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How corona-proof is your HR? Benefit from 4 best practices and take the test

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While governments around the world pull out all the stops to slow the spread of the coronavirus, businesses – both big and small – continue to look for the best way to emerge from the crisis with their heads held high. Obviously, HR departments play a key role in fulfilling this aspiration. How well is yours doing? Take the test and benefit from 4 rules of thumb first.

Managing an HR department for an international workforce has become even more challenging than it already was. Not only do you need to provide flawless payroll calculation and administration, you also have to deal with loads of new questions from worried employees popping up. Do you have any work-from-home policies in place? How does this affect split salary arrangements? What are the possible long-term effects on reward systems? The list goes on and on.

There’s also good news: hard times often inspire companies to go the extra mile. They appear to be more adaptable than expected, so many of you are getting by just fine – mostly by keeping these 4 rules of thumb in mind:

#1 Pick and choose digital tools that suit your needs

Step into the digital age with two feet. Why? Simple: the right tools mean continuity, efficiency and transparency when you need it the most. The options are plenty: absence management, time registration, on/off-boarding processes, e-payslips, payroll integration, vacation requests, streamlined reporting or employee self-service tools. Digital is the way forward, especially now that remote work has become the new normal.

TIP: digital time registration is a great asset for remote workers.
Combining family life with a home office can be a daunting task for employees. When you offer them the flexibility and autonomy to log their own working hours in a self-service tool, you foster feasible work schedules and give yourself more time for strategic tasks. Moreover, capacity shortages are detected instantly.

Discover Protim's time and attendance module

#2 Stimulate and optimise remote work

Some employees are working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on task in an environment that may not lend itself to productivity. To keep everybody focused and engaged, keep these things in mind:

  • Continue organising team meetings, brainstorms and other gatherings through collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. That way, everybody stays connected and knows what’s going on.
  • Working from home is a highly trust-based way of working, but it’s handy to have a policy that sets (flexible) boundaries.
  • Check in on colleagues and discuss ways to support them. Let them know you’re there, at a safe distance, of course. Help them help each other by sharing tips to stay fit, separate work from private life, etc.

TIP: learn the legal implications of remote work during the corona crisis.
Remote work can get complicated if someone’s home office is not in the country where they normally work. For example: Peter, a German citizen, spends at least 25% of his time working in Belgium. As a general rule, the Belgian social security system applies to him. If Peter suddenly works more from home (i.e. in Germany), a different regime may apply, but there are also temporary exemptions.

Not sure what's what? Ask us

#3 Encourage employees to spread out their vacation time

Because of quarantine measures, a lot of people have seen their holiday plans go up in smoke. The consequence: employees retract their planned vacation days en masse in the hope that better times lie ahead. For employers, this could mean that all your colleagues are planning their holidays around the same time. This isn’t an ideal situation, so encourage your employees to spread out their vacation days. Moreover, remote work can lead to stressful situations at home, so a day off is more than welcome for many of us. Make sure to get this message across.

TIP: communicate, but know your rights
Try to agree on an arrangement that suits all parties. Remember: you can’t force employees to schedule holidays, but you’re not obliged to approve the cancellation of planned holidays at the last minute.

#4 Consider (temporary) reinforcement of your HR activities through outsourcing

Unfortunately, these best practices come on top of your monthly responsibilities. How well you are able to implement these depends on many factors, but one thing should be clear: you can’t just sit on your hands and ride this out. Not only are you missing out on various opportunities, if corona or a different virus strikes again, you’ll have no excuse. If it’s more staff, expertise and know-how you’re looking for, partner up with a solid payroll and HR service provider.

TIP: take the test below to check if your HR department can take the heat alone.

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Over the past year, HR too has had to deal with our modern version of the Big Bang. We all adopted a ‘new normal’, to use a trendy term. Hopefully 2021 will be better. Thanks to the vaccine - fingers crossed - we shall soon be getting back to our social lives and be able to meet our colleagues and customers in person again more often. The after-effects of the coronavirus will continue affecting HR developments in the year to come, however. We hereby present the most important insights and trends for the new year.