Payroll Done Remotely: Mistakes HR Should Avoid

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Although remote work was a burgeoning trend even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the spread of the virus in the past year virtually guarantees that remote work will remain a part of work-life forever—even after the pandemic. A Pew Research Center survey even reports that over half of American workers hope for remote work practices to continue even when the virus subsides. 

With remote work then unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon, it’s important for crucial functions like payroll to keep up. When face-to-face interactions aren’t an option, for example, how will HR managers settle concerns related to salary computations? How will HR keep track of attendance when so many employees are clocking in from their homes?

HR managers, whether new or seasoned, are still prone to making mistakes when operating payroll remotely. Below are just some of the ones HR should be especially diligent in avoiding. 

Using incompatible software

An inconvenient truth about technology is not all payroll programs are compatible. For instance, the program used for tracking employee attendance may be different from the program computing pay and benefits. This can lead to a host of inconsistencies in the final payroll computation and may cause more trouble than it’s worth. 

Alternatively, using compatible software can also mean one that complies with local laws, policies, and regulations. This saves HR departments precious time when computing each individual employee’s contributions for healthcare and tax. 

An obvious solution here then is to search for a software that houses multiple solutions under one comprehensive umbrella.

Neglecting a mobile option

Remote work for many means working from home. Although this may be true for many cases, some employees will choose to do their work in a cafe or a library instead. Others may even choose to work while simultaneously running various errands.

To be as flexible as possible, HR must allow employees to clock in even from their mobile phones. Fortunately, companies such as Workstem have extended their software to include a mobile app version of their product. Here, employees will be able to quickly sign-in/sign-out using just their phones and even keep track of important details like whether their attendance is accurately recorded. 

Workstem even has the added advantage of features like real-time sync, meaning info logged on the mobile app immediately transfers to the web version. The app even lays out scheduled leaves so managers can see which weeks more of their employees may not be around. 

Failing to track overtime

Although it’s different for every region, there are always regulations for HR to follow regarding overtime work. From India to France, governments all over the world have passed numerous legislation governing how much an employee should be paid for overtime, how many hours they can render, and so forth.

While the specifics may differ according to where a business operates, the varying statutes and exceptions that overtime laws provide for can make it a payroll process that is prone to mistakes. Here, the solution would be to have an attendance system that factors in local regulations and company policy.

Not having adequate data storage

While storing employee information online (instead of in physical locations such as filing cabinets) is a great move, it matters what kind of storage an HR department is using. 

Cloud storage offers several key benefits. One, cloud storage stores data on hosted servers, meaning it doesn’t take up space on work computers. This also allows for storage to become easily scalable and store thousands of files with no problem. Second, the fact that data is stored on servers makes information easily accessible from multiple devices. 

Payroll even without a pandemic to worry about is no easy task. Yet it’s exactly the presence of a pandemic that necessitates HR leaders to pivot and be more vigilant than ever, keeping up with the requirements of the day. Though it will be challenging, the scenarios listed above show it can be done. 


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