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Managing Employees Working from Home

. (5 min read)

working from home

Under uncertain times, many issues can arise for employers managing new and current employees working from home. Common problems have been time management, collaboration, communication, and ensuring staff are healthy. At SWARMHR, we have convenient tips on how employers can help their employees adapt.

 

ONBOARDING REMOTE EMPLOYEES & SIGNING DOCUMENTS:

Onboarding a new employee in person is usually quite straightforward, but working from home can pose some challenges. However, effective communication and technology can ease the onboarding process: 

  • Increase Comfortability

It is important for new employees to feel welcomed to the company. Sending new hires basic electronics, like laptops and keyboards ensures that they have solid communication tools. Employee handbooks and company merchandise are also helpful to send.

  • Establish Connection

Normally, new employees would be meeting their coworkers and shaking hands with the CEO. Instead, fellow coworkers in related departments can introduce themselves to new hires via digital meetings. Tutorials on password security and cloud backup software can be arranged with the IT department as well; manuals on setting up company emails and video conference software can be sent out.

  • Training

Onboarding a new employee requires lots of training; however, online tools can provide helpful materials. Employers can record demos and highlight certain key points that they would like trainees to focus on. They can also develop a training schedule and assign interactive training courses. Following up training sessions with calls can encourage trainees to feel more confident.

  • Completing HR paperwork 

While paperwork is easier to manage digitally, it can be challenging to receive and validate electronic signatures. With e-signature tools, employers can send out all types of documents. These documents can be safely and quickly signed; encrypted and compliant documents support a protected environment

 

remote work and communication

MANAGING WORK & TIME SHEETS:

As a result of working from home, usually straightforward tasks can become significantly more difficult. However, employers can still easily perform these — even from a remote location. 

  • Hard Deadlines 

Deadlines are a large part for making sure work is completed on time. They’re even more important when teams are working from home and are unable to access each other as easily. It is useful to set new intermediary deadlines: they show which tasks still need to be finished and when they need to be finished by. 

  • Summative Reports 

It is easy to forget which tasks have been completed and are in progress due to balancing many commitments. As employees write summative reports, the tasks that have been done on a day-to-day basis are recorded, along with work that is still pending. Both employers and employees can benefit by understanding what can be improved.

  • Employee Monitoring

When employees are working from home, it is difficult to know how they are spending their time and which issues they may be having. SWARMHR is currently in the process of adding employee monitoring to its software. This feature can assist employers with managing how employees are working.

  • Timesheets & Invoicing

The flexibility of working from home can prevent employers from managing when employees are working. SWARMHR allows employees to upload timesheets as a provided service that includes a status report function within them. These timesheets are collected and can automate your invoicing. SWARMHR keeps track of which invoices are still open, alerts you, and records your entire payment history.

 

working from home

TASK MANAGING OF EMPLOYEES:

Time management is a handy skill, especially when managing a workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, employers can take several steps to keep their employees on track of their responsibilities.

  • Communication

Sticking to a specific communication method limits confusion: all announcements, meeting information, and any updates on the company’s calendar can be consistently received by everyone. Strong and direct communication, such as video calls between employees and managers is great way of boosting productivity

  • No-agenda meetings

No-agenda meetings prioritize the comfort of employees, making them feel heard. Managers who empathize with employees’ feelings during this time can reduce overall work stress. 

  • Balancing work and daily life

A flexible work schedule allows employees to balance work and daily life. Respecting time and privacy will likely inspire and motivate employees. Everyone is tackling this time with more than just work from home concerns. 

 

work life balance

During COVID-19, managing a remote workforce can be quite difficult. It is a great time to invest in SWARMHR’s software application that manages physical tasks with ease.

 

How do Employers Stay Compliant: Covid-19 Crisis 

Paycheck Protection Program: How to Apply and Prepare

Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020`


Paycheck Protection Program: How to Apply and Prepare

(5 min read)

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Learn how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program and how to prepare for the current situation.
  • This program is currently on hold because of a lack of funds. However, this guide will tell you exactly how to prepare for when it reopens.
  • Be prepared by Friday, April 24 with your application and desired lender.
  • PPP loans were available for the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times your average monthly payroll.
  • It is important to have multiple lenders you can contact to process your application. Start with your local lenders first.
  • Four of the biggest banks were sued for not processing applications for small business owners.
  • 100% of your loan could be forgiven if you follow guidelines.
  • You can apply for both a PPP and EIDL loan, if there were funds available.
  • Check eligibility before you apply.
  • When funds are available, you can apply through any SBA approved 7(a) lender.

