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The impact of COVID-19 has been felt by companies, of all sizes around the world. Today, many of these companies have pivoted to remote work, while we, all wait to see what will happen with the pandemic as time goes on. If your company, was using a physical time clock before COVID-19 where employees punched in/out at the start and end of their shift, and your workforce is now remote, don’t be disheartened. ATS has a range of solutions, that include; employee self-service, online timesheets and contactless time clocks that are designed for the remote workforce.

Here are excerpts from article by Elizabeth Arnold and Chester Hanvey titled Mitigating the Compliance Risks of a Remote Workforce . The excerpts espouse a list of solutions that companies can adopt as some of their employees are now working remotely.

  1. Provide Clear Guidance to Employees: Supervisors play a critical role in guiding and enforcing employee time-management policies. The presence of sound internal policies can play an important role, as well. However, organizational researchers have found that policies alone are often insufficient mechanisms to ensure compliance. Direct involvement by supervisors can help achieve the organization’s compliance goals.
  2. Explore Technological Solutions: A variety of tech options are available to help promote accurate time reporting. For example, you may want to create a mechanism that allows employees to quickly and easily record time spent on compensable activities outside of the work shift. The greater amount of effort required for employees to report time in these situations will likely contribute to employees underreporting time.
    Another approach to maximize accuracy in tracking work time is to implement software that has a “timer function.” Employees can activate and stop the timer as they perform different activities. To increase detail and efficiency, “activity codes” can be created to reflect the activity the employee is performing. Tracking work at this level of detail and frequency can improve the accuracy of information recorded. 
  3. Scheduling Employees: Another strategy for driving compliance in some contexts is to create detailed schedules with specific time segments allocated to different activities, including meal and rest breaks. Schedules can be distributed through a shared calendar program, such as Outlook or Google, and can help to eliminate ambiguity about expectations concerning remote work.
  4. Conduct Audits of Reported Time: Perhaps the best way to ensure that an employee is reporting time accurately is to perform an audit. Organizational researchers have concluded that monitoring of employees and administering visible consequences for noncompliance are often necessary for policies to be effective. Auditing time records provides a mechanism to evaluate compliance directly. It allows you to make corrections to reported time, which not only ensures that you pay employees properly for their work but also minimizes your organization’s legal exposure. 
  5. Driving Compliance Proactively: The rapid increase in the size of a remote workforce creates challenges related to compliance with labor laws. A variety of approaches exist to ensure that all work time is compensated for hourly employees and that the nature of the work is appropriate for exempt employees. The most effective strategy will depend on a number of factors, but you should be mindful and proactive about driving compliance. 

While no one knows with absolute certainty what tomorrow might bring, we do know that change is sure to come. In order to truly pivot to a more digital organization, companies must be ready to adopt agile solutions that can easily shift gears, while adapting to new technology, and take on what’s yet to come.

You can explore ATS range of modern HCM solutions that include: ATSTimeWorkOnDemand, Payroll, HR, Employee Self-Service, Online Timesheets, ERP and analytics to help you drive productivity now and into the future.

To reach an account executive by phone; call 866.294.2467. You can also download a demonstration or a pre-recorded webinar from our website.

It’s a risky proposition yet, companies far and wide, are struggling with the decision of how, to bring employees back while making sure their health and safety remains intact. The economic fallout from COVID-19 have an economic blow to many businesses-and, unlike, other disasters (natural or otherwise,) such as IT outage or an extreme weather event, this global pandemic does not have a definitive end in sight.

If, like many businesses, you are in the processing of bringing some or all of your employees back to the office, here are some tips from an article titled Ready to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace? Here Are 12 Things to Consider from Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender

Before employees return
Organizations will want to consider these activities before the first employee comes back to the work environment. It’s possible that some of them are already in motion, especially if you’ve had employees occasionally visiting the office space while most employees are working remotely.

  • Put together an “opening team.The team’s first task should be to understand what the requirements are for your geographic area and industry in terms of safety requirements (i.e. numbers of employees allowed onsite, customer capacity, distancing requirements, etc.)
  • Look at the work layout. Discuss what should be done with workspaces to permit proper distancing. This includes individual desks, conference rooms, employee break areas, as well as customer areas.
  • Talk with legal and risk management. Find out the answers to questions about bringing back employees from furlough or terminated status. Be prepared to address onsite testing as well as contact tracing policies and procedures.
  • Ask managers to begin talking with employees about returning to work. Find out if managers have any questions that will need to be addressed. Consider giving employees who are apprehensive about returning some additional time working remotely. 

During the employees’ return
I’m sure there will be a phase-in period where employees start showing up to the office. It’s also possible that employees might work in a transition phase where they spend a couple of days working remotely and then a couple of days in the office. Workplaces will have to be flexible during this time.

  • Establish a monitoring committee. This group will have a different task from the opening team and could be in place longer. This committee will be responsible for monitoring local updates and communicating to employees any changes in protocols
  • Create a welcome letter. This correspondence can be done via email or video and it’s designed to tell employees what to expect in the new office environment. In fact, it could make sense to have a general message from the CEO and another one from the employee’s direct manager. 
  • Give managers flexibility. Speaking of managers, it might be helpful to give them more flexibility than usual in offering employees staggered shifts, flexible work hours, and the ability to approve remote work. 
  • Put a procedure in place for employees to express their concerns. No one wants employees to choose between their safety and their job. Let employees know if they see something that makes them uncomfortable, how they should address it. The goal here isn’t to get people into trouble. It’s to keep everyone safe

After most employees have returned
As more employees return to the office, the organization will want to figure out how to get back to “normal”. Frankly, employees will be looking for that as well. It helps everyone stay focused and productive. 

  • At this point, organizations might be thinking about business travel. It might be necessary to redefine what’s considered essential and non-essential business travel. Some of this might tie into a revised budget.
  • Evaluate technology needs. Hopefully, we won’t face another pandemic, but employees might need better technology that gives them the ability to be productive while working remotely. Make sure they have the right technology to support their work.
  • Conduct a debrief. Organizations will hear that the government is permitting them to do something but that “something” may/may not be best for the organizations’ business model and employees. Companies will have to start deciding how – as restrictions are relaxed – they will make decisions.
  • Finally, put together an emergency plan for next time. Again, hopefully you’ll never have to use it. While all of these thoughts are fresh in everyone’s mind, put a plan on paper.

Bottomline: The COVID-19 pandemic “new normal” has forced business leaders and their HR departments into some of the most challenging times on record-whether its adapting to new workforce demands, managing dispersed teams or maintaining employee engagement in a time of volatility.

To learn more about ATS you can register for our next webinar. To download a demo of our time and attendance app or reach us by phone call; 866.294.2467.