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The future of work has become a hot topic in recent years. With the rise of the gig economy, an increase in available freelance job platforms and advancements in artificial intelligence, the way we define work is quickly changing. One of the key questions being asked by employers and employees today is: Do we actually need to be in an office from 9-5, five days a week? In short, no, we really don’t.

The combination of online communication tools, and an increasingly digital workforce, has created an environment that both supports and encourages remote work. Allowing employees has also shown to have to have positive effects on overall productivity, and work-life satisfaction. Companies that promote remote work are setting a new standard for what both employees and employers have come to expect from their professional relationships.

1. Room for innovation

Companies that allow their employees to work remotely are heading in the right direction when it comes to being more innovative. Non-traditional approaches to work invites flexibility and creativity. Having a remote workforce introduces companies to a diverse playing field of professionals they wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, remote employees who are based in coworking spaces have contact with a community freelancers and other remote workers from various backgrounds. For employers who are taking on new projects, or on the lookout for a highly skilled freelancer to join their team, access to a global workforce is priceless.

In addition to growing and diversifying networks, remote work also leaves a lot more room for both employers and employees to share their thoughts and ideas freely. The more traditional methods of engaging in meetings, filling out reports, is not only boring, but hampers creativity for everyone involved.

2. Increased production

Believing that having your employees under close watch in the same place day in and day out five days a week will ensure productivity has proven to be false, time and time again. Even if we love our jobs, it’s been shown that we tend to love them a little bit less when feeling forced to go into an office everyday. In fact, employees who were asked if being allowed to work remotely helped them to be more productive, gave a resounding “yes!”.

Rather than being limited to an office that is chock full of potential distractions like being interrupted by coworkers, or having to attend mandatory (often unnecessary meetings), remote workers can identify what works best for them. Whether that means working eight hours straight, or taking a break every 15 minutes, as long as the job gets done, anything goes.

3. Autonomy is key

Companies that allow their employees to work remotely understand that we have other things to do besides work. This doesn’t mean remote workers won’t dedicate time to their jobs, it means they have the flexibility to incorporate personal tasks into their daily lives, Overall, remote work gives employees more choice, resulting in a better work-life balance. Employees that have more autonomy are happier overall, when compared to their 9-5 counterparts.

An increase in flexibility in the working day also plays a major role in helping working parents stay in the workforce. Allowing parents to stay at home, or join a communal workspace that provides childcare, gives more working mothers and fathers the chance to continue working, decreasing their chances of falling out of the workforce.

4. Make Better use of your time (and money!)

Companies that are considering making the shift from static to remote work, will be pleased to know that they should expect to save a few dollars. Even if employers permitted to work remotely part time, they would still save by reducing overhead costs like rent and utilities payments. While having a fully remote staff might be a bit more complicated at first, it would certainly slash costs dramatically.

In fact, remote work saves everyone a bit of cash overall. For employees, working remotely slashes commuter costs, and daily lunch and coffee breaks, which can sneak up on you.