Once upon a pre-pandemic world, HR teams and managers didn’t need to worry about where and how employees were completing tasks – most of the time it was within a single office space. While remote work brought many successes for workers and managers alike, it also introduced challenges in compliance, security, consistency and payroll management.
Managers and HR teams are now faced with the effort of tracking workers’ locations, handling accessibility requirements and keeping up with all legal and tax needs for the states employees are working in – and that’s only the beginning.
Realities of a Hybrid Workforce
From 2005 to 2019 telecommuting workforces in the US grew 216%, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics, and that was before the pandemic saw this trend explode.
The pandemic normalized telecommuting, and workers took advantage of the new decentralized office structure. Many moved closer to families and away from cities once it became clear that remote work wasn’t about to go away. Companies generally benefited, with PwC’s survey showing that 83% of employers found remote work to be a success.
However, remote work isn’t without its challenges. Managers continue to handle relocation trends and accessibility difficulties, as well as the payroll and tax dilemmas brought on by mobile workforces.
Challenges of Managing a Multiple Location Workforce
Without workers under one roof, there was an immediate need for formalized structures to help employees continue their work and organizations to continue overall company productivity. This included connection to data through cloud-based tools as well as technology for every worker’s home office. Access to equipment ensured worker success; Pew Research Center reports that 87% of employees say the right technology made their job easier. Setting a workforce up to continue their valuable work doesn’t end with a company laptop, though.
A spread-out team meant that there was, and continues to be, less direct oversight and increased opportunities for errors – from onboarding to data security to payroll. Managers now face challenges in providing a consistent working experience for all employees, starting with the newest hire. Moving work online opened doors for cybercriminals to level up their threats, and training workers on security measures was made increasingly difficult with the inclusion of personal devices and at-home distractions.
One of the more challenging elements of remote work for HR and Payroll professionals is the need for consistent and reliable tax management solutions that take into account a mobile workforce and compliance changes. Some states responded to multiple location workforces by putting tax regulations on hold, while still others continue to require workers to pay taxes even if they work from another state. Multi-state taxation requirements differ between locations, and regulations around tax withholding and benefits are still in flux. Managers and HR teams are balancing business success with increased administrative work as they attempt to track their multiple location workforce.
Remaining Compliant and Consistent with a Distributed Workforce
The foundation for effective workforce management depends on the right tools to help managers do the job well. Employers need to be able to track where employees are working remotely, as well as keep tabs on how long they are operating in each space. New realities of hybrid workforce management require a thorough understanding of tax laws and reciprocity agreements between states. Employees working and living in different areas than their official work location shouldn’t send employers scrambling. It comes down to having the right tools to keep pace with these new and changing demands.
Employers need to be able to monitor multiple employee work locations for tax purposes. Rather than wade through state laws that may include double taxation or have reciprocal agreements with other states, HR managers should rely on a system that can automate the process. At the end of the day, it may not be possible to keep track of the numerous and nuanced state regulations, especially as many continue to shift. The last thing employers should be dealing with, however, are penalties for innocent mistakes in their tax filing systems. With a solution like CIC Plus’ new Multiple Address Form, employers can monitor the time spent working across multiple employee work locations for tax purposes without anything slipping through the cracks.
HR teams need a similarly straightforward solution when their remote workforces are straddling state-specific compliance requirements. There isn’t enough time in the day for your HR team to monitor every new regulation while implementing responding policies and forms. Mistakes are only natural in these circumstances. An automated workflow that handles these regulatory requirements, from onboarding to training, while keeping employees up to date on their obligations removes this administrative burden. The Compliance Library from CIC Plus does just that – ensuring every member of the workforce is receiving up-to-date state-mandated forms.
However, it’s not enough to simply deliver relevant documents to employees. Consistent communication is necessary at every step. Company-wide conversations were complex even before the decentralized workforce added cohesion challenges. Now, much of a business’s success – from payroll to security to accomplishing tasks – depends on distributing information smoothly across remote workforces. Combating security risks, for example, requires consistent and clear announcements and training protocols to keep every employee well versed in protecting data.
The additional challenges introduced by remote workforce management shouldn’t open workplaces to legal ramifications and penalties. The solution must streamline the payroll process, reducing backlogs and roadblocks while incorporating new legislation and updated forms. Tax Withholding Services from CIC Plus eliminates guesswork, handles mobile workforce taxation and eases the process. That means fewer headaches for your workers and your Payroll team.
Contact our team today to learn more.