Now there’s an abundance of opportunities to work remotely. Aside from connecting freelancers to work on particular projects, companies are now rethinking how they structure their workforce altogether.says Richard Harris from Okappy.

Using a remote workforce, when managed well, can enable a higher rate of productivity in the workplace. In an article in Tech Crunch Founder and CEO of Remote Year Greg Caplan said, “productivity has moved to the cloud; great work can be done anywhere. People are more creative and productive when they are inspired by their surroundings.”

Throughout history, remote working has only played a small part of the employment landscape. In the last few years however, and primarily driven by the growth of Internet enabled applications, flexible work conditions have improved dramatically. Now there’s an abundance of opportunities to work remotely. Aside from connecting freelancers to work on particular projects, companies are now rethinking how they structure their workforce altogether.

Work environments are now more flexible and customisable due to technological developments. The days of the 9-5 40-hour week with your entire team located in the same place are over. In a globalised and increasingly connected world, it is more likely that you will work in a company where some or even all of your colleagues will work off-site.

We take a look at 5 benefits of increasing flexibility in the workplace and how it will improve your company.

Access to the Best Talent

As you are not limited to a certain geographical area when hiring a remote workforce, the world is your oyster! This means you can choose the best talent out there. Social Media Platforms and Market Networks are great when it comes to talent pooling remote workers. For example AngelList connects startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. Honeybook is another example of a market network company that connects creative professionals to event organisers. Websites like People Per Hour are also a useful resource for finding freelancers. Most potential employees have Linkedin profiles nowadays. Manby also have their own personal website where they promote their portfolios and experience. Reviews, previous examples of projects and skill endorsements on LinkedIn are quick indicators to let you know if you are recruiting a remote workforce you can trust.

Creates a More Inclusive Work Culture

Despite having top level skills and expertise, many people may find that they don’t have access to certain industries or workplaces. This might be because they live far away, they have a disability or other. Allowing the option to work remotely enables a more flexible workplace; and one this is more accessible to a wider range of people. Diversity is now one of the most valued attributes to a company. Having a workforce from all around the world and from all walks of life will truly enrich your company’s ethos.

Saves Money on Facility costs

Often taking on new employees also means spending money on providing them with certain facilities and equipment in order for them to do the work for you. A study by collaboration software company PGi showed that when switching to telecommuting full time, a business could save $10,000 per employee per year in facilities management costs. Some companies like Automattic offer to pay their remote workforce the price of a coffee each day in order for them to work from a coffee shop with WiFi. This may seem like a kind gesture but it’s actually far cheaper than hiring an office space or even paying the membership fees for a co working space.

Costs Are Reduced For Employees

By working remotely, employees can also benefit from saving money. Whilst not only eliminating the hassle of commuting, employees aren’t obliged to spend large amounts of money each year to travel into work. They can also benefit from cheaper accommodation. Living nearby to work often means living in or nearby a city where rent and house prices can be extortionate!

Optimises Productivity

Allowing your staff to work remotely along with flexible working hours allows your employees to choose to work at a time when they are most productive. Different people find that they are more productive at different times of the day. Some people are natural early birds and find that they will have more bursts of energy in the early hours of the morning when they will be most productive. However, others find they are more inspired to complete their tasks towards the evening or at night. Remote working in combination with flexi-hours can really optimise the overall productivity of your business.

Remote working does not work in every scenario. IBM is one company in particularly who recently reversed a decision and brought roles back in house. You may feel concerned that if your workforce goes remote then you will lose track of what they are up to. However, innovative communication and collaborations platforms like Slack or Okappy have made it easier than ever before to keep on top of your workforce. With improved transparency and access to information, the risk of misunderstandings is dramatically reduced.

This new trend of remote working is seeing exponential growth as it reaps benefits for employers and employees alike. As millennials take over as the main workforce, demands for more customisable and flexible workplace are increasing. By offering remote and flexible working hours you’re opening out your chances of hiring highly qualified employees. Remote working improves inclusivity and diversity within a company, whilst also improving work/life balance. Overall remote workforce, when managed properly can lead to a happier and more productive team.