2020 was quite the year. The COVID-19 pandemic caused companies to adjust almost every part of their business. Of course, how employees worked and the type of support they received was no exception.
As we look forward to 2021, there is a glimmer of hope that the world may start to return to “normal” thanks to recent promising results of different vaccine trials. However, even when it is safe to return to the office, the new models of remote work and “work from anywhere” are likely to persist - particularly now that they’ve been proven as successful ways to get work done.
Here are three key challenges HR Leaders need to be ready to face in the coming year.
'Hidden' remote work risk - The great thing about the remote work model is work can get done from anywhere. The challenging thing about the remote model is the same - work can be done from anywhere. With so many employees working from “home” your employees can be working in another city, state, or country without you knowing it. This opens up businesses and employees to tax and permanent establishment risk. While many jurisdictions have given a pass for this in 2020, it is likely that they will start enforcing it again in 2021.
Business travel compliance - One of the first forms of employee movement to come back in 2021 will be business travel. In the US this will mean getting on top of state-to-state payroll withholding. In Europe, there’s the more complex challenge of the A1 and Posted Workers Directive to tackle. With COVID-19 shutting down most cross-border business travel, complying with these rules was not a top priority for most companies. We can expect that in 2021, as the virus gets under control and organizations start deploying employees across borders, countries will be looking to enforce this rule and others to ensure they are getting the appropriate tax contributions.
Employee demands for new working models - There is a lot of discussion around how work will get done in a post-pandemic world. Some businesses have moved aggressively to embrace remote work. Some organizations have gotten rid of corporate campuses or made working remote the de-facto practice. We’re likely to see more nuanced approaches and policies moving forward. These include fully remote work, flexible work, extending vacation with remote work in their holiday location, etc. Organizations will need the right frameworks and tools to manage new and complex types of employees vs the traditional in-person/office and fully remote employee.
Tackling these challenges and the others sure to arise in 2021 requires a shift in both policy and tools used to manage employees. Having accurate and real-time employee data will be more important than ever. That’s why enabling HR teams with the right technology to manage this new world of work will be crucial to create a competitive advantage as opposed to another burden placed on HR teams without the right support.
Topia offers technology solutions to leverage remote and distributed workforces while remaining compliant and protecting employees and businesses. To learn more visit topia.com.