Working Remotely: A better connection, or more division than ever?


by Nicole Winter

As if being in business was not difficult enough, 2020 has proven to be a year full of challenges for organizations looking to navigate a complex landscape of unforeseen hurdles. For many, this year has put things in perspective in terms of repositioning to succeed or inevitably being faced with the unimaginable prospect of failure.

While COVID-19 induced a state of seemingly irreversible damage to some industries, many continue to flourish and seek new avenues of growth amid the pandemic. It is critical now more than ever for organizations to re-evaluate their market strategies, overhead expenditures, and Human Capital Management (HCM).

An unprecedented number of organizations have found themselves turning to a remote workforce with most, if not all, employees working entirely from home. Though proponents of remote work claim that the model is changing how the global workspace operates for the better, many organizations have pushed back, purporting that they have noticed a decline in quality of work, and overall productivity from their newly minted remote workforces.

Furthermore, many managers report that managing a remote workforce has proved to be a more challenging task than initially anticipated. Perhaps the polarization in opinions regarding the overall effectiveness of a remote workforce are unique to specific industries, or in some cases, organizations themselves. However, one thing that all organizations can agree on is that technology is an emerging frontrunner in the potential for success of a remote workforce, whether the solution is temporary or permanent.

Projected workforce trends of 2021

Remote work focused tools

Although technologies we use today have been in existence for some time, many of them were reserved primarily for professionals working with inaccessible clients. Nowadays, even our educators are relying on the use of tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Conference software is no longer used to bridge the gap between organizations and their clients, it has become a staple in keeping our staff connected to one another as well.

Like it or not, a paradigm shift is in the making and will inevitably invite an influx of new software suites geared towards organizations managing a remote workforce. We predict a sharp increase in the number of software suites geared towards not only meetings, but also collaboration and project-driven time tracking. Likewise, many of today’s mainstream HCM and Workforce management providers will seek to develop new functionality, or to integrate with other emerging technology.

Increase in hybrid workforces

With the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, organizations have been forced to face the reality that returning to ‘normal’ may not be possible in the immediate future. While some industries that require employees to be physically present, organizations who have the capability, seem to be splitting their workforce down the middle with schedules to rotate their workforce in and out of the office. As margins continue to thin with ever-changing market conditions, we anticipate that more and more organizations will consider downsizing their physical establishments in favor of a partially remote workforce.

Outsourcing Payroll & leveraging HCM technology

It is no secret that outsourcing specific functions of an organization can help to save on traditional overhead expenditures. Thanks to the emergence of cloud-based applications, the payroll industry continues to flourish and is expected to reach more than $10 billion dollars annually by 2023. Organizations leveraging payroll outsourcing can expect to save anywhere from 20-40% annually on average by outsourcing to standardize and automate their HR functionality globally.

Organizations looking to save on cost should seek solutions that have established integration-friendly solutions that allow HCM applications, with a minimum of a one-way data flow to allow single-entry points of contact with other applications. Seeking autonomy in data flow is key to ensuring that less bodies are required to execute specific functions of an organization.

Furthermore, choosing the right HCM platform can make a meaningful impact to any organization when it comes to tracking profit margins in a project or department based format, holding employees and managers accountable to one another as well as the organization, and most importantly, unifying your workforce to bring it to the highest standard of excellence. For organizations seeking flexible, industry leading technology, we recommend checking out Paycom.

Focus on health and wellness

It is undebatable that the COVID-19 pandemic not only impacted organizations, but more importantly, their employees on an unprecedented level. The fear of the unknown, compounded by isolation and changes in how we go about our everyday lives thrust many of us into uncharted waters both mentally and emotionally.

Organizations shifting to a partial or fully remote workforce need to be wary of the myriad of challenges that their employees are faced with in terms of managing their work-life balance and social needs when working from home. It is critical for organizations to ensure that their policies and procedures are adapted appropriately to address the changing landscape of their workforce, as well as to ensure that documentation and support is readily available to their employees.

For many organizations, this means that they will need to take a look at their existing workflows, communication tools and collaborative methodologies and perhaps adapt those for the existing circumstances, even temporarily.

Furthermore, organizations should expect to invest more in health and wellness tools to ensure that employees are maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and are remaining included, engaged and connected to the rest of the organization.


As the fabric of our society and workforces continue to be rewoven, it is undeniable that we will witness a continual emergence of new technology for organizations to leverage when it comes to managing their workforce.

Organizations who embrace technology and continue to adapt their practices, documentation and training will benefit greatly from their endeavors to do so, and will arguably create a much healthier, productive workforce whilst continuing to fortify their organization’s presence in the global marketplace.

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