At Werk, we often get asked if flexible jobs are the same as gigs—but they aren’t the same. Not even close. In fact, they are decidedly different.

The gig economy is a labor market of short-term contracts and freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. And while gigging is flexible in nature, it is not the same as strategic workplace flexibility. Strategic workplace flexibility modifies and enhances traditional full-time work by building flexibility into the structure of that work. Unlike gigging, strategic workplace flexibility does not mean a change in scope, responsibilities, or expected results.

When you think about the structure of work today, it's supported by two distinct tentpoles: on one side, there’s the traditional full-time job that really hasn’t changed since the post-World War II, single-income household era; and on the other, there’s the gig economy, which is often a failing proposition for caregivers due to high fixed costs like child care, fluctuating revenue, and a limited opportunity to turn social capital into a promotion.

Strategic workplace flexibility is a permanent change that occupies the space between these two tentpoles. And this isn’t just good for employees—flexibility is great for businesses too because it better positions them to access the critical talent pools that require flexibility, like women, caregivers, and millennials.