What Does It Take To Make Remote Work Work?


As a business owner, you are bound to look towards expanding your business at some point. In which case, you will have multiple offices at different locations. While you are in one worksite, you will want to stay in touch with employees in your other store locations. Staying connected is essential when your employees are spread out over the map. It’s even more important if your employees work remotely and do not often physically meet you or other employees on a regular basis.


At PayrollHero, we use a number of apps to facilitate remote work. These apps tie our employees together. We use the apps for face-to face interactions and for quick chats instead of spamming employees’ inboxes. The following apps might be useful for your company too:

SlackThis is the center of all our communication through different departments and offices. Slack allows you to create chat rooms and invite people to them. We use this feature to separate different functions of the team: engineering, business development, etc. Slack is also our metaphorical grapevine. We have chat rooms for random news, general musings and articles or books that anyone wants to share with the team. Slack also allows for private chats, thereby removing the need for emails to coordinate work. Slack is flexible in the sense that it has a number of integrations: Twitter, Mailchimp, appear.in.

Appear.in, Skype, Google HangoutsTeams can’t function without face-to-face meetings. Bosses benefit from meeting their employees face-to-face in order to gauge their emotional state and general well-being. The app features and video quality differ but essentially they help you conduct online meetings.

Asana, TrelloTo ensure that all tasks are tracked and accountable to the relevant employees, we use Asana. These apps are built to suit remote work. Asana allows you to assign tasks in a checklist format whereas Trello breaks down work in the form of projects in which tasks are outlined using cards. Both apps can be accessed online. So you or your employee can work from anywhere in the world and still stay on top of things.

Google Drive, Dropbox for BusinessKeeping track of all the documents and sheets created by multiple departments across different worksites is essential. These apps are tailored towards businesses’ storage needs. With a subscription fee, you have access to unlimited storage, data analytics (for Google) and more. Both apps allow you to track who is editing files and what kind of access you want your employees to have for each file or folder.

It’s More Than Just Apps

Making remote work successful is more than having a suite of apps at your disposal. It requires a shift in the way you and your employees think about work. It requires trust in your employees to work even if you’re not monitoring them at the office. We have inculcated some practices that help maintain discipline and structure even when employees work at different locations across the work. Here are some that have helped us:

Morning catch ups: Every morning, at a time suitable to your employees in their respective time zones, each employee summarizes their work in 60 seconds. The format is: what they accomplished yesterday, what they couldn’t complete, what they will do today and roadblocks to completing their work. From the head of the team down to the entry-level employee must be able to summarize their work in under a minute. The meeting is helpful in understanding where the team is going and what can be done to remove roadblocks.

Handbooks: For new employees, or employees that have changed departments, it is hard to catch up to how things are done when the entire department works remotely. Writing down the steps to each task in a handbook and storing it in Google Drive/Dropbox cuts down on confusion and time wasted in connecting with the employee who knows how to do the required task. Handbooks remove any misunderstandings or errors. It is a fool-proof way of ensuring that the business continues in case someone is not available to lend a helping hand.

Slack-logoUsing Slack to integrate the team: While Slack can be used to create chat rooms and do work, it is often a great tool to include everyone on the team and talk about common interests. Our chat-rooms like #random and #general are great spaces for employees to share ideas and talk about things outside of work. It is a place to plan outings over the weekend or share movie reviews. These conversations pull the team together and allow for cross-departmental interaction; something that could be missing while everyone is focusing on work.

Finally, making remote work possible is about using apps to their maximum capacity and reviewing if they work or not. Managers need to be more mindful of their employees. Employees in turn need to make a conscious effort to stay on top of their work because remote work often results in the blurring of personal and professional life. Altogether, making remote work work is hugely beneficial to employees. All it takes is a little tweaking of the way things are usually done.

Did you know your company needs a nurse in the Philippines?

pablo (21)We recently spoke to Nick Sinclair from the Outsourced Accountant. When we asked him about roadblocks to setting up a business in the Philippines, he mentioned some requirements that were unclear to him. One of them was about hiring company nurses for businesses that employ over a certain number of people.

We decided to look into it and try to clear up what the requirements are on company nurses. The Department of Labor and Employment has a list of rules under the Occupational Safety and Health Standards that says that companies need to allocate manpower in order to cater to injuries and prevent diseases from spreading in the workplace. Companies need to have a Health and Safety Committee. The Committee comprises 8 or more people based on the size of the company.

