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Remote Work

What are HR challenges associated with remote work?

Remote work has been around for many years, but it has typically been limited to certain categories of employees such as salespeople, consultants, field service technicians, and others who deliver services at multiple sites. In 2020, everyone who could work remote did for at least some portion of the year. Many will continue in a remote or hybrid central/remote capacity into the future.

Remote work is also sometimes called telework, work from home, WFH, telecommuting and virtual working. A hybrid workforce combines remote workers, hybrid workers and on-site workers. HR challenges in this new remote or hybrid model include:

  1. Paying employees accurately
  2. Helping employees stay focused
  3. Effective collaboration
  4. Maintaining accountability
  5. Employer oversight
  6. Optimum shift coverage
  7. Efficient and affordable administration
  8. Human resources allocation

How widespread is remote work?

Remote work is likely to remain a significant component of the workforce. 95% of office workers in the U.S. became regular telecommuters when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A June 2020 PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) survey found that 89% of executives expect more than 30% of employees will continue to work remotely at least one day a week post-COVID-19; 55% expect more than 60% to do so. 97% of North American office workers worked from home more than 1 day/week during the pandemic (88% globally); 67% had not worked remotely on a regular basis before COVID-19 (69% globally).

How can businesses ensure that employees are accurately paid for remote hours worked?

Employees paid by the hour must track hours worked. The simplest way to do this is to provide a timeclock connected to timekeeping software that calculates time between punches. Additional details such as position worked, location, mileage, and tips should also be captured as needed. Managers and employees can then easily review and approve the data for payroll processing.

Some companies only track hours for hourly workers. However, there are many benefits to tracking hours for salaried workers as well. You will ensure accurate PTO calculation, FMLA administration, client job billing and Human Resources analytics.

What is the best way to handle remote employee scheduling?

Flexible schedules and work locations can improve the employee experience. This, in turn, drives productivity. Many employees value flexibility as much as competitive pay and benefits.

What are the components of a strong remote work policy?

Components of a strong remote work policy should include eligibility, working environment, data security, confidentiality, FLSA compliance, schedule and availability. Remote work policies should be:

Designate someone to own remote work policy enforcement. Otherwise, the policy is meaningless.

How should processes be changed to accommodate remote work?

All processes should default to remote even for those who work in the office.

  • Offer parallel perks for onsite and offsite staff
  • Create team-building exercises that are fully inclusive
  • Use a good project management application to collaborate

How can businesses effectively manage remote work with flexible schedules?

Effectively managing remote employees requires transparency around hours worked each pay period. U.S. companies are accountable to the Department of Labor for every employee and every shift. A good time tracking app that everyone uses is your number one tool for labor law compliance and paycheck accuracy.

Apps with geofencing make timekeeping easy. GPS identifies the physical location of each punch in/out. Employee clocks in on an enabled, connected device and the system records their location. Geofencing gives supervisors additional oversight into work locations. If an employee punches in outside of a geofence, the manager is alerted that the punch is out of bounds.

How should PTO be handled for remote employees?

There are several aspects of PTO tracking that employers must get right. First, the PTO policy must be well documented and understood, including how time is accrued or allocated. Second, hours worked must be accurately captured to ensure that employees are working when scheduled and earning their PTO. Third, a PTO request process must make it easy to check PTO balances, submit a request, and receive manager approval. As part of that process, managers should have easy access to upcoming schedules to ensure that PTO requests do not adversely impact team work.

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