PPP Eligibility

In addition to meeting the size requirement (500 or fewer employees for most companies), you must show that your business has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. You will do this, in part, by certifying on your PPP application that current economic uncertainty makes the loan request necessary.

Eligibility is further broken down to include:

  • Any business categorized under “Accommodation or Food Services,” such as restaurants and hotels that have 500 or fewer employees per location
  • Tribal businesses
  • Independently owned franchises
  • Self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers, and sole proprietors. The PPP loan application for those people went live April 10, 2020, according to the SBA.

Where to Apply for PPP

As noted above, PPP loans are being administered by approved SBA lenders and are actually a new form of the existing SBA 7(a) loan program. When funds are available, you can apply for your PPP loan through any of the 1,800 participating SBA approved 7(a) lenders or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution.

Other lenders will be available to make PPP loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Start by consulting with your local lender as to whether it is participating. If you have trouble locating a lender, try using the SBA Paycheck Protection Program lender search tool. Bigger banks often have to process more applications. This is why it is recommended you start with local lenders.

Do not use any other road to apply for a PPP loan; scammers are already going after small business owners, reports the Federal Trade Commission, which filed a case against one such company on April 17. Only apply by first going to the SBA website. And know that the SBA will never ask for Social Security numbers, or bank account or credit card numbers up front, the FTC cautioned.

Maximize your Chances of Securing Relief Loans

Work with local banks.

Your existing lender is often your best resource when applying for Covid-19 relief loans, as banks are typically more responsive to their current customers. That said, you might want to tap a community bank in your area. However, smaller lenders are getting money out the fastest. Take note that the bank may ask for you to sign up for a checking account in exchange for a PPP loan. While that’s an extra hurdle, at least you’ll be able to get the funds you need when you need it most.

Reach out to multiple banks.

Ultimately, you should widen your search. Different banks have deployed different resources, and some may be better at handling the influx of loans than others. Beware though, if multiple lenders submit a loan application to the government on your behalf, a fraud alert could be triggered. So it is advised that you ask for a guarantee that the lenders will contact you before submitting your file.

Keep these Documents Ready for your Application

1.) SBA Application Signed for your reference, this is the same information filled in an online application.
2.) Addendum A
3.) Payroll from January 1 to December 31 2019
4.) W3 2019.
5.) 940 2019.
6.) Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 941-2019
7.) Bank statement for March 2020
8.) Drivers license ID
9.) Articles of incorporation
10.) All 2019 W2’s
11.) FEIN proof from IRS
12.) By-Laws and Minutes of your company

Here is a template for Addendum A (2).

Legal Name EIN Business Type Relationship # of employees
“Company Name” 00-0000000 Type % Ownership 0

PPP vs. EIDL

The Paycheck Protection Program is one of two programs designed to help small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. The other is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. While both programs are designed to help struggling businesses get back on their feet financially, they have slightly different goals which are suggested by the names of the two programs.

The Paycheck Protection Program business loans account is a new stimulus package designed to help companies retain workers by covering eight weeks of payroll plus some other costs of remaining in business. This loan is 100% forgivable if you follow forgiveness guidelines.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is an established program that helps small businesses overcome the loss of revenue during a declared disaster such as a hurricane, major fire, or, in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. This loan includes a $10,000 advance (if you apply) that is automatically forgiven.

The EIDL loan program is also currently unable to accept applications “based on available appropriations funding.” Submitted applications, however, “will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Again, be prepared with your local lenders.

paycheck protection program PPP EIDL economic injury disaster loan

This information is brought to you by SWARMHR. Being a small business, we understand the importance we and our peers should take during these times. Please feel free to reach out to our team if you need more information.

I9 verifications during the pandemic

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How do Employers Stay Compliant: Covid-19 Crisis

(5 min read)

During uncertain times, employers need to have all their boxes checked so they are not penalized even further. This is how employers can stay compliant during the Covid-19 crisis.

