COVID-19 changed the way many workplaces – and many Payroll and Finance pros – operate. And while most offices are slowly starting to return to normal, some changes may impact the nature of work going forward.
Which developments are likely here to stay? At the 2021 American Payroll Association (APA) Virtual Congress Xstream, a panel of experts discussed the changes that may become permanent in the workplace.
Based on their predictions, here are three key trends that emerged during COVID that are poised to stick around long-term. And they’ll have a big impact on how Finance does its job.
3 long-lasting workplace changes
- Remote work. Although some employers are chomping at the bit to get workers back in the office, remote work and the flexibility it offers will likely become more of a permanent fixture in many industries. More employees want flexible schedules that allow for telecommuting. This not only gives you and your team more of a chance to take advantage of this flexibility, it also leads to more challenges with tracking the hours of workers who are spread out all over the country and are making their own schedules. Your timekeeping and payroll systems must be able to effectively track hours worked and employees’ locations. Otherwise, it can lead to costly compliance issues involving taxes and paychecks.
- Earned wage access. Workers who’ve experienced financial stress during COVID have expressed more interest in accessing their pay as they earn it. This benefit can help with retention and recruitment, but it’s not without its challenges. The legal landscape behind on-demand pay is still murky. And some claim it encourages financial irresponsibility. Regardless, it’s something that you might want to talk with Payroll about implementing for employees. As another option, you may want to implement different benefits focused on improving workers’ financial wellness – or improve upon any existing offerings.
- Tech advances. From contactless payments to video meetings, technology will only become even more important at the workplace. This is especially true for your Finance team, since it deals with electronic payments on a regular basis. It’s key to continue to be open and adaptable to new tech as offices reopen, incorporating technology such as self-service apps for employees into your normal payroll and finance processes. While offices are becoming more tech driven, you should still keep a human touch with your team. Whether it’s through a face-to-face check in or a video conference call, this’ll help keep everyone engaged and ready to move forward through the pandemic. It’ll also help everyone better navigate any other changes.
Cite: “Beyond Pay: Embracing the Economy of Change” presented at the 2021 APA Virtual Congress Xstream