If it seems like you’ve been seeing and hearing the phrase “workplace flexibility” everywhere lately, you’re right. Though the term was first coined back in the ’70s and women have been advocating for flexibility for years, it’s only just now gaining mainstream recognition as a strategic talent and business solution. Yet many people are still unsure what flexibility really means.

Workplace flexibility is not a lifestyle perk like free cereal or discounted gym membership, and it does not alter a job’s scope of responsibilities or expected results. Flexibility is a set of agreed upon terms between an employee and their employer at the outset of an employment arrangement that is used to modify and enhance traditional work structures in order to create compatibility between the needs of the employee and the objectives of the employer. And when it’s negotiated in a standardized context, it normalizes the conversation around flexibility and eliminates the bias or discomfort many people, especially women, tend to feel during the interview and hiring process.

By implementing strategic flexibility policies, companies can not only attract, retain, and advance more talented employees, but they can also help their bottom lines. Here are seven ways flexibility can be used to both strengthen and diversify your business:

  • When employees have access to flexibility, the result is higher productivity and better results.

  • Employees with flexibility are more loyal and less likely to quit.

  • Companies with meaningful numbers of women in leadership improve by every metric.

  • Gender diverse organizations are 15 percent more likely to outperform their peers.

  • Women-led companies tend to have better working conditions and fewer layoffs.

  • Companies that prioritize the advancement of women gain favorable recognition in the press and on social media.

  • Studies estimate that closing the corporate gender gap could boost the U.S. economy by $2.1 trillion.

Are you ready to get on board with flexibility and hire the most talented professionals in the workforce? Learn more here.