Written by Annie Dudenhoeffer

“Action and adaptability create opportunity.” Garrison Wynn

Every company knows what it’s like to have multiple moving pieces that need to be completed by different departments to help the organization and its clients succeed. If one of these tasks falls through the crack, it causes setbacks that are not conducive to meeting the expectations of the company or its clients. By being proactive, you can stay ahead of deadlines and provide your clients with exceptional work. An effective way to stay on track and meet these needs is to be adaptable in the workplace. In my role, I assist our Media Department with various tasks including pulling reports, billing, and traffic for our clients. I also work alongside our Client Relations Team helping create jobs, scheduling, and proofing projects. When I’m not on the floor with my teammates, you can find me filling the role as our CFO’s assistant, helping with the daily operations of the company. Needless to say, I wear many hats and this is why adaptability and flexibility are extremely important to complete the tasks given to me every day.


What Is Adaptability In The Workplace? 

Effectively, it means being flexible in handling change and possessing the necessary skills to manage setbacks on projects. Handling unexpected changes in a concise and timely manner always allows you to stay on track. When these changes happen, I try to make an effort to keep a positive mindset, ask questions to have a clear understanding, and stay focused on the bigger picture. I want to point out that a positive mindset is extremely important when being given many different tasks. When I start to feel overwhelmed by the load of work being given to me, I like to take a step back, look at my list, and focus on prioritizing and time management. As Bruce Lee said, “Be like water, not the pitcher, be fluid.”

Every job comes with a core set of tasks, but it is not uncommon to add or change your existing responsibilities. These changes allow you to adapt and learn new things while simultaneously growing your portfolio as a professional. If it is needed, don’t hesitate to ask for the opinions of others. Asking for different perspectives gives you the chance to collaborate as a team and come up with new solutions that are outside the box. 


What Can I Do To Be Adaptable In The Workplace?

Staying adaptable means prioritizing your tasks, managing your time, and staying organized. When everything is equally important, you need to think carefully and decide which tasks need to take precedence over the others. You should start by making a list of all the tasks you need to complete. That way no task gets lost in the chaos. Next:  

  • Determine which tasks need immediate action based on deadlines. 
    • You should always give yourself enough time to complete tasks before the deadline. That way if any changes need to be made you have enough time to correct them. 
    • If you don’t have enough time in your workday to complete a task, it is advised to take it home and work on it. The reason behind this is because you need to keep the ball rolling. If another person is waiting on your portion of the task, you are now making them behind their schedule.  
  • Depending on the tasks, you may need to allocate time in your schedule to meet with various team members in other departments. Plan for this.
    • Since my role works with many departments, I always start my day by going through the work I currently have on my plate and finish up any loose ends. I normally try to finish tasks the same day they are assigned to me. I do this because then my team members are not waiting on me, I can have a clean slate at the end of the day, and I can accomplish more the next day.
    • I also check in with the various team members I am working with to let them know the status of the task I am on. If I am finished with the task, I move on to the next while they review or do their contribution to the project. 


Overall, practicing adaptability in the workplace means being able to handle changes to be successful. The more adaptable you are, the more productive you can be.  Many things in life and in the workplace don’t go as planned, which is why it is important to anticipate changes and have a plan to overcome them. Always remember to stay organized, ask for help if it is needed, and prioritize. With these tips, you can guarantee success in and out of the workplace and overcome any challenges that come your way.