In today’s mobile age, workers can be anywhere - literally. They can be working from home, a cafe, or on the road. With the proliferation of technology expanding our view on workforces comes challenge. How do you manage a semi or completely remote workforce? How do you stay compliant? Here are our guidelines to payroll compliance with a mobile workforce:
Give your employees the correct technology to work remote - whether it be an Android phone, tablet, iPhone, MacBook. At the minimum, you should provide an easy-to-carry laptop.
Define roles and responsibilities from day one so nothing gets muddled. Make sure deadlines are understood and shared across the board, so there is no confusion. Try setting clear goals like a monthly metrics report to ensure remote workers stay on task. Consider implementing any sort of results-based reporting to keep goals stable.
Don’t forget about your mobile workforce or remote employees. You may lose grip on them if you aren’t available for conference calls in lieu of in-person meetings. Video-conferencing is another option if you want an even more engaged experience with mobile workers. Keep communication flowing in both directions no matter what.
See your team in person. Most companies with remote work forces have an established headquarters. Invite your mobile team to visit every so often to connect face to face. Take opportunities like this to get as much of your team together as possible.
Use the cloud. Cloud-based tools and cloud storage services like Box are critical if you’re sharing information all around the world - or wherever your team is currently. Even Google Docs can become an invaluable source for mobile workforces.
This can be challenging, so consider a few scenarios. First - do you simply have remote workers who are always in one state but don’t work in the state your company is based? Research reciprocal agreements (learn more about it here) between these states to determine where the withholding responsibility lies. In some cases, it will be the state in which your company is based. In others, it may be both or only the state where your employee lives. An example would be: A Georgia resident working for a Michigan company would pay only Georgia taxes, based on reciprocity agreements. If no reciprocal agreement exists, your employee will likely pay the both nonresident and resident state income tax. In other words - the taxes where your company is and the taxes where he or she lives.
For employees who live and work in the state your company is but travel quite often, there are different rules. You must pay them for any time that benefits the company - which includes travel time to wherever he or she is headed. Use the same withholding set up when this employee was onboarded to pay them during travel - including overnight trips. If a trip lasts longer than a few months, you will have to begin withholding their pay based on a new set of state taxes - which will depend on the state, and any reciprocity agreements.
With remote working increasing, 'work' is not a traditional place people go every day. Work is simply what your employees do - no matter where they do it.
How do you manage your mobile workforce and stay compliant? Let us know on PayrollTalk!