Raise awareness to your Workforce

All employers have the basic obligation to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Employers should communicate with workers to underscore that commitment, including with respect to epidemics and disease outbreaks. U.S. employees should be directed to the CDC Coronavirus Website for the most current updates and should be encouraged to consult the following:

Avoid Discrimination Claims

Commentators have noted the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 and how it has caused some consumers to avoid certain ethnic restaurants or engage in other exclusionary behaviors based on irrational fear. In the workplace, employers should avoid workplace discrimination or harassment due to cultural biases or racial perceptions that particular workers are more likely to be exposed to or infected with COVID-19. On a parallel front, employers should recognize the potential ADA implications of the virus, assess any accommodation obligations, and monitor whether any circumstances pose a “direct threat” to the workforce that might justify enhanced precautions such as otherwise unlawful disability-related inquiries and/or medical examinations (which could include measuring an employee’s body temperature) or enhanced OSHA precautions. In compliance with the ADA, employers must also ensure that they protect the confidentiality of any medical information they receive from or about individual employees.Preventative,office,compliance,santize,clean,coronavirus,covid19

Require Employees to engage in preventative Workplace behaviours

The precautions listed in the OSHA Employer Guidelines remain prudent. Employers should, at a minimum, require that employees not come into work sick or, after a known exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, for at least 14 days. Employers should also explain expectations of proper hand-washing and coughing etiquette and distribute/display CDC Posters and Factsheets (including “Stop the Spread of Germs” poster) (available in English, Spanish and Chinese). Many employers are providing additional hand-washing instructions, hand sanitizer stations, work-space sanitizing wipes, and also requesting employees engage in social distancing to the extent possible.

Establish leave administration and accommodations guidelines

For employees in jobs not suitable for telework, employers face more difficult decisions. Employees who have a medical condition that places them at heightened health risk could potentially be entitled to job-protected leave (under ADA, FMLA or state law). Employers should also determine whether to provide job protection to employees who are not sick but who seek leave to self-quarantine after exposure to the virus or to avoid infection. Even younger, healthy employees may have legitimate interests in taking heightened safeguards against contracting COVID-19 so as not to jeopardize the health and lives of household members—even if those concerns do not qualify for ADA protection. Try to gather this data from employees that have existing records if you have not done so already. If employees are unsure about their health use a resource like this.

Where an employee is required to self-quarantine but has no remaining paid leave available, difficult questions arise as to pay policies, retention of exempt status, and employee morale. Forcing employees to choose between taking measures to protect their colleagues or loss of pay or of accrued leave could lead employees to withhold information from employers. Employers should proceed carefully before requiring an employee to take leave if the employee is not sick, has not recently traveled to or from areas of known high outbreak (“Level 3” and “Level 2” locations per CDC designation), or has not been exposed to a known case. That an employee has recently returned from a U.S. destination that has reported a handful of COVID-19 cases does not appear at this point sufficient reason to prohibit an employee from performing work, unless other symptoms are present or if the employer is prepared to place the employee on paid administrative leave.

Employers should also be mindful that they may only require employees to use statutory paid sick leave if the reason for the absence is covered by the relevant statute (typically, the employee’s own illness or the employee’s request to care for a sick family member).

SWARMHR & COMPLIANCE

SWARMHR is at the cutting edge when it comes to HR compliance. SWARMHR customers may reach out to us for templates, advice, or strategies concerning COVID-19 or anything compliance related. Please reach out to Ramesh Thumu or Justin Jassal to coordinate any involvement regarding these concerns. We hope that all employers can remain compliant during the COVID-19 crisis.

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New Form I-9

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Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020

The year 2020 is promising year for Technology and innovations around the world. In this article we discuss the Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is within the first place of the Top Technology trends in the year 2020. Nowadays, computers have brilliant skills to think, examine, and study with none human intervention.

In this current technological world, numerous contributions of AI are often seen, for instance , Google Assistant and Siri.

Artificial Intelligence is used to schedule trains, forecast maintenance and production costs, evaluate business threats and hazards, and recover energy productivity. AI is deemed to be mounting fame and demand has protected the highest place in 2020.

 

IoT (Internet of Things)

On learning IoT, you’ll easily get the talents on data analytics, device knowledge, cloud computing, automation, embedded systems and lots of more.

