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Effective payroll process for a remote working world

By Debby Wale-Temowo
19 November 2021   |   1:14 am
As the ‘people officer’ in your organisation, are you already experiencing the changing work landscape and having conversations around competitive (remote) hiring and compensation, hybrid staffing, strict location mandates, and the likes?

As the ‘people officer’ in your organisation, are you already experiencing the changing work landscape and having conversations around competitive (remote) hiring and compensation, hybrid staffing, strict location mandates, and the likes?

If yours is a growing business, you probably are. If the grind is not at your doorstep yet, you should be interested in keeping up with current realities that may impact you sooner than may be envisaged.

Today, skilled employees have growing expectations around flexibility of work, office mobility and commuting. Traditional organisations are further impacted by the need to provide offices that are compliant with health and safety regulations post 2020 and these realities are getting harder to ignore.

It is interesting to note that despite the unemployment statistics in our locality, the expectations of skilled employees are on the rise; no thanks to the eye-opening possibilities revealed by remote working and available collaborative tools.

In developed climes, evidence from recent surveys show growing numbers of vacancies that employers are struggling to fill from localised talent pools due to changing career priorities.

Like it or not, the cascading impacts are being felt in the world as some employers are resorting to sourcing talents outside their immediate geographical areas. The growing number of successful foreign remote job hires around us are stark evidence. Some others are offering and trying out new work incentives to keep their workforce intact.

Progressive organisations are therefore better positioned to attract and retain the best talents when open to remote work options wherever possible. As the “New Normal” keeps unfolding, newer challenges questioning the traditional work mindset are unravelling and people managers must continue to find constructive futuristic responses.

One of the important response areas for consideration among several would be how well positioned your organisation is to effectively manage the operational requirements for a fully remote or hybrid workforce.

The hybrid work environment is here to stay, and the earlier organisations strategise and develop policies for its management, the better. There is a real advantage in being proactive rather than being reactive.

Payroll processing can quickly take on a new dimension once workers are dispersed to work remotely from different districts, states or even countries. Some of these complications did not exist when staff simply commuted within the same geographic contexts as their office.

Payroll for remote workers may affect taxes which are particularly important where employees’ location of residence has a direct impact on the tax. You need a payroll application that can accommodate tax computations and remittances across states and even internationally. Employees are required to meet state or local tax obligations at the minimum and may be looking to take advantage of tax relief options available based on their locality. People officers must ensure the systems they utilise enable them to manage employee peculiarities. Another area of impact is employee cost alignment. Have you been paying attention to the way corporate costs tied to employees have been altered with respect to energy and internet bandwidth consumption in the workplace? Is your employee compensation plan and the system that implements it malleable to accommodate remote employees working on their own power lunch, and internet cost, while finding alongside, ways to keep the office-based worker incentives? Moreover, many developing countries are now suffering from internal capital flight and remote work provides opportunities to receive multiple currencies. We now have foreign companies providing employment opportunities for individuals who do not even need to leave the country. But local employers in some sectors are also reversing the trend where they can also employ from similar countries. Will your current solution help you manage multicurrency employees?

Remote work also provides outsourcing options. Empowering your compensation team with a proven payroll solution may provide a viable solution where remote hires are concerned. But an option worth considering in response to rising challenges may be to outsource payroll partially or completely.

Another area of impact is staff demographics. An overview of staff spread countrywide may offer crucial peculiarities that may be location driven. This could also inspire increased purposeful workforce inclusion, larger spread, competitive hiring and open new business possibilities at minimal costs for organisations.

Remote work can also foster efficient work time-tracking. The challenge of tracking time and monitoring productivity in line with job descriptions to ensure salaries are matching work inputs is a reality with evolving solutions. You need a clear strategy and tools to maximise workforce inputs returns.

Lastly, you also need to put in legal considerations. This would probably be a good time to revisit the fine details of life insurance cover for the new workforce dynamics. As work environments, locations and conditions keep changing, so do the associated risks.


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