As workforces become more dispersed and global, the traditional 9 to 5 culture is changing. Increasingly, employees are seeking flexible ways of working, including being able to work remotely. The challenge for payroll teams is engaging with these employees and ensuring they're able to access their pay information wherever they are in the world. Datagraphic's Glyn King discusses how you can achieve frictionless communication with all workers no matter their location.
The modern workplace
The traditional 9 to 5 office culture - where employees share a central office space, work from a fixed station Monday to Friday, and once they leave the office are disconnected from the organisation - is a thing of the past. Driven by advancements in technology, modern ways of living and employee expectations, flexible working is becoming the new norm.
In the last decade the number of people regularly working from home has risen to 4.2 million, and this figure is increasing every year. A flexible working bill has even been put forward to the UK government to help reflect modern families and modern ways of living. If passed it could mean organisations have to introduce the concept of flexibility to every role.
As flexible working, and in particular remote working, continues to increase in popularity we could see employees working from anywhere in the world rather than at their usual office desk, ultimately creating a more global workforce.
The business benefits of remote working
In many cases, offering flexible working to your employees can create a less stressed, happier and more focused workforce, who in turn are more engaged, productive and loyal.
You could also benefit from cost efficiencies, including a reduction in recruitment costs due to lower turnover rates and savings on office building overheads if you encourage remote working practices.
But having a policy alone isn't enough, you need the right technology in place to not only allow employees to work flexibly and from anywhere, but to keep those employees engaged.
Technology is key for engagement
A double-edged sword, some organisations believe technology that enables employees to work from anywhere can create an 'always-on' mentality. Others believe accessible technology will give employees the freedom and flexibility to access work information when they need it, and with correct policies in place employees can still enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
Whether technology is your friend or foe, there is no denying its ability to connect you to all employees and this is key to engaging with remote workers.
Working in payroll you'll regularly communicate with employees, such as responding to calls from employees requesting clarity on pay-related queries or sending important documents such as payslips. So being able to communicate effectively and efficiently with employees located in and out of the office is vital.
The good news is there are digital technology solutions available that can help you achieve frictionless communication with all workers no matter their location.
My advice for payroll professionals seeking digital tools to improve the way they communicate and engage with remote workers is to look for solutions that – at a minimum – are:
- Mobile-first: employees will want to be able to access their information from work, home or on-the-go and are more likely to engage with app-style technology that they are used to using in their personal lives, for example online banking.
- A centralised hub: you send a variety of payroll documents that are communicated weekly, monthly or yearly. You will need a solution that can present multiple document types securely in one place.
- A digital filing system: on occasion employees might need to refer back to historical documents. Having a secure, accessible digital filing system can benefit employees who are on-the-go and need instant access to current and historical documents.
- Two-way communication: we live in a world where people would rather talk via instant messaging rather than pick up the phone and call. Employees will want to chat with you about their payroll queries, so offer an online chat option so you can engage in a two-way conversation.
- Accessible 24/7: most importantly for remote and global workers, they must be able to access the important information you send to them at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world.
Don’t forget the solution you choose needs to be secure. An easy choice would be to send documents and communicate with employees via email, but it’s not a secure method of distribution as it can be easily intercepted. In my opinion email should only be used to notify employees a new document is ready to view in a secure online environment, or to communicate non-personalised and non-sensitive information.
No matter where your employees are in the world, whether they are sat at their desk or in a coffee shop, you need to be able to communicate effectively in order to create better engagement and improve employee experience.