The Health and Safety Committee can be categorized into 4 types with the following composition:

Type A: Companies with over 400 workers

  • Chairman: Top operating official (manager)
  • Members:
    • Two department heads
    • Four workers (union members)
    • The company physician
  • Secretary: The safety man

Type B: Companies having between 200 and 400 workers

  • Chairman: Top operating official (manager)
  • Members:
    • One supervisor
    • Three workers (union members)
    • Company physician or company nurse
  • Secretary: The safety man

Type C: Companies having between 100 and 200 workers

  • Chairman: Manager or his representative
  • Members:
    • One foreman
    • Three workers (union members)
    • Company nurse
  • Secretary: Part-time safety man

Type D: Companies with fewer than 100 workers

  • Chairman: Manager
  • Members:
    • One foreman
    • Three workers (union members)
    • Company nurse (first aider)
  • Secretary: Part-time safety man

The list above covers the minimum number of members in a committee. Companies may choose to have more members in their Health and Safety Committee.

In the Philippines, registered nurses are not hard to find. Nurses face a problem of excess supply and weak demand which is why it is hard for them to find employment in hospitals. They often work as company nurses to gain some experience before moving on to hospitals. Registered nurses can be found through regular job boards. The average salary of a registered nurse is PHP 121,651 per year. (approx. $2700USD)

In addition to following the basic requirements under the Department of Labor and Employment, having a nurse is useful in bringing down healthcare costs for the company. According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, employing a company nurse can bring down costs of injury and illness by up to 40%. With a nurse in the premises, employees must get their illnesses checked before they can take leave, which also reduces the propensity of fraud.

Disclaimer: As always, consult your lawyer or accountant for advice! We are here to help, but your specific situation should be reviewed by a professional with complete knowledge of your situation.

PayrollHero Certification: Hands on Experience with the App

badge-payroll-certificationLast week, Kieran our Head of Client Success, conducted training sessions for the new PayrollHero team members in Singapore as well as a few clients. We got some hands on experience with the app, which helped us gain a deeper understanding of how the product works. As an intern who has been here for a few weeks, my knowledge about the product came from speaking with team members, listening to sales pitches and reading about the product online. So it was an interesting experience to use the product on a demo account and view it from the perspective of a payroll administrator. All new PayrollHero team members get certified on the platform so that they know exactly what the platform can do.

Kieran took us through every aspect of the product. My first thought when I was told about the training was, “Wow, a two and a half day training session? But I already know everything about it!” Which, as you may have guessed, turned out to be highly overstated. Within the first two hours of training, I came to the conclusion that the product was far more powerful than I had expected.

The first day was about Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS). The next day was spent on generating payroll and the final day was dedicated to understanding time, attendance and scheduling using the app.

The interesting part about the app is its customization capabilities. A human resources (HR) administrator can record the company’s organizational chart. The hierarchy allows you to identify employee types and positions. Thresholds allow you to set rules on what kinds of notifications you get based on the activities of employees under you in the hierarchy. The thresholds have multiple permutations and combinations that, once customized, help you prioritize information that you need instantly versus information that can wait till a more suitable time.

badge-tas-certificationIt didn’t stop there. Customization extended to how you segment payroll: employer contributions (CPF, SDL, FWL), bonuses, vacation payments, advance payments, claims that need to be redeemed. Any kind of payment outside of the basic calculation of an employee’s hourly wages can be segmented and customized so that all a payroll administrator has to do, is enter which segment the payment should go into. The app can take care of debiting/crediting the amount to the required account. It will notify you when the account is hitting a pre-recorded limit. The flexibility of the app went as far as allowing you to import data from a spreadsheet, allowing the app to automatically fill in employee details.

While all of this might seem like a rather dry topic to train on for nearly three days, Kieran managed to make the whole session more interesting by throwing in quizzes and having interactive sessions. Every demo account had characters from Kieran’s favourite fiction series. Homer Simpson got a bonus for his outstanding work (let’s pretend like that is EVER going to happen), Sherlock Holmes got promoted to the next level on the org chart, Buffy Summers asked for a change in her schedule for the next 3 weeks and Harry Potter recorded coming in early to work consistently. All these characters were a part of the certification exercises, which made the entire process not only informative but also engaging.

The time, attendance and scheduling part of the course was done through an online training portal on the PayrollHero website. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by how detailed the app was and how customizable the entire process of scheduling was. It was impressive that the app was user friendly and flexible with creating, adjusting or removing schedules based on timing, location and type of work: whether it was a routine desk job or a part time job that required changing schedules often. The app, as was intended, was perfectly designed for retailers and restaurant owners who deal with employees who have erratic schedules which require constant adjustments.

