company by your desire and drive to maintain developing your abilities.

Zoë Morris

Zoë Morris

President, Frank Recruitment Group

Adapting to completely new ways of working

As a business, the pandemic has forced many of us to completely re-imagine the way we interact with each other, as well as our customers.

It’s been the ultimate lesson in adapting to completely new ways of working and also seeing the value of those changes, which can sometimes be something we’re reluctant to embrace.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is job interviews moving from in-person to video in the blink of an eye.

For the younger generation, who are used to a digital-first approach to communication, that probably wasn’t as intimidating a transition, but it has still forced employers and candidates alike to re-learn a skill that many may have thought they had mastered.

Gone are the days of a candidate being able to charm an interviewer and simply use force of personality to get through the experience. Now, the focus has shifted back to what it should always have been about— quality answers that quantify a person’s competence in the role in question.

For us, it’s also forced us to look at the way we hire people ourselves.

  • Do we need to bring someone into an office to hear the same things they can tell us from their own home?
  • Would we miss out on some amazing talent just because we refuse to adapt to the way the world has evolved?

I think the answer is yes, and so we’ve adapted and seen the benefits rather than worry about any negatives.

Rather than trying to get a ‘feel’ for a person in terms of how they’ll fit into your organization’s culture, the focus is now on the content of the interview itself, which can make your hiring decisions fairer and better.

They’re also far more convenient for all parties, allowing us to speak to candidates much faster than we would have before and thus reducing the time to hire.

While it’s undoubtedly been a change and taken some getting used to, the overall impact of embracing a new way to interview candidates has been overwhelmingly positive, both for ourselves and the businesses we work with.

In the middle of a skills gap across so many industries, being able to adapt to that change and instead see the benefits has been a huge positive.

Leaning into all of the changes in the workplace

Flexibility has been a hot topic in the workplace over the past few years, and in the midst of the continual change happening, adaptability is equally important. Adaptability is about approaching work through a lens of experimentation and being ready to fine-tune and adjust as you collect new data and information.

It’s not about just going with the flow; it means being open to giving something a try or a little time before forming a conclusion.

It also means leaning into all of the changes in the workplace with the growth mindset, knowing things are evolving, and we have the opportunity to leverage the change to form better, more inclusive, and more equitable outcomes for everyone.

Working norms around hybrid work is a great place to practice adaptability.

For folks who have been working from home over the past two years and are now returning to the office, adaptability is key.

We all know all of the kinks haven’t been worked out with conference room bookings, days everyone is coming in if you’re in a hybrid configuration, comfort level around masks and social distancing, etc.

The vibe will be different than it was before, and you might feel nostalgic for the team culture you had in the past. Help establish the new one.

Be open to hearing about the experiences, goals, and concerns of the people across your team and propose ideas for how to make a more effective setup for everyone.

If folks are all coming to the office on different days, suggest one day per week where everyone comes in consistently.

If people are concerned about managing meetings with the reintroduction of long commute times, establish norms around meetings versus focus time, ensuring you’re collecting a wide range of perspectives and experiences to weigh into the conversation.

If your team is distributed across more time zones than it was before, alternative start times to accommodate the various time zones.

And then, after two to three months, across all of these areas, collect feedback from the team and adjust your approach where needed.

Patrick Parker

Patrick Parker

CEO, SaaS Partners

Making decisions based on accurate information

Adaptability is not only a powerful tool for ensuring business success; for me, it has deep personal significance.

I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood preparing for a career in sports, but after sustaining a serious injury in college, I saw my career prospects suddenly disappear.

At the time, I did not have any experience in the business world— all I had was the discipline, quick thinking, and team spirit I’d developed through sport.

Rather than falling into despair, I took these skills and adapted them to business.

Adaptability has served me well ever since. It, along with consistency, are the two values I prize most highly. Consistency is not at all opposed to adaptability: you can be consistently adaptable.

Making a habit of learning by doing thorough research on market trends, leveraging data on consumer behavior, and engaging in frequent, open conversations with associates will ensure that you are never caught off guard by new developments.

