Who’d have guessed that after the first pandemic lockdowns in March, we’d still be dealing with some of the same workplace issues over a year later? It seemed like a temporary, emergency solution when workplaces first shuttered and people began the experiment of working from home. Now? It’s been ingrained in our daily routine.

The fact is that remote work will continue to exist in the future. According to surveys, even after the epidemic has passed, many employees across the country would prefer to continue working from home if the option was made accessible to them. Payroll processing will undoubtedly face additional problems as a result of this. Here are some pointers and best practices for adjusting to the new normal of remote work.

Establish a timekeeping policy, and stick to it.

Certain records documenting hours worked are required by federal and state requirements, particularly for non-exempt employees. When employees are no longer physically present in the office, this poses distinct challenges: how can you tell when they are truly working? What methods do you have for tracking (and enforcing) breaks? What happens if your workers work unscheduled overtime?

To solve these remote-work problems, a strict timekeeping strategy is essential. If this policy does not already exist, have it written out and distributed to all workers. Make sure the policy addresses the most frequent concerns that employees may face.

Here are a few things to think about:

-Reminding workers that they are responsible for recording and inputting their own hours
-Instructions for keeping track of time worked using a pre-determined technique or timekeeping software
-The ramifications of working unapproved overtime or working illegal hours
-How to seek personal, sick, or vacation leave
-Flexibility, if any, for working outside of planned hours

Give employees the tools they need.

Employees require the appropriate tools to keep track of their time in order to keep track of their hours. That implies that remote employees who don’t have access to a local network or onsite procedures need to be given a mechanism to track their time from home. Employees and supervisors can log in to an online portal like ours to track their hours worked and request time off. (You can even use your phone to input it.) This data may then be easily imported and processed using our software.

Set rules for overtime and flex hours.

You’ve probably heard stories about employees who are negotiating home-work balance for the first time experiencing significant levels of “burnout.” We’re learning that without a physical barrier between work and home, it’s all too easy for the two to blur, with at-home employees working on tasks past the end of their shifts or responding to work emails late at night. This may have a detrimental impact on both production and morale if it is not adequately controlled.

That is why it is critical to establish work schedules, flexible hours, and overtime obligations. This is true for both hourly and salaried workers. Make sure you keep track of your hours worked and set up a simple approval process for supervisors to authorize overtime ahead of time. This may often be accomplished using the same timekeeping software system. Finally, think about whether your employees’ tasks require more flexibility in terms of finishing planned hours. While this arrangement may not work in every situation, it can assist employees in regaining control of their work-life balance, which enhances their job happiness and work quality.

Take heed of regulations.

It goes without saying that the transition to remote work has contributed to the payroll process’s complexity. This has tax and compliance consequences that you should be aware of. For example, as a result of the epidemic, an employee may have migrated out of state, which has ramifications for how their wages are taxed. There are also the numerous company and family relief programs approved last year to deal with the first lockdowns, which are still having an impact in many situations. When processing payroll and taxes, keep these modifications in mind. Our software can assist by automatically calculating taxes for all 50 states as well as numerous local municipalities.

Make it work with communication.

A good employee-supervisor relationship requires two-way communication at all times. Request that workers provide you with a timetable of what they anticipate completing in a certain amount of time. Keep them informed about deadlines and expectations, and, of course, keep them informed about scheduling and priorities. Agree on what appropriate productivity targets and measures for meeting them should look like. But don’t hold your breath as you peer over their virtual shoulders-remote supervision isn’t the same as micromanagement. If you strike the proper mix, you’ll have a better chance of having a long-term remote workforce.

Running a happy and effective remote office is a never-ending struggle, but if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that it’s possible. You can make the remote move easier and even boost employee satisfaction with a strategic payroll strategy and the proper payroll solutions. The new normal might then become a bright future.