A New Approach to Remote Work Recruitment

Young mother working from home as her son ask about data analysis on her computer screen

In a world where technology has provided innovative business solutions, technology has allowed businesses to shift to remote workplaces, which as a result has changed the trajectory of business strategies to recruit new talent.

Some of the nation’s largest tech hubs, such as New York City, Silicon Valley, and Seattle, have found that employees are willing to accept a salary reduction for the ability to work remotely. However, those who would relocate with a salary reduction also noted that the reduction must not exceed 10% of their salary. Other surveyed employees aren’t afraid to push back on salary reductions for an opportunity to work remote arguing that doing so devalues the employees’ labor.

Benefits to Remote Work

Employees may enjoy:

  • Reduced transportation costs. Because employees do not need to commute, money spent on gas, public transportation, or vehicle repairs and maintenance can be reduced.
  • Tax breaks. IRS Form 8829 provides “Expenses for Business Use of Your Home,” where individuals may deduct business expenses that apply to part of his or her home used exclusively for business on a regular basis. You may review Form 8829 instructions for additional information.
  • Lower day-to-day expenses. From lunch with co-workers or grabbing your morning breakfast from your favorite morning café, to vending machine snacks and drinks, working remote can lower your day-to-day expenses.
  • Decrease price of living. While taking a salary reduction might seem counterintuitive, it doesn’t always have a negative impact. For example, accepting a 10% reduction in salary to reside in an area 15% less expensive may result in an employee’s favor. Additionally, research for the reduced salary may still be higher than the average salary of the area of residence.

Employers may enjoy:

  • More productive workforce. Despite popular belief, some studies show that remote workers are more productive than in-office workspaces. This could result from no commute time, improved focus, less absenteeism, and increased availability for work.
  • Cost savings. There are many areas where employers may enjoy cost savings in offering remote work options. One advantage is reduced commercial property costs. For example, companies headquartered in larger metropolitan areas, such as San Francisco, California and New York City might be able to reduce or completely eliminate physical office space(s) and shift to remote workspaces. This can be a significant cost saving for companies. Another cost-saving advantage of remote work is increased employee retention. Happy employees are more likely to remain loyal to an employer, as well as increase quality of life for remote workers. Lastly, shifting to a remote workforce can offer access to a broader range of talent and typically at a lower cost. By opening job vacancies to remote workers, employers are expanding beyond local candidates. Remote work options oftentimes assist with recruiting efforts as well, especially in times like COVID-19.

Whether you already have employees working remote and are looking for additional benefits, or would like to allow employees to work remotely but not sure where to start, VensureHR can assist you. Our HR experts can provide employers tips for remote work best practices, update employee handbooks to include remote work policies, and ensure all human resource management needs are addressed. Contact us today learn more about our full-service HR solutions.

 

Sources:

Dice

Outsite

Global Approach to Small Business

Young businesswoman preparing to ship packages from her small business around the world

Small business owners oftentimes face the barrier of going outside of traditional business borders. As a result, small business growth may be limited by serving local customers and hindered by local competitors. There is some myth to the popular belief that in order to conduct international business, business owners must have deep pockets. If done with adequate effort and strategy, engaging in international business can be incredibly rewarding, especially for small business owners.

Here are some tips to consider expanding into a larger, international level.

Understand product and service deliverability.

If you are a product manufacturer, creating and distributing products internationally or at a larger quantity can quickly eat your budget. However, investing in a foreign distributor can help offset your costs. Additionally, establishing foreign connections can create opportunities to expand your business into international territories.

Leverage website and social media for marketing.

Thanks to social media and the power of the Internet, international marketing has become much easier for businesses. The secret to building a successful website is focusing on user experience through easy navigation and clear, concise language. It would also be beneficial to understand social media platforms used by audiences in different countries and build your presence there.

Establish a target audience.

Here’s where strategic thinking is most critical. Understanding the audience for your product or service is critical to your business’s success. For example, your product or service may fall into a niche industry. To effectively market to that niche, you need to understand where your target audience is located, what types of products or services they seek, and through which medium they prefer to communicate.

While expanding business to a larger scale may be frightening, stressful, and overwhelming, most benefits of expanding outweigh the negative. To learn how to successfully expand your business, reach out to VensureHR. Our team of business development specialists can provide you the support you need to continue your business’s success, including engaging in mergers and acquisitions. We can assist with managing employee and client relations, integrating industry-leading technology to streamline business efficiencies, and the resources, tools, and expertise to support your efforts.

Source: Business Matters Magazine

 

Workers’ Compensation and Telecommuting

Cheerful remote worker calling on her mobile device getting it done

When businesses shifted to remote workplaces, one consideration they may have overlooked are telecommuting policies. A common question among workers’ compensation policies and coverage is: “Are telecommute employees covered under workers’ compensation?”

The short answer is yes.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “an employee injury or illness is compensable under workers’ compensation if it arises out of and in the course of employment, regardless of the location the injury occurs.”

