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The world of work is an entirely different landscape from just 10 years ago, and it is no revelation to say so. Even basic elements such as the hours and location of work have altered dramatically.

As workers are increasingly expected to be always responsive and 'on-call', the 9 to 5 is no longer seen as the default option for business. Smartphones, tablets and the availability of high speed internet from a number of locations have also meant that professionals are connected to the world of work at all times with increasing intermingling of personal and work life.

So, it should come as no surprise that traditional working hours are no longer the most productive, according to the latest report commissioned by Regus. The research canvassed over 22,000 senior managers and business owners across the globe, including 715 Canadians, asking them where and when they are most productive.

The research indicates that it is outside of office hours, before the onslaught of traffic, e-mails, meetings and phone calls, that office workers feel they can achieve the most work. In particular the survey found that, in Canada it is the early bird that catches the worm as over half of the respondents (51 per cent) saying early morning is their most productive time of day, compared to the standard nine to five (37 per cent).

As hours of work expand to suit the changing nature of the working day, remote working has become a common occurrence with many Canadian businesses. According to research, 76 per cent say they have seen a rise in remote working in the past five years.

Millennials are driving the new work force. We all know that technology has changed the workplace, but there's another work transformation going on. The millennial generation of workers has such different expectations and mindsets that it will influence the way everyone works. Companies need to manage people differently, and older workers will have to learn from their younger colleagues.

A go-getting generation. Today's young workers have a conspicuous can-do attitude. They're familiar with 20-something dot-com millionaires, and they know they can launch their own business empire with just a laptop and an internet connection. Hence why Canadians are seeing a rise in freelancers (54 per cent) and self-employed (70 per cent) compared to just five years ago according to the report.

Flexibility is essential. In such a world, employers have to be more flexible. If younger workers are motivated by the desire to work at times and places that suit them, managers should let them do it, giving them the option to work at convenient drop-in work spaces, business centre and lounges – as long as they produce the required output and results. Eight-four per cent of businesses globally say that flexible working improves productivity (81 per cent in Canada) so giving the Millennials the freedom they desire can benefit the bottom line.

Back in 2011, only four out of 10 businesses said the senior staff were trusted to have the option to work flexibly. If those enterprises haven't already opened up flexible working practices to their more junior and younger staff in the intervening four years, they may face staff recruitment and retention problems in future.

Supporting the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Another characteristic of the millennials is their interest in entrepreneurship. But for all their go-getting spirit, the fact remains that entrepreneurship is challenging. Millennial entrepreneurs need support – mentoring, networking opportunities, help with red tape, access to finance, perhaps the chance to pursue their projects under the umbrella of their current employer.

Many of today's young startups are easing into business, but as they grow, they may need to step up to business premises – often a pain point for these cash-strapped companies, as it uses up working capital or locks them into high fixed overheads.

Virtual offices and flexible workplaces will ease the millennials' transition from freelancer or bedroom entrepreneur to fledgling business owners. They can gain a good business address and the option to use meeting rooms and workspace without having to commit capital upfront or take on fixed leases. They can outsource much of the work of managing and staffing the office, cut down on paperwork, and keep the freedom they believe is so important.

Wayne Berger is the vice-president of Regus Canada. Regus is the global workplace provider with 70 business centres across Canada. Follow Wayne Berger @wayneberger and the company at @RegusCanada.

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