Catering to a remote workforce

9.09.2021 | The Covid-19 pandemic helped cause a shift in the global workplace with more employees working remotely.

More people are expected to keep working from home following the pandemic. It is estimated that 25-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely multiple days a week by the end of 2021, according to Global Workplace Analytics. 

Also, many U.S. workers have relocated for work.

A 2021 survey by found that 31% of adults in the United States moved or relocated for an extended time during 2020. This includes 10% who moved permanently or are still at the new location.

Companies are now adjusting policies to accommodate the new workplace.

Compensation for remote workers

Human resources leaders are looking to create compensation and benefits packages to align with a distributed workforce.

How to adjust salaries for relocating employees

Some companies make cost-of-living adjustments for employees who move to a less expensive place to live. San Francisco Bay Area-based Facebook and Twitter are among the companies that announced they will reduce salaries for employees who relocate to more affordable cities. Other companies, such as Reddit, have said they will not adjust salaries for employees in lower-cost areas.

Along with location, compensation also may be set according to factors such as the industry and position.

Fewer work expenses for remote workers — such as commuting costs and professional attire – also can impact compensation.

Additionally, companies might consider an overall reward package, including items such as bonuses and stock options, when deciding whether and how to make compensation adjustments.

Hiring international employees 

Talent hired internationally can be more complicated. This requires looking at local taxes and labor laws when forming compensation. A lawyer can help employers understand any business regulations required by a foreign country.

It is also a good idea to check the Internal Revenue Service website for information on rules associated with hiring international employees or independent contractors. 

Remote employee benefits

Remote employee benefits can be mostly the same as those given to on-site workers. This can include health insurance, retirement plans, vacation days and time off.

Additional benefits for remote employees can include reimbursement for office expenses such as a desk, printer and high-speed internet.

Remote workers also may appreciate perks such as a subscription to entertainment channels such as Netflix, online fitness classes, such as yoga or pilates, or a stipend for a food delivery service. 

Employee wellness

Health and wellness is an important piece of remote work policies. The Covid-19 pandemic created even more emphasis around creating a healthy, safe workplace.

Ensuring a work-life balance and mitigating stress for remote workers can reduce absenteeism and cause employees to feel less tired and burned out.

Employers can help reduce stress by creating boundaries. They can encourage employees to take breaks and set times when work correspondence will be answered.

A 2020 study by MetLife found that globally mobile employees who are not stressed are more productive and engaged.

Benefits and programs employers can offer to help ease employee stress include:

  • A Health Savings Account or flexible spending account
  • Flexible work hours
  • Increased paid time off
  • Access to telehealth services
  • Paid family or caregiver leave
  • Disability insurance

Communicating with remote workers

User-friendly technology can be used to keep consistent contact with employees. Regular communication about new business or goals met can help ensure employees feel part of a team and are contributing toward a company goal even while not in the office.

Employers also can ease remote employees’ stress by offering encouragement and recognizing employee accomplishments.

Employers who embrace a distributed workforce are opening the door to a wider range of talent and gaining a competitive edge in hiring and retaining employees. But it is important to consider more than just location when forming compensation. This includes looking at the industry and position the employee is being hired for.

As organizations adjust to the new normal of remote workers, they are working to form policies that are inclusive, supportive and benefit all employees.

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