The burden of proof for the work-related injury is on the employee. Employers and employees should understand that “arising out of” is defined as the activity for which the employee was involved in at the time of injury, whereas “in the course of” is defined as the time for which the injury occurred. For an employee to successfully claim workers’ compensation benefits, the employee is required to demonstrate that the activity by which they were injured or fallen ill was in the employer’s interest.

Because telecommuting employees’ residence may serve as the work premises for which he or she conducts employer work, home hazards are considered hazards of his or her place of employment. Therefore, employers are responsible for safe, remote workspaces as in-office employees.

To help reduce workers’ compensation liability fortelecommute employees, employers should develop remote work policies summarizing employer expectations for remote employees. These policies should address:

  • Objective. This section should provide a high-level overview of remote work, such as the purpose, the company’s vision, and general expectations for employees.
  • Procedures. Procedures should include the proper process by which an employee is to request remote work (i.e., do they have to fill a form and submit to their supervisor?). This should detail any other processes for remote workers, such as expected timeline of remote work allotted, personal issues (i.e., childcare) that may impact remote work, and other similar processes.
  • Eligibility. This should highlight which individuals are eligible for remote work, the length for which the individuals may work remote, and proper recordkeeping to ensure successful evaluation for remote work opportunities.
  • Equipment. While this section should focus on who will be responsible for providing proper equipment to perform remote work, employee wellness should be taken under consideration. For example, ergonomic equipment is highly recommended to prevent chronic pains or injuries from sedentary positions.
  • Security. There should be training on cybersecurity best practices (i.e., password changes, Internet policies, phishing, spams, etc.), as well as oversight by an IT specialist or department to ensure remote employees are following proper security standards. Additional consideration may be needed for employees who handle sensitive personal information, such as protecting file cabinets and desk drawers, regular password maintenance, and home security (i.e., liability protection from burglary).
  • Safety. A great way to ensure home or remote work safety is to provide a safety checklist to employees to evaluate their remote workspace. This section should highlight employer expectations with regard to workers’ compensation claims.
  • Schedules. All hours worked should be accurately recorded and in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Additional Ad Hoc Arrangements. This section may include temporary, short-term, or other ad hoc arrangement details between employer and employee.

If you already have a remote work policy, but would like an HR specialist to review and offer industry best practice tips, please contact VensureHR. Our human resource services are provided by seasoned industry experts who are equipped with resources and tools to customize HR solutions for your business needs. Partnering with a PEO like VensureHR offers you more competitive workers’ compensation policies, as well as access to a suite of HR services.

 

Source:

Society for Human Resource Management

Co-Working Spaces: Changing How Employees Work

Two businesswomen wearing masks as the share a co-working station

Remote work and co-working spaces might not be new concepts to business operations, but it has certainly been streamlined since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. With flexible workspaces expected to expand to nearly 49,500 by 2022,[1] it should come as no surprise that as business efficiencies change, so do the solutions.

Co-working Space: What Is It?

A co-working space is a flexible workspace solution that offers a range of workspace options. From private co-working spaces like standard private offices, office suites, and custom buildouts, to open co-working spaces like hot desks, dedicated desks, lab desks, and event spaces, co-working spaces can offer temporary to permanent flexible workspace solutions.

Benefits of Co-working Spaces

Co-working spaces can be a great alternative to work-from-home challenges and return-to-office obstacles many employers may be facing post-COVID.

For example, some common work-from-home challenges include at-home distractions or interruptions and social isolation. A co-working space can offer a quieter, dedicated office space for employees to complete their work uninterrupted. It also provides an opportunity to connect with other business professionals utilizing the space alleviating some of the social isolation working from home causes.

Co-working spaces can also offer remedies for return-to-work obstacles. To assist employees returning to work, offering a co-working space can provide employees:

  • A shorter commute to a co-working office than the designated employer office
  • Reduce facility needs, such as desks, office space, and supplies
  • Alternative workspaces for business travel (i.e., instead of working out of a hotel room or makeshift space in a busy office)
  • A designated place outside of their house and away from distractions for presentations or special occasions and events

VensureHR recently partnered with WeWork, a popular co-working space provider offering more than 800 locations across the globe. Learn more about VensureHR’s continued efforts to offer clients valuable, affordable, and effective business solutions and benefits. Contact VensureHR today!


[1] GCUC (as provided by smallbizgenius)

Encouraging Employees to Use PTO

Young happy family relaxing together at home as both parents take PTO

In the wake of COVID-19, navigating a new “normal,” and coping with the ripple effect both have had on the general mental health across the globe, now is a great time to encourage employees to use paid time off (PTO). There are many benefits to not only providing, but also encouraging employees to utilize PTO, including increased engagement and productivity, boost employee morale and retention, and improve overall employee health.