The business world is in a constant process of profound transformation, so it’s deeply important to make sure that you’re always making decisions based on accurate information.

Moreover, constantly seeking out new knowledge keeps you from becoming complacent.

With technology changing at such a dizzying rate, you can never be entirely sure that what worked yesterday is going to work tomorrow. Sticking to old assumptions rather than staying on top of new information can cause you to miss out on potentially life-changing opportunities.

Not shying away from complexity

In order to be adaptable, you need to be comfortable living with complexity.

Adaptability should not be reactive but proactive— seeing it as an asset rather than a necessity helps you gain a more realistic perspective on situations, one that is not grounded in wishful thinking that oversimplifies the reality in front of you.

With that said, however, a positive mindset is absolutely critical to cultivating adaptability.

Having a positive mindset gives you more energy and resilience while increasing your openness to new ideas. It does not entail ignoring stress or dismissing challenges but instead focusing on how you can transform them into opportunities for growth.

This simple shift in perspective changes both what information is available to you and how you process that information, enabling you to achieve a more accurate understanding of whatever situation is in front of you.

Moreover, staying resilient in the face of adversity and refusing to give up can actually make you a more dynamic and innovative thinker since reacting to serious challenges with determination rather than despair is often how the most game-changing ideas are born.

Especially in the tech industry, businesses can easily become overwhelmed by what other players in the same space are doing.

Rather than panicking at how rapidly your industry is evolving, it’s essential to do serious research into exactly how it is changing and, more importantly, why.

Turning a blind eye to the competition ultimately gives them a leg up–seeing what is working and not working for others will help you more clearly understand what will work for you.

We limit ourselves when we conceive of good leadership as unbending devotion to a singular idea. While this kind of commitment certainly has value, it is always in danger of being outpaced by reality.

Instead of conceiving of adaptability and bold vision as mutually antagonistic, it’s important to look at how they can actually reinforce each other.

Building adaptability and a willingness to learn into everything you do is a way to make your visions even bolder, more exciting, and more in tune with present reality— as well as more feasible to achieve.

Alex Ugarte

Alex Ugarte

Marketing and Outreach Manager, London Office Space

Facilitating flexible work

Businesses looking to remain adaptable in the face of uncertain events would be wise to consider adopting flexible work policies in order to attract and retain top talent.

Countless large companies have already developed and implemented these types of policies in the wake of the pandemic.

Designed to entice reluctant workers back to the office, flexibility has proven to be an extremely valuable commodity in the post-pandemic jobs market.

By making allowances for flexibility in the workplace, whether that be through the introduction of a hybrid working model or the adoption of full-scale remote work, businesses will ensure that they’re prepared to adapt to events similar to the COVID-19 pandemic quickly.

Outside of preparing businesses for uncertainty, flexibility has been proven to improve employee happiness, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

Accommodating the unique needs of employees

The notion of big businesses adapting to employee demands by improving wellness policies and providing additional workplace perks is well established.

More recently, businesses have taken this idea a step further, making a point to celebrate their workers’ individuality by creating more inclusive and diverse work environments to hone in on what makes them unique truly.

Businesses looking to remain adaptable would be wise to focus on the unique traits and requirements of each employee, exploring their needs and preferences to establish best on how to support them in the completion of their daily tasks.

Despite how hard some businesses might try, there isn’t one ideal corporate mold.

Each employee has their own unique working style, life situation, culture, and personality, things which will all ultimately influence how they do their job and interact with the surrounding team.

Managers should be open to adapting best practices to accommodate the unique needs of all employees, pushing to celebrate their individuality and maximizing cultural buy-in.

Workers who feel valued for what makes them unique will often be happier, more productive, and more invested in the overall mission of the business.

Communicate with employees about their own adaptability

If recent events have told us anything, it’s that it’s extremely important for all elements of a business to remain agile in the face of changing market demands.

Both management and employees need to buy into the concept of adaptability, meaning that everyone needs to be open to pivoting the way they work to provide the most benefit for the business.