The exercises and quizzes were effective in understanding how much we grasped from the lessons. It was clear that working with app required you to be consistent and methodological with the processes for entering data, giving system permissions, organizing the company’s hierarchy and setting customized options especially since the data that the system works with is sensitive. Finally, the certification undoubtedly served its purpose: it gave us a complete picture of how the app works and how a payroll administrator can benefit by using all its features for time, attendance, scheduling and payroll.

Learn more about PayrollHero Certification in the Philippines and Singapore.

Payroll in APAC: The Philippines

The Payroll in APAC blog posts are (as you might have guessed), a series of blog posts on tax and employer contribution laws in APAC nations. This gives payroll and human resource administrators a high level understanding on what you should know in these countries. Our first post is on the Philippines.

Creditable and Final Withholding Taxes:

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is the Philippine equivalent of the IRS in the United States. Companies are required to withhold taxes from employees who are subject to income tax. They are then required to remit these taxes to the BIR.

There are two broad classifications of withholding taxes: Creditable withholding taxes and final withholding taxes. Creditable withholding taxes apply for certain income payments and are creditable against income tax. On the other hand, Final Withholding Taxes are not creditable against withholding taxes. Unlike the former, final withholding taxes are prescribed on royalties and interest incomes.

Social Security Service (SSS)

The SSS is the social security net for Filipinos. It covers a list of contingencies: from disabilities to maternity. All private companies are required to register with the SSS and deduct contributions for their employees. Around 70% of the contribution comes from the employer and 30% from the employee.

Deductions are made from the employee’s salary and remitted to the SSS. Payments are done monthly or quarterly, based on the type of employee. The summary on benefits and schedule on payments is posted here.


The health insurance institution in the Philippines is called PhilHealth. All private and government institutions are required to register and deduct contributions from their employees’ salaries. PhilHealth covers a number of benefits. The share of the contribution is split between the employer and the employee. The payment dates and contribution schedule are available here.

Pag-IBIG – Home Development Mutual Fund

The final contribution that employers need to be aware of is Pag-IBIG. This institution provides housing finance for Filipinos. Contributions by the employer are equal to 2% of the employee’s salary. The dates for payment are in this link.

These are the 4 major tax and employer contribution laws that Payroll and Human Resource administrators should be aware of. At PayrollHero, we deduct the required contributions and generate payroll for our clients. Here are examples of how we compute BIR taxes, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG contributions.

For more information on BIR, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG with respect to what forms need to be filled and filing deadlines, make sure to click on the links!

Disclaimer: As always, consult your lawyer or accountant for advice! We are here to help, but your specific situation should be reviewed by a professional with complete knowledge of your situation.

If you are in need of a payroll provider in the Philippines that can provide an end to end solution, then let us know. PayrollHero’s Philippine cloud based payroll platform incorporates, time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS, business intelligence and Philippine payroll in one, easy to use solution.
Cloud Payroll Software for Philippines

Part III: Employer Contributions in the Philippines: Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG)

This is the final iteration of the ‘Employer Contributions in the Philippines’ set of blog posts. So far, we have given you an overview of the BIR, the SSS and PhilHealth. We will now talk about the Home Development Mutual Fund – popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund. The fund is the biggest source of housing finance in the Philippines. Along with the SSS and PhilHealth, employers also need to register to Pag-IBIG.

Requirements: Before you register your business with Pag-IBIG, you will need the following:

  1. Employer’s Data Form (make sure you have a TIN and your SSS employer number to fill the form)
  2. Specimen Signature Form (SSF [HQP-PFF-003])
  3. SSS certification
  4. Proof of business existence (Business permit/ Mayor permit)

You need to fill these forms and take them to the nearest Pag-IBIG service center. After the documents are processed, you will receive the Pag-IBIG Employer ID.

The following is the contribution that is required by the employer and employee

The Pag-IBIG registration process can be done online as well. After deductions, payment to the fund can be done online or through one of the accredited banks.

Employee Share Employer Share
PHP 1,500.00 and below 1% 2%
Over PHP 1,500.00 2% 2%

Finally, here we have an example on how PayrollHero calculates Pag-IBIG deductions.

This marks the end of our 3 part blogpost on Employer Contributions in the Philippines. For details on BIR, SSS and PhilHealth, click on the links. To see how PayrollHero calculates deductions on BIR, SSS and PhilHealth, make sure to click on the links.

Here is a helpful video from our friends at ZipMatch.com about Pag-IBIG

Disclaimer: As always, consult your lawyer or accountant for advice! We are here to help, but your specific situation should be reviewed by a professional with complete knowledge of your situation.

If you are interested in learning more about PayrollHero for your Philippine business, check out our website at PayrollHero.ph. We would be pleased to chat further about your needs.

