- With the work-from-home culture here to stay for at least the near-term, SMEs may face new challenges
- SMEs should improve processes in their new work culture by prioritising the prevention of employee burnout, creating new time management and reporting procedures, continuing with virtual team-building activities, and using digital tools
- UOB is committed to helping SMEs productively manage employees remotely through our cloud-based HR and payroll management system, HReasily
Even though the Malaysian economy has largely reopened, telecommuting looks to be here to stay for a while. In fact, the Prime Minister has already asked employers nationwide to accommodate flexible work arrangements1, while the government is itself considering making work from home (WFH) the “new normal” for the civil service.2
This new working culture creates fresh challenges for SMEs such as how to prevent employee burnout, employee time management and reporting, team building, and managing administrative tasks that are usually done via physical documents. SMEs must enact some top-down changes to successfully overcome these challenges.
The use of digital tools – such as HReasily, a cloud-based human resource and payroll management system – is an effective supplement to these changes. After all, it is only because of digital tools that remote working is even possible, so it only makes sense to make further use of them to tackle the unique challenges of mass remote working.
Here are four ways to improve processes in the new working culture.
#1: Prioritise the prevention of employee burnout
In the new work-from-home culture, it is important for SMEs to prioritise the prevention of employee burnout. Some ideas to better manage these concerns include:
- Providing a judgement-free "safe space" for employees to vent and speak up about their problems and stresses3
- Establishing rules around downtime, such as informing all employees that any colleague with a virtual "Do Not Disturb" sign on their communication app are strictly not to be disturbed4
- Emphasising work output and outcomes instead of time spent5
#2: Create new time management and reporting procedures
A large part of creating a successful work-from-home environment is about the official working culture. SMEs need to be able to trust their employees, and assess their work based on outcomes and not time spent, while still being able to see how efficiently they are working. Using tools such as those available through HReasily, allow employees to easily and accurately keep track of their time – without necessarily having to adhere to “traditional” office hours.
#3: Focus on staff cohesion through team-building measures
Teamwork is essential to the success of a business. But it is also more challenging to maintain and build when your staff members are all physically isolated from each other. You should dedicate extra effort to ensure that team-building activities continue or are even ramped up.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here are a few ideas you can try.
- Hold a regular employee "town hall", where the company's CEO speaks to all its employees to keep them updated as well as provide leadership and reassurance6. Alternatively, it can even be done in the form of a live Q&A session.
- Make interactive meetings regular, or even daily to help with team bonding.
#4: Use digital tools to manage internal processes such as claims, leave management, and payroll
It is also in this respect that the use of digital tools can be most helpful for resolving employee pain points. One such pain point is remotely managing employee leaves and claims. In many companies, this was – prior to the pandemic – still being done via hard copy applications and approval forms, especially for claims.
Tools like HReasily, available via UOB SmartBusiness, make digital leave management a breeze by enabling the access of these tools online with any device. While claims can be managed with HReasily by directly integrating with the company’s payroll system, enabling fully customisable claims wherever and whenever an employee wants.
Furthermore, SMEs benefit from the ability to manage their payroll (including claims) remotely and in real time. HReasily automatically ensures payroll calculations comply to local government regulations and also gives SMEs flexibility over payment schedules. Itemised pay slips can be issued and are customised to include overtime, commissions, incentives and more. In short, it creates win-win scenarios for both SMEs and employees.
Managing employees while working from home can be challenging, but this can be minimised by improving processes around the new culture and adopting a cloud-based HR and payroll management solution like HReasily. With HReasily, SME owners gain access to tools that will make the task of setting protocols easier. These tools include leave management systems, project management tools and management reporting, and employee performance systems.