Transparent lines of communication need to be established to ensure that no mixed messages are sent.

Managers should work to clearly and concisely outline expectations from the outset, highlighting the importance of being able to adapt processes to meet new demands quickly.

If managers are willing to facilitate flexible working schedules, it’s only fair that employees are equally open to adapting their daily practices to suit the new working climate better.

Maria Shahroz

Maria Shahroz

HR Manager, Kuhlmann Electro-Heat A/S

A person’s ability to change and grow in the workplace relies heavily on their ability to adapt as a soft skill. Those that are adaptable are more likely to be able to respond quickly to input from their superiors, as well as function well as part of a team.

Examples of adaptability are shown below.

The importance of having a plan B

You’ll be able to swiftly implement a backup strategy in the event of a change.

For example, if you need to deliver a computer-based presentation, be prepared to do so without technology if it fails. In the event of an unexpected change in circumstances, you won’t be able to adapt.

But if you have a backup plan, you can still deliver an amazing presentation. Even more impressive is the fact that you were able to finish the presentation under time constraints.

Changing the date and time of a meeting

As an example, if the interview time is changed by your possible employer, show that you are able to handle the change and meet the new time.

An employer wants someone who is flexible and adaptive, and this demonstrates that you are. Changes like rearranging meeting times will be commonplace in your office.

Immediate adaptation to emerging technologies

It is your responsibility as an employee to be able to use new software that is provided to you by your employer.

You can gain an advantage in the interview process by showing your technological prowess. It can show that you are technologically knowledgeable and capable of adapting to changes in your workplace over the next few years.

Flexible work schedules and work-at-home opportunities

It’s possible that you’ve had to do this in the past.

In order to participate in online video conferencing, you may have needed a webcam, learned to set personal accountability around being online at a given time of day and learned to speak differently via online video conferencing.

Changing your ways of doing things

Rather than bringing your old processes, the employer wants you to adapt to the new environment.

Your prior employment may have done things a little differently than your new one, so it’s best to be prepared for this. Your manager may be concerned that you’ll bring your old work habits with you to this new one.

Demonstrate a knowledge of the fact that every company has its own unique culture and way of doing things and that you regard your job as one that can react to these changes and adapt accordingly while maintaining a good attitude.

Candice Moses

Candice Jones

Financial Data Analyst and Founder, Information

Demonstrating the ability to observe and learn from others

Every successful person has gained knowledge from others around them, whether they be coworkers, family, friends, or a helpful mentor.

The thousands of videos on YouTube testify to the notion that it is simpler to learn when you can observe someone who has previously accomplished the skill.

The same logic applies here. If your coworker, for example, has advanced quicker than you, despite transferring departments many times to take advantage of potential promotions, pay attention to how they adjusted to their new role.

  • What kind of attitude have they shown towards work?
  • What is their way of interacting with others around them?

Learn from their efforts and strive to incorporate them into your own profile. Observing others may also be beneficial while interacting with clients, rivals, or even your employer.

Understanding how another person thinks and responds in specific situations might help you plan your own answer, just as sportsmen analyze footage of their opponents.

This forethought helps you to respond more rapidly to unexpected situations or obstacles.

Knowing how to flex when your chosen alternative is unavailable

To genuinely exhibit your workplace adaptability, you must learn to flex when your chosen alternative is unavailable.

If you can embrace alternate ideas, unanticipated change, and urgent strategic requests, leaders will see you as a team player.

Be ready to alter and change plans swiftly, given the pace of the continually changing workplace and commercial environment. Take advantage of every chance to learn new skills on the job.

This can range from completing an offered training course to requesting permission to sit in on more meetings to learn more about sales or marketing tactics or accepting a teaching or mentoring job.

Any expertise you gain can help you adjust to future developments and make you a more well-rounded candidate.

Aunia Kahn

Aunia Kahn

Founder, Rise Visible

Introduction of hybrid or work-from-home models

Workplace adaptability is essential for outstanding company culture.

