They say that the quality of life is enhanced by improving the range of motion in the joints of your body. Stretching and maintaining flexibility increases physical and mental relaxation, and also helps prevent stiffness and injury. If stretching our “physical” muscles can provide these benefits, than what benefits can come from stretching our “work” muscles and being more flexible in business? Would a more open environment allow for more opportunities? All too often, we get stuck in the same patterns and behaviors at work. While having effective systems and some consistency is important, many habits may limit what we can do and require constant change and adaptation to our surroundings. Being flexible at the workplace allows you to get along with others much more easily and be more open-minded to new ideas. It allows you to view things from a different perspective and re-evaluate things that may not work. In order to obtain the most favorable advancements in any career, having flexibility is a necessity. The demanding business world we live in requires new and innovative strategies, the use of new technologies, and doing things faster and smarter. We are all required to do more with less and to take on more than what our job description may define on paper. Pushing against change rather than embracing it through a more flexible work environment will bring limitations to those who remain stubborn in their ways. A greater range of ideas and openness can allow you to expand into new areas and try new things, with less resistance and less pressure. A study completed by the When Work Works initiative found that employees of flexible work environments report: ►Greater engagement on the job; ►Greater job satisfaction; ►Greater desire to stay with the organization; ►Better overall health; and ►Lower stress levels. Whether you are an employer or employee, make sure that you set or are set in a flexible work environment. The environment should embrace positive change, technology and creativity, but also be structured with effective and adaptable systems with set expectations for everyone. Having a positive and fun work environment will help balance work and life for any employee, while also benefiting customer service and company profits. Tip of the month … The fourth quarter of 2012 is here. Have a plan and close out the year strong with daily, monthly and quarterly objections. Near the middle of the quarter, begin preparing your business and setting goals for 2013. Next year will be another major year of change, one with new regulations facing the mortgage and real estate industry. The only way to be prepared is to be informed. Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail aha[email protected] or visit AndyHarrisMortgage.com.