Refreshed. According to a 2013 study, 75% of HR professionals witnessed improved employee performance from employees who utilized more vacation days than those who used fewer.[1] Additionally, 78% of HR directors reported employees who used vacation days experienced higher job satisfaction.[2]

Stronger. In urging employees to utilize PTO, teams may better evaluate each member’s role and strengthen team building between coworkers. Teams can learn to navigate the ebbs and flows in the absence of a member and develop stronger processes.

Time away from the office can stimulate employee innovation. Distinguished business innovators like Bill Gates, Kevin Systrom (Instagram), and Drew Houston (Dropbox) used their time off to come up with their trending platforms.

Overall Health. Did you know that lack of relaxation periods, neural functions that control calm and peacefulness weaken resulting in an inability to destress.[3] Additionally, not investing in general health can lead to weakened immune systems due to exhaustion, malnutrition, and other illnesses and health conditions. These health concerns can lead to increased absences and more serious health issues like heart disease and depression.

Savings. Not only do unused vacation days impact employee health, it also can be funds wasted. For example, companies who do not rollover at year-end or pay out benefits upon separation causes employees to lose out on paid time off. Additionally, U.S. employees lose nearly $52 billion in group health benefits annually.[4]

While paying employees for time off they did not take affects your bottom line, unused paid time off can also negatively impact employers’ budgets. Billions of dollars in unused vacation time can be a liability for business balance sheets.

Tips to Encourage Employees to Use PTO

Oftentimes, unused PTO results from fear, guilt, and workplace pressures, such as:

  • Fear that the workload is overwhelming, no one else can do the work, and will fall behind
  • Fear being laid off and bank PTO to cash out should job security change
  • Fear of being perceived as less dedicated or replaceable
  • Feeling guilty using PTO as they don’t want to burden their team
  • Feeling as if company doesn’t want them to use PTO
  • Feeling the expectation to be responsive during PTO (i.e., check and reply to messages, attend meetings, answer and check phone messages)

The best way to encourage employees to utilize PTO is to incorporate well-being in your company culture. To effectively integrate well-being into the core of your culture, employers should:

Practice clear and concise communication.

Just under half (39%) of managers reported their organization encouraging employees to use PTO once a year or less or not at all.[5] One way to promote well-being through PTO utilization is breaking the silence. Silence oftentimes leaves employees anxious and filling in the blanks. A 2018 study showed that 78% of managers believe PTO improves employees’ productivity and 81% believe it reduces burnout.[6] With that being said, ensuring employees understand company policies regarding PTO, such as proper request processes, available channels to communicate concerns, questions, or complaints, and deterring unacceptable behavior (i.e., vacation shaming) through no-tolerance policy enforcement.

Incorporating reminders into leadership discussions, employee-facing communications, and other forms of company-wide communications can ensure consistent communication regarding PTO use is being implemented across all levels of your organization.

 Develop and enforce policies.

Developing PTO policies that comply with local, state, and federal regulations is integral to effectuating employee well-being and overall cultural changes in the workplace. One way to encourage employees to use PTO is to incorporate a set deadline for using PTO. For example, stating that December 31 of the respective year is the last day to utilize PTO. Limiting rollover PTO is also a great way to encourage employees to use it throughout the year. As stated above, losing accrued PTO can be detrimental to both employer and employees. Setting a definitive deadline and limiting rollover can certainly encourage employees to use PTO.

Another policy to consider is a no tolerance for inappropriate behavior, such as vacation shaming. Though a majority (67%) of employees report hearing nothing, mixed messages, or negative messages regarding use of PTO, oftentimes employees are quick to speculate and tend to lean towards negative behavioral responses, such as vacation shaming.

Leaders should encourage PTO and deter inappropriate behaviors by enforcing policies outlining proper warnings and consequences for such conduct.

Lead by example.

Leading by example can also deter such conduct. Company culture is typically constructed from the top down, so managers should lead the work-life balance they desire for their employees. If a leader takes PTO, but still responds to emails might be portraying the expectation for employees to do the same when they opt to use PTO. If leaders do not value time outside of the office, why would an employee feel comfortable taking time off?

Find creative ways to motivate employees.

There are creative ways to motivate employees to take PTO. Look at other companies to explore unique ways to promote PTO. For example, Crisis Text Line offers fairly standard paid time off, but also provides employees the opportunity to take a sabbatical after two years of employment.

Another example is Webflow, who provides paid time off, plus birthdays, a company retreat (“working vacation”), $1,000 bonus for first vacation that is five-plus days long, four hours a week for passion projects that help company, as well as wellness, commuter, office, and education coverages.

If you’re looking to boost your suite of benefits, or need to revamp your employee handbook, VensureHR’s team of HR specialists can provide industry best practices, tools and resources, and support for you every step of the way. Our employee benefits and HR services can be tailored to your business and employee needs. Contact us today to learn more.

 

Sources:

Business Insider

AZ Big Media

Business.com

Forbes

Ziprecruiter


[1], [2] Society for Human Resource Management

[3], [4] RISE

[5] Project: Time Off

[6] Society for Human Resource Management