5 things to know about your remote workforce
The pandemic has forced many companies to force their staff to work from home. Now that the economy is opening up, companies are deciding whether or not to keep remote working arrangements. A PwC survey found that 55% of employees expect to continue working from home even after the pandemic has passed. When making the decision, employers should keep the following factors in mind.
1. Productivity can be better
Many companies wonder if employees who work from home are as productive as those who work at head office, in offices or elsewhere. At 2 years Great Place to Work study reported that most employees working remotely said they were at least or even more productive. It should be noted that productivity was influenced by employers’ support for their workers (ie feeling loved by their company).
2. Tax issues are getting very complex
If all employees live in the same state where the business is located, allowing remote working arrangements does not affect payroll and income taxes. However, if the employees live in a different state from that of the employer, taxes become more complicated. ADP has a detailed article explaining the complexity of this problem. Whether an employer is required to withhold income tax in another state depends on how long the employee has worked there, whether the arrangement is required by the employer or simply chosen by the employer. employee, and various state and local laws (there has been a temporary rule changes during COVID-19).
Having workers out of state can also affect other actions of a business, including:
- Registration as an out-of-state business.
- Pay state income taxes in multiple locations (employees can create a “connection” with another state).
3. The composition of workers may need to be broadened
Employers in all states (except Texas) are required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage for employees. This requirement is not removed simply because employees work from home. A remote work agreement raises 2 issues for workers compensation:
- If an employer needs coverage in more than one state. Usually, a claim depends on the condition in which the injury occurs. If the business is located in one state and the employee works from home in another state, the business may need coverage in both states (ie “Offshore Coverage”).
- Whether a homeworker’s injuries are covered. The Workers’ Commission covers liability for injuries sustained by an employee in his home if they are considered “arising out of and in the course of employment”.
4. OSHA is not a problem
If you allow or require your employees to work from home, you don’t have to worry about OSHA inspections. the DOL said its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have regulations regarding telecommuting in home offices. the agency issued a directive in 2000 stating that it would not inspect employees’ home offices, hold employers accountable for employees’ home offices, and expect employers to inspect their employees’ home offices.
5. Cyber security is a big concern
Protecting corporate data and systems from hacking, ransomware attacks, and other issues is important to all businesses. When employees work from home, there are potentially additional cybersecurity risks. Home offices may not have the same security protocols as corporate offices. For example, cybercriminals can use social media to access employee devices, potentially compromising company information.
Employers that allow remote work agreements to continue should adopt company data protection policies. This may include, for example, providing employees with devices to be used only for company business, educating them about security best practices, and helping them secure their networks.
It will not be easy for all small businesses to decide whether and to what extent to allow remote working arrangements. Many employees like this option and it can be an important way to attract and retain good workers in a tough job market. If you decide to allow employees to work from home some or all of the time, be sure to address various issues to protect yourself and your employees.