Remote Working Best Practices From HR

May 7, 2020 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Remote work has become the new normal for global payroll professionals and pretty much all office-based employees right now. COVID-19 has changed the way we work, communicate and interact with each other. Deadlines still need to be met and essential deliverables remain the top priority-it is simply now a case that things are being delivered in a remote working environment.

New normal

It is not clear yet how long this global pandemic will continue to dictate remote working alternatives to the office. Any return to normal office working is likely to be phased and it will also vary between countries and regions. All this mean that for now work from home and remote delivery will continue and it therefore a good idea to implement some best practices for remote team members.

This will help establish a set of consistent patterns between remote work colleagues who normally interact with each other in the office. If teams like global payroll professionals operate to similar remote working standard practices, this will enable consistency in service delivery and maintain a certain level of discipline during this period of remote working.

HR guidance

HR teams at multinationals around the world are providing some important remote working practices and guidelines to their disparate teams of remote workers in an attempt to provide some much-needed order and structure around employee working days. These are unprecedented times so a certain level of leeway is needed when it comes to best practices for team members. An acknowledgment that daily life will often interfere with the best laid plans. People have families and responsibilities which need attention in the home- now that the home has become the office, these lines merge and blur to make things a little more complicated. A fair degree of patience and flexibility is required to make this work – but attitude and application can go a long way.

Working from home best practices

The below set of guidelines can be very useful in establishing daily patterns that help with focus, productivity and prioritizing tasks.

  • Create a space: Do your best to find an area of the home where interruptions can be kept to a minimum -then set up whatever you need; desk, phone, stationery and laptop
  • Remote Access: Make sure you understand exactly how to access all the data, files and documents you need to do your job. Speak to your manager about authorizations and remote access to the cloud environment if applicable.
  • Manage your diary: Arrange your working day around your diary, planned phone or video calls and task list. Treat things much like you would do in the office and you will soon find yourself in the office mindset.
  • Communicate: Family and home obligations will inevitably interfere with your working day-keep colleagues aware of times when you will be away from your desk-it helps them to plan their day. It might be more productive if you align your working hours with those of the colleagues you tend to interact with the most -look into this.
  • Focus on clarity: Some clarity is inevitably lost in the non face-to-face environment-video conferencing technology is not always perfect so double check with colleagues in meetings that they have fully understood anything that you have said.
  • Stay in view: Participate in chats, video calls and group activities- people want to hear from you and know that you are around. This is also an opportunity to provide support for other colleagues who need it. Be present and available- teamwork does not stop in a remote environment. Speak up, ask for help and offer support.
  • Co-ordinate: Be mindful of the time difference when it comes to colleagues located in different countries. Aim to have meetings during times when colleague availability overlaps and be flexible when it comes to early or late meeting times.

 

Payslip

The Payslip platform has proven to be useful to all our clients who are currently involved in the remote delivery of global payroll due to coronavirus. It is a cloud-based environment so many of our clients are accessing pay run data and business continuity procedure plans from file storage folders hosted in the cloud. They are also taking advantage of the task switching functionality within the platform- enforced colleague absence has created a need for them to switch or allocate tasks across countries and time zones.

The platform also helps when it comes to running additional reports around payroll- these reports can be scheduled and customized remotely and then delivered through the leadership teams who need them at present to manage costs during the pandemic. The single view dashboard which can be accessed by multiple users remotely is also very helpful when it comes to control and visibility over a multi country global payroll process.

 

A new company culture

COVID-19 may have forced remote working upon many office-based employees but there are some indications, that despite some inconvenience, this remote work environment is working quite well. This will likely lead many multinational employers to consider what if any value exists in introducing remote working on a full- time basis in the future. COVID-19 will pass, and things will return to normal but what if remote work starts to become part of a new company culture. It has already existed on some level, but the focus has usually been on creating flexibility or perks for specific employees.

Now, it may be considered in the light of other things such as office space availability and opportunities to save on expensive rents by deploying a certain percentage of the workforce to be remote workers on a long-term basis.  Employees with families and strong home-based obligations may be strongly in favor of such remote work initiatives – it is likely that at the very least conversations on the subject of remote team structures will become widespread later in the year. HR teams planning for the future may well begin taking a closer look at their current remote working policies and examining what scope there is to change these policies in order to give team members more autonomy, flexibility and empowerment.

HR teams are also keeping one eye on the future and how best to ease teams back into the office after a prolonged period of absence and remote working. Coronavirus lockdown restrictions will vary from country to country and there will likely be a scenario where only a limited percentage of the workforce will be allowed to return to the office due to social distancing restrictions and limitations. HR need to be prepared for this and have a set of guidelines in place outlining clearly the protocol for deciding which employees return to the office and which may continue working from home. Facilities, office space and public health guidelines will factor into the decision making here but it is a topic of consideration among team members in HR departments.

Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest