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.
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.