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Summary:

The growing lifestyle business movement presents a staff retention issue for businesses. However, by taking some of the elements that make lifestyle businesses so attractive, such as freedom and flexibility, and offering them to their employees, employers can mitigate that risk.

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Lifestyle businesses are becoming more popular. The idea is that an individual can create a business that allows for their choice of lifestyle, as well as funds it. Whether the founder’s priority is to travel, have flexible hours or pursue some other passion on the side, lifestyle businesses can be incredibly attractive.

The growing lifestyle business movement has an impact on more than just those people ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship. It can also present a staff retention issue for businesses: For every employee wanting to start a lifestyle business, an employer risks losing a valuable team member. However, by taking some of the elements that make lifestyle businesses so attractive, such as freedom and flexibility, and offering them to their employees, employers can mitigate that risk.

Why Not “Lifestyle Employment?”

Some organizations, particularly those that rely on employees who might be likely to pursue a lifestyle business, could profit by offering “lifestyle employment.” It would need to offer the same sort of benefits as a lifestyle business, such as flexibility, and perhaps consist of telecommuting and flexible work arrangements. But, crucially, lifestyle employment can guarantee a stable income — something a fledgling lifestyle business cannot.

Employers should be considering this staff retention issue. There’s a good chance that the best employees — those who take the initiative, work creatively and get things done — have already at least considered what it would take to strike out on their own.

Opportunities

Providing lifestyle employment-style benefits is not just a question of keeping your employees happy and productive — although that’s certainly a major consideration. Look at the reasons employees might leave to start a lifestyle business; those reasons can present opportunities for an employer if used creatively in a lifestyle employment arrangement. For example, perhaps a particular employee’s passion is travel. Making sure that individual has the opportunity to trot the globe as he pleases could mean he’ll bring you new ideas, new clients and new opportunities you’ve never heard of.

Thinking in terms of lifestyle employment may be a stretch for many organizations. But done right — giving your employees some of the freedom they’re looking for along with a little information on how they can use that freedom to your advantage — it may make a world of difference in your business.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Paull Young

  1. Until reading your article, I didn’t realize that I am gainfully “lifestyle-employed!” I have a flexible-schedule telecommuting job with http://www.FlexJobs.com (it’s a website that helps job seekers find this type of employment) and it definitely fits my lifestyle well. First of all, I can take my work with me which is incredibly important because my husband gets transferred for work every year. Secondly, it fits my passions like travel, being outdoors, and not sitting at a desk for too long. I choose when and where I work, and as long as my boss sees consistent quality and production in my work, I’m all set! Talk about a win-win for employees and employers. Great article!

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  2. I love your site, your writing and blogs. I am a big Fan visiting every day and sharing your links and stories to my audiences and social media groups.

    This post is just spot on. I LOVE It!!

    I have done something to fulfill this Lifestyle demand in Australia and New Zealand.

    Lifestyle Careers (launched July 2009) is an online recruitment job board. Our niche and specific focus is the advertising of flexible employment and work at home positions.

    By specialising in these groups, we provide access to a motivated group of job seekers who are looking to work flexibly and in less traditional ways. These people have made a decision to seek employment with elements of flexibility that will suit unique requirements. They are driven to work for organisations with a more modern outlook.

    The world of work is changing; shifting demographics mean more employees are seeking flexibility to fit around caring responsibilities, or simply questioning the traditional 9-5 working pattern. Today’s employees demand greater flexibility from employers than ever before.

    It is all about Work. Life. Balance.

    I embrace job flexibility and I am a huge advocate in promoting working from home and telecommuting.

    If you are an Australian or New Zealander please visit http://www.lifestylecareers.com.au to see what Lifestyle Jobs are available for you.

    If you are a Mum looking to work from home please visit out sister site Work At Home Mums http://www.workathomemums.com.au (launched in 2007 and currently undergoing a huge upgrade and new look). Work At Home Mums is the leading website that supports Australian & New Zealand home based professionals.

    Keep up the great work Gigaom.

    Hello Flex Jobs – I love your site

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  3. Great information and insight. I wish more companies encouraged their employees to come up with creative endeavors that have long or short ROI, create good will, or help with engagement. I respect companies with that vision.

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  4. Unfortunately most companies are too narrow minded to think creatively like this. This is the thinking found in a top tier multi national clients and they also usually reserve this level of flexibility only for their very top tier performers… Probably rightfully so.

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  5. Unfortunately most companies are too narrow minded to think creatively like this. This is the thinking found in a top tier multi national companies and they also usually reserve this level of flexibility only for their very top tier performers… Probably rightfully so.

    Share

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