Some of the IoT wearable devices which may be seen within the market in today’s trend are Fitbit Smart Watch, Sleep Tracker, Smart Bracelet, and Activity Tracker. Few experts have mentioned that there are very fewer people trained within the trending technology IoT and hence, the necessity for IoT specialists in today’s market is high. It is extensively used in Automobiles sector, Health and Retail businesses.

 

Machine Learning

AI features a subset called Machine Learning. With the assistance of Machine Learning, you’ll program the computers to learn and do something that they’re not programmed to perform such things.

Networks, and Deep Learning. of these domains are very specific to a career offering various opportunities to grow in Machine Learning technology. The trending technology
Machine Learning is quickly deployed in many industries and hence producing a huge demand for experts in 2020.

 

DevOps

DevOps may be a viewpoint that mixes processes with development and various tools to enable cooperative change.
DevOps growth has already made momentous progress among numerous industries within the past few years, and this is often getting to continue in 2020 extensively. The transformation to DevOps needs an entire application re-architecture or be able to adopt the technology replacement.

DevOps is predicted to succeed in to subsequent level with server-less architecture. On successful implementation of server-less architecture, you’ll easily reduce the prices, guarantee robust workflow and save time.

 

Angular

Angular is fastest growing Front End Framework developed by Google, used in developing Single Page Applications (SPA’s) for both Web and Mobile platforms. It is used to develop high performance applications, In 2020, on completing the Angular study, you’ll be allowed to create extremely sensitive, stunning, high-performance UIs in an intentional manner.

Instead of writing instructions on the method of manipulating the DOM, you’ll simply define the finishing state, add the specified business logic and now you’re done. There would be some minor changes and enhancements done to the Angular in 2020 in comparison to the 2019 versions.

Video Streaming apps, Travel apps, content websites are getting excellent demand within the future and that’s where Angular works out. 0.5 % of internet sites are using the technology Angular and approximately .93% market share are often seen.

 

Blockchain

Blockchain technology may be a technology to remain in and one among the Top Technology trends to learn in the year 2020. It is fundamentally a digital record utilized to record transactions but protected due to its encoded and regionalized nature.

To explain in simple words, blockchain are often defined as data that you simply are going to be ready to only add, but impossible to vary or deduct you’ll not be ready to modify the previous blocks and that’s how your data is secured through this excellent technology.
In 2020, Blockchain would assist you in sharing the records safely, upgrading the availability chain management, fraud prevalent, and streamline accounting.


What’s New in Form I9: 2020 I-9 Compliance

(3 min read)


In case you forgot, Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers are responsible for completing and maintaining Form I-9 for each individual they hire. This includes citizens and non-citizens. But you already knew this. What’s new in form I-9? Learn how to stay I-9 compliant in 2020.

What are the new changes?

As per the USCIS, the changes are as follows:

Form:

Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. (Note: This change is only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.)

Instructions:

  • Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
  • Updated USCIS website addresses
  • Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
  • Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9
  • Updated the DHS Privacy Notice

Form I-9 2020

Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative.
  • Employers may designate anyone to be an authorized representative to complete Section 2, but the employer is still liable for any violations committed by the designated person. At the City of Aurora, a SWARMHR customer, Michael Pegues (CIO) explains the difficulties completing I-9 forms for remotely hired workers. The USCIS needed more specific instructions which clarify who may serve as an authorized representative when completing the form.
Clarifications pertaining to acceptable documents.
  •  Writing N/A in the identity document columns is no longer necessary. When entering document information in the List A column (or alternatively in the List B and C columns), you will not need to enter “N/A” in the columns which are not being used. “The requirement to enter N/A in certain portions of the form could be burdensome and unclear,” Fay said. “Now for example, if you have an employee present a U.S. passport which is recorded in the List A column, you do not need to write N/A in all of the fields in the List B and C columns.”
SWARMHR Keeps You 100% compliant.

Now that you are prepared with the changes on the new I-9 form, download our new templates today! Our customers receive hundreds of constantly updated templates in immigration and HR so that they can stay 100% compliant. We want to make sure that all of our partners thrive and practice strong business ethics. If you’d like to receive these templates, or find more about SWARMHR click here.

 

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