11 skills every flexible worker needs

Published on: Thu, 19 Jan 2023
By: Claire, redwigwam

Being a flexible worker often means working several different temporary jobs. It’s exciting because no two days are the same, and you get to try out lots of different jobs and workplaces, figuring out what you love – and what you don’t – along the way.

While you’ll learn a lot of job-related skills, there are also some essential, but more general skills every flexible worker needs. Recognising these skills and being able to demonstrate them on every job you do will make your life as a temp easier – and it’s likely you’ll find yourself more in demand for temp work!

Here’s our list of 11 skills every flexible worker needs.

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1) Adaptability

Part of the experience of being a flexible, or temporary worker is the huge variety it brings you. No two jobs are the same, and you get to experience a whole host of different job roles and working environments.

So, it almost stands to reason you need to be adaptable as a flexible worker.

Happy to slot into a new working routine. Happy to adapt your commute daily. Able to pivot quickly and learn new skills as needed.

2) Willing to learn

Following swiftly on – as a flexible worker you’ll need to be willing to learn.

Yes, you may have done a similar role before, but it won’t be the same. So, you’ll need to be able to learn quickly, and be happy to commit to what may be a new way of working.

Treat each job as an opportunity to learn new skills and embrace the opportunities for growth and upskilling.

Think of all the wonderful new skills you will be able to add to your CV, which will help you stand out when you are applying for new jobs in the future.

3) Communication

Communication is a key skill for most jobs. Whatever you’re doing, you need to be able to communicate with colleagues, your manager, or your customers.

Employers like it when a temporary worker asks questions – it shows they are paying attention and are on the same page as the rest of the team.

But equally, don’t forget listening is an important communication skill too. Pay attention to what you are being told – you won’t be asked back if you need to be told the same thing multiple times.

4) Teamwork

As a temporary worker, you’ll be working with lots of different people in new situations. Now, you don’t have to be best friends with all of them, but it will help if you get on!

Working as a team leads to a more productive and efficient workplace. You learn from each other, drawing on each other’s skills and experiences and get the job done more smoothly.

Rather than feeling like the new person every time you begin a new assignment, instead think about what you can bring to the team – and how your skills can help get the job done.

Remember you can connect with the people you have worked with on LinkedIn – it’s a great way to raise your profile, and they may well recommend you for work in the future.

5) Enthusiasm

No one wants a colleague who looks miserable and moans about everything all day. So don’t be that person!

As a temp, you’re only there for a short period of time – so make the most of it. Stay positive about the tasks you are given, and don’t moan – even if your colleagues are. Think about the skills you are learning – or even the money you are earning!

6) Resilience

Resilience is about how you cope when faced with adversity and how quickly you recover from a difficult situation. Maybe something isn’t going as it should – this could be while you are at work, or even having a job cancelled or changed at late notice.

Do you rise above it and get on with things? Or do you let everything get on top of you and find you are only able to focus on the negatives?

Building resilience doesn’t make the bad stuff go away. But it does enable you to work through the difficulties by tacking them head on and working through the challenges.

Not everyone has the same level of natural resilience, but it can be learned and developed if it doesn’t come naturally.

Some tips for building resilience.

  • Break the problem into smaller chunks and focus on small changes
  • Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions – and acknowledge them
  • Ask for help/support and make sure you have people you can trust and confide in
  • Remember you can’t control everything. Don’t focus on changing things you can’t control, instead, focus on what you can control
  • Try and maintain good mental and physical health
  • Believe in yourself
  • Try not to judge other people and don’t bear grudges

7) Quick thinking

Being able to grasp new ideas and ways of working quicky will serve you well as a flexible worker.

It’s likely you’ll be doing a variety of different jobs in different businesses and working with different people.

This means being able to adapt to new situations quickly, and slotting in to how the team works.

BUT it doesn’t mean you should act without thinking at all. Quick thinkers can usually look at all aspects of a situation and assess the best route to follow quickly. They don’t tend to be reckless in their decisions, trusting their instincts and not overthinking their decisions.

So as a flexible worker, trust yours!

8) Being calm under pressure

This is an essential skill for most jobs – but when things feel like they are going wrong, there’s no point in losing your head. Having the ability to remain calm in all circumstances is a powerful tool to have in your toolbox.

Maybe it’s an especially busy shift. Perhaps customers are being more demanding than usual. Are you having to cover for a colleague?

Whatever the reason, it can feel stressful.

But don’t panic. Take some deep breaths. Find a quiet space for a moment or two if you need to. Break your tasks down into manageable chunks and tackle them one at a time.

You’ll feel more in control – and this will in turn allow you to make better decisions and think more clearly.

Remember though – if it does all seem too much, please don’t just struggle on, but instead, talk it out. Your line manager is usually the best person to speak to. Explain what you are finding difficult and work with them to resolve the issues.

9) Tech minded

When you’re working several different temporary jobs, the likelihood is you’ll be operating across several different tech platforms. If you’re tech minded and open to trying different platforms (and remembering how they work), you’ll be at a huge advantage to getting up to speed when you start a new assignment.

Remember, you can always ask for help if a platform is new to you – these things are rarely as complicated as they look. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and allow a little time to get to grip with the tech!

10) Receptive to feedback

As a temp worker, it always pays to ask for feedback after you’ve finished a job. Find out what you did well, and where you could improve next time. It means you’ll be better prepared the next time you’re offered a similar role.  

At redwigwam, you’ll receive a star rating from the hirer after you have completed a role. Our 4- and 5-star workers are matched to jobs first, meaning doing a good job gives you first refusal on future roles.

11) Open-minded

It’s important to keep an open mind in all jobs you’ll do – but as a flexible worker, you’re likely to be offered a huge variety of temporary jobs – and often in a sector you’re not familiar with.

It always pays to be open-minded. Why not give a role a try, even if it is something you haven’t considered before?

It’s a great way to figure out what you do – and don’t – enjoy, and a variety of different jobs and the associated skills will look amazing on your CV.

As a temporary, or flexible worker, your work life can be unstable, with periods of loads of work, then weeks when things are a little quieter. While it can be tempting to seize every opportunity which comes your way, do make sure you are being realistic about what you are taking on. Don’t over commit, and then let an employer down – and try to maintain a decent level of work-life balance whenever possible. It’s hugely important for your mental health and well-being.


Looking for a more flexible way to work?

Nine to five doesn't exist in our world. Join redwigwam and find work that fits in around your lifestyle.