COVID-19 has accelerated a trend that was already reshaping our economy: remote work is here to stay.
Here are some key findings from the 2020 State of Remote Work report:
- 70% of full-time workers in the US are working from home during the pandemic.
- 77% of respondents say the option to work from home would make them happier.
- 80% of full-time workers expect to work from home at least three times per week after workspaces reopen.
The data is clear: If you want to retain and attract talent, you need to be ready to manage a partially remote workforce.
Managing a remote workforce comes with its own set of challenges. Compliance requirements, logistical considerations, and cultural issues all mean you’ll need to make some adjustments to do it successfully.
Watch the full episode here
Remote Workforce Compliance Requirements
There are no laws that apply to remote workplaces specifically, but the change in logistics means there are some additional compliance risks you should watch out for.
Logging hours and preparing paychecks
Boundaries between work and home life are easy to confuse when working from home. Your employees might be racking up work, and even overtime, that they aren’t being paid for.
“What’s the big deal?” You ask.
Unpaid wages can come back to bite you big time once the employee is on their way out the door. Avoid future headaches by creating clear guidelines for employees to log their work.
Make sure you’re paying remote employees at least minimum wage. Be aware that some cities and counties have higher minimum wages than the state they are located in. In general, as with most employment laws, you should follow the law that is most beneficial to the employee.
Remote employees are entitled to the same breaks and rest periods required by law that they would have if they were in their normal workplace.
Other critical compliance topics
These are by no means the only compliance issues you need to plan for. Other important ones include:
- Unique workplace harassment issues with remote work and how to avoid them
- Handling workplace poster requirements
- FMLA eligibility
- Verifying I-9s
- Managing equipment needs
You can find tips and instructions on all of these in our full guide here.
Creating a Remote Work Policy
Although some businesses will be comfortable sending everyone home with a laptop and hoping people stay productive, you’ll probably want to be a little more specific.
Here are some things a good remote work policy should address:
- Eligibility for remote work
- The process for submitting requests to work from home
- Productivity standards
- Security expectations
- Hours of work
- How and when employees should be in contact with managers or subordinates
- Alcohol and drug use
Clear guidelines can help avoid confusion, manage expectations, and increase productivity.
Using Video Conferencing, Messaging, and other Communication Apps
Limit the number of apps people need to use and standardize practices around them. The more apps employees have to use to collaborate on projects, communicate with coworkers, and receive important information from the company, the more likely things are to be missed.
Translating culture to a remote environment
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is how to translate company culture to virtual collaboration. Adapting work processes is usually easy. But adapting the rituals and interactions that cultivate connection and collaboration can be difficult.
Here are some tips:
Tip 1: Virtual hang out spaces
You might not be able to run into someone in the kitchen anymore, but you can recreate this experience virtually by making a video conferencing room or messaging channel for people to pop in when they have some downtime.
Tip 2: Random “speed dates”
Use a software program that randomly pairs employees for short, virtual chats where they can get to know each other.
Tip 3: Reimagine company rituals
Whether it’s happy hours, birthday celebrations, or Q&A’s with company executives, challenge yourself to adapt your company’s culture and rituals to a remote setting.
For more tips on cultural issues, including how to think about adapting your workplace for the future, download the full Remote Work Guide here.
Managing A Remote Team
Join Matt & Karen at ERG Payroll & HR as they discuss leading a remote team. They discuss how ERG handles their remote team as well as some opportunities for improvement.
Some of the topics covered in this episode:
- Performance management
- Keeping people engaged
- And much more…
Learn how ERG Payroll & HR manages their remote team by listening to the recent podcast on HR. Simplified.
Most small business owners know that great HR is a “must” to growing their company.
Yet every one of our hundreds of clients has struggled with HR compliance and best practices.
We provide all-in-one HR services including payroll, employee benefits, and compliance so that you can focus on running your business.