To say that 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement. Businesses in every conceivable niche and industry have had to make significant adjustments to adapt to the pandemic world. At the time of writing, there are promising signs regarding the development and deployments of vaccines; but these won’t solve the problem on their own. Even with viable vaccines on our side, it will take some time to defeat COVID-19.
Of the many changes that businesses have had to make to continue trading throughout the pandemic, the shift towards remote working has been one of the most common. At this point, just about every business that is in a position to enable remote working has done so.
Remote working has been around for some time now; it was introduced along with the advent of cloud technology. But many employers have been slow to embrace the practice. Even with COVID-19 in full swing, plenty of employers have only embraced remote working begrudgingly.
The impacts of the remote working shift on our payroll aren’t immediately obvious, especially for small businesses. But the change has affected payroll in several ways, both directly and indirectly. Here are some of the key ways in which remote working is changing to rules and procedures that payroll departments need to follow.
Distribution of Payslips
Distributing payslips to your workers is easy when they are located in the same building as your payroll department. But things get more complicated when you are trying to manage things remotely. If your employees are working from home, you will need to send your payslips to employees’ homes. This adds additional complexities and costs to the process.
Employees will usually inform their employers of their address when they start working for them. But it isn’t uncommon for workers to move to a new address without informing their employer. This can easily lead to payslips being sent to the wrong address. If your business is moving to remote working for some or all employees, it is essential to verify their addresses before you start sending out payslips.
Aligning Payroll With Leave
To process payroll properly, you need to know exactly who is working and who is taking their annual leave. When employees are in the office and have facetime with managers, it’s easy to establish who’s working as normal and who is taking holiday leave or time off. But when a significant portion of your workforce is working from home, keeping track of their status becomes more complicated.
You will need to agree on a protocol with your managers and workers to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to calculating work hours. Any discrepancies between the number of hours an employee works and the number of work hours they are paid for can be difficult to resolve.
Reconciling Your Figures
Just as accurately establishing the precise number of hours that your employees work becomes more complicated with remote working arrangements, ensuring that the information you are using for the current pay period is accurate can be equally challenging. This is another issue that naturally arises when your managers and workers are working from different locations; the correct figures need to be passed between workers and managers and then on to your HR department.
Establishing a reliable procedure for transmitting data between the relevant individuals and departments in your business will help to mitigate any issues arising from dropped internet connections or other technical issues that can make obtaining reliable figures on-time more difficult.
The switch to remote working has created numerous challenges for businesses. Some of these challenges are immediate and obvious, but others are more subtle. The impact of remote working on your payroll is something that plenty of businesses have underappreciated and are only now beginning to wake up to. Working with a reliable payroll provider will help to mitigate some of these issues, but you need to consider your internal processes as well.
We consider ourselves experts in payroll. Woodville Accountancy has been at the forefront of digital accounting solutions and never before has there been as much need for them. If you’re concerned or even just confused about your options, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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