Almost as soon as the pivot to remote work happened at the start of the pandemic, people began speculating that the change might be here to stay. This gave way to differing opinions on whether remote work is really the best way forward. Some companies fully embraced the switch as a permanent change early on, foreseeing benefits such as improved cash flow via reduced real estate footprint and wider access to talent by removing geographic constraints, while others held firm that it kills culture, harms productivity, and stalls innovation.
Disruption over the last year has empowered many organizations and workforces to make rapid decisions to adapt to change more easily. Moving forward, employers should not expect work environments and practices to snap back to a pre-pandemic reality. As companies gear up for the return to work, some workforces will stay fully remote, some will return fully to the office, and others will embrace a hybrid approach. In a soon to be released Ceridian study, we found 27% of organizations are currently working in a hybrid model, while 34% are working remotely. Looking ahead in the next two years, half of organizations expect a more permanent move to hybrid work with 71% planning to hire more remote employees. This means that remote work is no longer an option for many firms – it’s a requirement to gain access to the right talent.
Here’s a four-part playbook to help overcome the challenges of a hybrid work model so organizations can keep on top of compliance, gain access to the right talent, and create a better experience for their people.
As the pandemic spread around the globe, many employees moved farther away from the city to protect the health and safety of themselves and their families. In a post-pandemic world of work, some organizations are even implementing ‘work from anywhere’ policies for people in appropriate roles within their workforce.
While firms now have access to more talent, they will need to handle the nebulous tax and compliance scenarios that arise from having people in multiple jurisdictions. In addition to keeping track of where employees are working from to determine the appropriate regional tax rules, employers will also need to understand how often employees are coming into the office, and which office they’re working from. For example, someone living in Connecticut may be commuting to the office in Manhattan two or three days a week. Each of these locations has different taxation rules, so employers would need to accurately track and apply these to maintain compliance.
Many employees in more modernized industries, such as the tech sector, already experienced a hybrid work model prior to the pandemic; however, adopting it is a new challenge for firms that have traditionally required their people to come in to a physical location. These organizations may need additional support and tools to handle the administrative burden of increased compliance complexity associated with the hybrid work model. Investing in the right payroll and tax software can help organizations manage compliance as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, and deliver a more consistent pay experience for employees.
Watch the webinar: The impact of a hybrid work model
The war for talent has been reignited coming out of the pandemic. According to the Wall Street Journal, job openings were up 34% in March 2021, compared to January 2020, and Microsoft’s Work Trend Index found more than 40% of people globally are considering leaving their employer this year. Organizations can take advantage of the increased number of candidates by expanding their talent searches beyond their immediate geographic locations. Employers can now source more candidates to find the best fit without having a regional constraint.
Offering hybrid work options can also help organizations attract the best talent. It affords employees more flexibility, as well as reduced commute times in many cases, which can contribute to overall employee satisfaction with work/life balance. It may also give employees more options for where they can choose to live.
As the workforce becomes increasingly dispersed and employees are able to live farther from the office, firms will be competing with other organizations for in-demand talent. Innovative recruiting software can help employers find talent, quickly send out offers, and get new hires up to speed faster. An efficient recruiting process can also signal to candidates that the company is committed to investing in the employee experience, as these early interactions foreshadow what candidates can expect once they’re hired on.
Hybrid work can mean less face-to-face time in the office, which may create communication barriers. Without the right digital technology to keep a pulse on the workforce, it will be hard for leaders to gauge employee sentiment, engagement, and work satisfaction, which can contribute to a more disconnected workforce.
Organizations can create a more inclusive experience for remote and hybrid employees by learning what employees need and identifying challenges as they arise. This can be accomplished by surveying employees, and leveraging employee engagement software that can make it easier to do so at a regular frequency. These technologies can help firms improve their retention strategies by identifying problem areas and providing data to make more strategic decisions. Employee sentiment and analysis tools can also help organizations understand employees’ stress levels, and measure the impact of any changes or new programs.
Leaders can also better connect with their workforce to ensure everyone is well informed on company news and policies, and that employees have the right resources available to them when they need it – such as training courses and employee handbooks. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees feel they’re missing out on company news and information. Online information hubs can help to create a central place for all employees to access important information curated from across the organization, helping to connect people together. The result is even better if these can be personalized.
Working remotely is a significant benefit that may even help employees enjoy lower transportation and housing costs. Employers should consider rethinking their existing compensation strategies and potentially factor hybrid work into employees’ total rewards packages. Gaining a more holistic view of payroll data across the organization can help leaders make more informed pay decisions to ensure all employees are being paid fairly and accurately, every time – no matter where they’re working from.
Organizations can also provide their workforce with greater transparency when it comes to how their pay is determined. Access to competitive salary benchmarking data for a particular role is a key part in providing this transparency as it arms recruiters and managers with the data they need to have conversations around how total rewards packages are structured in this new world of work.
As we enter a post-pandemic world, leaders must be able to overcome the challenges of flexible work to maximize its benefits for employees and the business. This starts with putting the workforce at the center of everything – from recruiting and onboarding to engagement and compensation. Innovative human capital management solutions can help employers build a better experience for a dispersed workforce. In fact, during the pandemic, two thirds (65%) of organizations adopted remote work technology to help address the new needs of employees, according to Ceridian’s soon to be released study. To drive success in the hybrid future of work, firms will need the right technology to help build more people-centric experiences.
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Patrick Luther is Vice President and Principal, Financial Services at Ceridian. He has over 10 years of experience in product management and marketing of enterprise software, and 10+ years in consulting for the financial services sector. Patrick is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant, and has held leadership roles at IBM, Rational, Infosys, Deloitte, and various SaaS startups. Patrick holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Yale.View Collection