Over the years, many companies did not have to think much about adaptability since it was not at the forefront of their minds, but it has become needed more than ever.

One of the most significant examples of adaptability in the workplace is the introduction of hybrid or work-from-home models.

People who have needed some form of adaptability have often been left out, or they do not try for certain opportunities based on imposed limitations. A great example would be someone with a seizure disorder that can’t drive and does not live close to any places they can work.

Before remote or hybrid work, finding alternative ways to get to work could be very challenging based on their geographical location and what were the alternative options for travel.

Being able to work remote or partially remote has been life-changing for many because it has given numerous people opportunities they could have only dreamed of before.

Another example of workplace adaptability that has enabled so many companies and people that work with them is the use of software like Zoom.

Although Zoom is a great tool to help remote or hybrid environments thrive, there are still other features that make it a necessary tool in workplace adaptability.

Teams can get together easier, go to events or just connect and adapt to the moment. All this can now be done without having everyone be in the same place at the same time physically.

Zoom can also help companies hire and work with people in different cities, states, and even countries.

This has led to an ability to attain a more diverse workforce and easier communication.

When we learn to think about how we can start to introduce adaptability to the teams we work with, the community we share, and the people that bring us value every day — we become more inclusive.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

As a business professional with 25+ years of experience, I have often had to be adaptable in the workplace.

Whether it was my schedule, my office location, or the people I worked with, when it comes to being employed, adaptability is par for the course.

Accommodating a new schedule

There is no typical work schedule any longer.

In days past, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, seemed to be the norm. This once typical schedule has changed drastically over the years.

Some offices want you to be there from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm so you can take an hour for lunch. Other offices have locations in multiple time zones, and this causes them to need employees available either earlier or later.

In today’s workplace, we’re seeing more and more offices converting to 4-day work weeks.

Whatever the reason, it’s always good if you can accommodate a new schedule to ensure that the work gets done.

A community office is not always necessary

If there is one thing that COVID has taught us, it is that a community office is not always necessary.

As a Florida resident, home to many hurricanes, I learned this fact many years before the pandemic affected us.

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma left the power off in the office where I was working. The leaders would meet and work at a local FedEx Kinkos, where they had power, an internet connection, and, most importantly, a Starbucks right next door.

Though we didn’t have our desktop computers, we effectively communicated with our teams and clients and did whatever it took to get the job done.

We adapted and learned what worked and what didn’t.

Respecting coworkers even when you don’t like them

In a picture-perfect world, everyone would just get along. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

We don’t need to like everyone we work with, but it helps if we can be respectful to them.

When you need to work with people you aren’t fond of, don’t let your feelings interfere with your professionalism. Do what you must to get through the day while working with them.

Try to push your feelings to the side.

Of course, if the person you don’t care for is acting unacceptably, do not hesitate to get HR involved. There is no reason for anyone to be bullied, feel threatened, or mistreated, especially at their place of work.

When we put our best foot forward, we can adapt in the workplace however it is necessary. Being adaptable is being responsible, and being responsible is encouraged.

Alan Ahdoot

Alan Ahdoot

Legal Specialist, Adamson Ahdoot LLP

Adapting to the old normal again

There needed to be a period of adjustment for our team after the lockdowns ended.

We were simply unable to rely on a hybrid model because it’s impractical for a law firm of our size to do so. Not only are attorneys required to be in courtrooms, but we work together closely on cases, and Slack channels and Zoom meetings are not an adequate substitute for in-person collaboration.

People had to be ready to work together again — despite obvious anxiety about a deadly virus.

We took as many steps as possible for our employees; We mounted hand sanitizer machines in the hallways and conference rooms, ensuring all employees and visitors wore masks and practiced social distancing wherever possible.

There was also the issue of resuming child care schedules. We provided temporary services and made sure to be patient and accommodating to all our employees during an extended period.

In recent memory, one of the biggest examples of adaptability in the workplace was us adapting to the old normal again — returning to the office, the courthouses, and conference rooms where we had all gathered prior to the pandemic.