How We Keep Young Star Talents from Leaving

Every employee is valuable. Repeating this old tired phrase really doesn’t mean much anymore. Sure, we know we are of value, but how valuable? Can we measure that? How do we know if our bosses are with us as much as we are with them in this company? Studies have revealed that the millennial generation is the population in the workforce that really values these questions, and use it to determine if they have join the right company to work for.

The PayrollHero Team has millennials as the majority. Just to be honest, our young talents in our team are being headhunted daily because they are doing such a stellar job and other companies are starting to take notice. However, the thought of leaving never occurred. Here’s how we keep our young rock stars with us!

We communicate all the time
There are no walls between management and the employees. We function as a team, always working towards the bigger picture. Our team is constantly on the move, functioning from different offices in Singapore, Canada and the Philippines, which is made easy using productivity apps like Slack. (Read on how we use Slack)

Having great communication means we are clear on the tasks each team has to complete and eliminate any grey areas and speculation. There can never be enough clarity when working with Millennials. Each team gathers for a huddle every morning to discuss completed tasks, give feedback- good or bad, in the moment. This way also we keep accountability crystal clear within the team.

Morning Huddles

Suggested reading: 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Being flexible enough to meet halfway
PayrollHero is incredibly blessed with many gifted and talented millennials like Vince, and Maita. And we are more than happy to participate in out of office events as often as possible. We are with each other 10 hours in a day, every weekday and some weekends too and happy to do so. We work hard and play hard together.

Smiles at breakfast

Recognizing each employee’s lifestyle needs is important too. Millennials appreciate when a company acknowledges life outside of work. PayrollHero knows that mixing life and work as harmoniously as possible is one of the secret to making millennials happy to be at work. Fundamentally, we believe in getting things done. So, you can feel free to do activities you love, so long as you complete tasks that is required of you during the week.

Empowering each employee with ownership 
For a millennial, ownership means a lot. At PayrollHero, many members of the company have a stake in the company which ensures that everyone commits. As a millennial myself, I can see that having that kind of ownership is empowering because I can be a part of something bigger. The days of working for a company just for the paycheck are gone. Owning a part of the company is a great incentive for an individual. But more importantly, it pulls the team together to focus towards a common goal: to see the company succeed.

To know exactly how we work, you’ll just need to join us. We are hiring for many positions across all offices and even for home based roles.

Giving credit to the ‘little guy’ in your company

The PayrollHero Way
Giving credit where credit is due is an important task for managers to keep the morale of their employees up. Employees like to be noticed and praised for a job well done.

Why are managers not giving enough praise? Besides the fact that you are busy running around, taking care of daily operations; making sure everything is running as it should, finding out which employee did well for the last 4 weeks will take more effort. Most of the time, this task is not on the top of the priority list and so easily overlooked.

PayrollHero can help you look good to your employees!

Surely there are times where you wish you would have remembered to at least say ‘Good Job’ to Bob the cashier for working 8 hours and being the most helpful. Human errors like this can be avoided by using a simple app, where you can monitor your employees day to day work and track how they are performing accurately.

By using the employee feedback app, Daily Pulse, employees are able to ‘like’ their colleagues that was the most helpful at the end of the shift. Another plus, your customer can give their feedback using the Customer Feedback app too- by voting for the employee that was the most helpful to them.

You, the manager, will receive the data in real time via Xray Insights app. The app will show a clearer view of each employee performance and tracks the employee who is getting the most ‘likes’ on that particular shift. Information is readily available for you at a touch of a button. This makes your job so much easier! It also eliminate subjectivity in your decision as it is based on figures- not hearsay.

Work Place Transparency

At PayrollHero, we want to break the conventional workplace hierarchy by making information more transparent within the company. Using mobile or web apps, all managers can readily access whatever information required anytime, anywhere. We recognize that being on the ball is important when running a business- so time should not be wasted on you waiting for information from other managers.

The Data Might Even Surprise You! 

You may be glad to find out that the employee that is actually doing great is the person you least expect. It could very well be the person who is clearing the dishes- that is the most helpful employee among the rest and the most ‘likeable’ to your customers.

The app works by making sure every employee is acknowledged, from the chef to the janitor. You can be the best manager who knows exactly the deserving employees to give credit to at the end of the day.

Read our post on Scheduling Best Practices for Managers.

Want to learn how to be a better manager?

Join our next Meetup on 10th Jun 2015 @ 4pm in Singapore.

We will be focusing on tips and tools you can use to better optimize HR and payroll processes, while cutting costs on time and creating a happier work culture.

To register >>> Capture