After the discomfort wore off, our team jumped right back into the swing of things. It’s like an Olympic swimmer getting back into the water after a long layoff. Our attorneys were excited to be back and performing at a high level again.

Kyle Cohlmia

Kyle Cohlmia

Associate Content Writer, BARR Advisory

Being future-ready

At our organization, one of our core values is being future-ready, and we strive to live that out on a day-to-day basis. For our team, this means frequently adapting to new challenges, embracing feedback, and then shifting course when needed to drive innovation continually.

Being future-ready also means adapting to industry trends.

Members of our team are constantly researching, sharing resources, and attending training sessions and seminars to help us improve and grow our knowledge surrounding industry best practices.

Living out our future-ready value helps us create a culture of adaptability and ensures we’re continuously learning so we can better achieve our ultimate goal: to create a more secure world.

Solving client challenges

Cybersecurity is a fast-paced, ever-changing industry, and we constantly challenge ourselves to adapt to our clients’ needs.

For instance, as hackers and other bad actors are ramping up their use of automation for cyber crimes, our team is spearheading the use of automation to help streamline security while saving clients’ time and resources.

Responding to cultural shifts

But adaptability at our organization goes beyond our work in cybersecurity.

When there’s a cultural shift that might affect an associate, our communities, or the world at large, our leadership team responds immediately, not only with support but also with flexibility.

For instance, when global crises are weighing heavy on us, we’re able to adapt our work schedules or take advantage of unlimited PTO to recharge.

We also don’t hesitate to adapt and shift focus when we know we can make a difference.

For instance, this March, members of our team participated in a basketball-themed giving tournament that allowed us the choice to donate to the Red Cross or Feeding America.

Both organizations were responding to active humanitarian crises— whether by providing assistance for those in need in Ukraine or helping out communities facing food insecurities in the wake of COVID-19.

Working for an organization that not only acknowledges cultural shifts and crises like these but also adapts to them by taking action to help those in need creates a community of awareness and safety that resonates with me and all members of our organization.

We feel supported to be who we are and bring our true selves to the workplace.

Sean Diljore

Sean Diljore

CEO and Executive Chairman, simPRO

Ability to listen to the employees

Back in February of 2022, simPRO launched a four-day work week program that we call Flex4–not four, ten-hour days, but a 32-hour work week without reducing pay.

We were very excited to both return emotional capital to our staff and give back some of the success our company continues to see in the form of a flexible work environment.

However, the four-day week hasn’t always been a part of my vision for the company.

I had always been a pretty firm believer in everyone being in the office five days a week to support relationship-building and collaborative work. It was the way things have been done for a long time. And then a global pandemic came and changed all of that almost instantly.

I realized that as I was asking my team to change their work habits on the fly, which included adapting to the thin line between work-life balance, that I needed to be more adaptable as a leader myself.

As we worked through the pandemic and found all of our lives limited by the effects of shutdowns and illness, we realized that the work world had changed, and we needed to as well.

So, how does one promote adaptability in the workplace? Ask the people that matter most, your employees, what they want and think about these monumental changes.

After the open feedback, we solicited from our employees at town halls and firesides (with lots of passionate discussions led by our awesome staff), the executives and I put our minds together again to decide how we’d adapt our work environment to meet our employees’ desire for more flexibility in work and life, and our desire to increase overall productivity.

Since launching our Flex4 policy in February, we have noticed quite a few things.

Our employees, who have been sharing what they do with the added time off, are happier, more well-balanced, and more productive.

We were initially worried that Flex4 might hurt our customer service a bit, but that has just not been the case, as our team has continued to perform well because they have more time off.

Our trial results, taken from surveys of our employees, show that burnout and work stress were reduced while life satisfaction, physical health, and mental health increased.

So I’ll say what I think many of us, leaders, employees, and job seekers alike, have been thinking over the past year and maybe even longer: It’s not enough anymore to simply offer ping pong tables and free beer at the office and call that ‘work-life balance.’

We must go further. And I think our Flex4 policy is an example of being adaptable, listening to our employees, and stepping out of our comfort zone.

Jess Munday

Jess Munday

Co-Founder and Owner, Custom Neon

Flexible with different work styles, schedules, and abilities

Importance of workplace adaptability

Individual psychotherapist, educator, and founder of Living in the Now, Dr. Mark Gordon, emphasizes that “employers must be adaptable to a wide variety of persons and different styles because we are all unique individuals who contribute differently in our own unique way.”

He goes on to explain how adaptability can also be exhibited by employers who meet and support the needs of their employees, who in turn are more likely to reciprocate by being adaptable and productive workers.

The adaptable workplace is one that is able to change and adapt as the needs of its employees change.

A flexible work environment can accommodate different work styles, schedules, and abilities. It is important for employers to be adaptable to the needs of their employees in order to create a productive and positive work environment.

An adaptable workplace is not only beneficial for employees, but also for employers.

A study by The Conference Board found that organizations with adaptable workplaces are more likely to experience higher levels of employee engagement, commitment, and satisfaction.

Moreover, adaptability has been found to lead to increased innovation and creativity, as well as improved business results.

While adaptability is important for all businesses, it is particularly crucial for small businesses.

Small businesses often have to be more adaptable than larger businesses due to their limited resources and personnel. Being adaptable can help small businesses stay afloat during tough economic times and enable them to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, adaptability is essential for both employees and employers.

It’s been my experience that those who are able to adapt to the needs of their workplace will be more successful in achieving their goals, both near and long term.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the potential challenges to adaptability?

Although adaptability is a valuable skill, some potential challenges may arise in developing this trait. These may include:

– Resistance to change
– Excessive reliance on past experiences
– Difficulty letting go of old habits
– Lack of self-confidence
– Fear of failure
– Lack of support
– Lack of flexibility
– Difficulty with uncertainty
– Limited perspective
– Inability to set priorities
– Lack of creativity

Remember that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to adaptability. By recognizing your challenges and working to overcome them, you can improve your ability to adapt to changing circumstances and be more successful in the workplace.

What are some signs that I need to work on my adaptability?

You struggle to cope with change: Feeling anxious or overwhelmed when faced with new challenges or unexpected changes may indicate that you need to work on your adaptability.

You find it hard to learn new things: If you resist new ideas or have difficulty learning new skills or processes, this may indicate that you need to work on your open-mindedness and flexibility.

You have difficulty working with others: If you have difficulty working well with others who have different perspectives or styles, it may be a sign that you need to work on your communication and interpersonal skills.

You feel stuck in your career: If you’re not making progress in your career or feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it could be a sign that you need to develop your adaptability to take on new challenges and opportunities.

You’re resistant to feedback: If you find it difficult to accept feedback or react defensively when someone suggests a new approach or idea, this could be a sign that you need to work on being more open to constructive criticism.

Adaptability is a skill that can be developed and improved over time. If you notice any of these signs in yourself, don’t be discouraged. Try to approach new situations with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Can adaptability be learned?

Yes, adaptability can be learned. Adapting quickly and effectively to changing situations is an important skill that can help people succeed in any workplace. There are some strategies that can help foster this trait, such as:

Developing problem-solving skills by thinking creatively when faced with new challenges or opportunities.

Learning how to remain calm and collected when faced with unexpected changes or challenging circumstances.

Practicing effective communication skills so you can clearly communicate your ideas and work easily with others.

Being open-minded to other perspectives or approaches without abandoning your own beliefs and values.

Building resilience and developing a growth mindset—the ability to bounce back after setbacks or failures and confidently approach new tasks.

How can you be adaptable in any situation?

Being adaptable in any situation requires a mix of skills, as well as a willingness to take risks and adapt quickly. Here are some tips on how to be adaptable in any situation:

– Be open-minded
– Stay curious
– Focus on solutions
– Stay calm
– Be flexible
– Develop a growth mindset
– Embrace change
– Build resilience
– Seek feedback
– Take calculated risks

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