As COVID-19 transforms remote working into the “new norm” around the world, small business operators are facing new challenges trying to stay afloat. Online payroll service provider Paychex has been conducting snap polls with its users in an effort to gauge business attitudes during the crisis, and has found that a quarter of businesses polled intend to continue utilizing remote work post-pandemic. While employment growth is dropping, organizations are still catching up to the rapidly changing business technology ecosystem, and companies like Paychex are accelerating new features as they continue to adapt.
Paychex Flex already offers a comprehensive platform for HR, payroll services, talent recruitment, and much more, and now the company is rolling out new features aimed at helping small businesses as they undergo a digital metamorphosis in real-time. New additions to the platform include communication tools like HR Connect and Conversations, both of which enhance the employee experience operating in virtual offices.
Regarding the current state of unemployment in the US, Paychex CEO Martin Mucci recently told CNBC, “We saw the July jobs index drop, that puts us back to about April, so we’re flat over the last three months.” The company utilizes payroll data of its 350,000-plus client roster to produce a monthly report, the Paychex/IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch, which tracks small business employment and wage trends across the country. Mucci’s colleague Tom Hammond also remarked, “The current work environment has reinforced the critical role technology must play in supporting business operations, infrastructure, and the workforce.” Hammond, a VP of corporate strategy and product management, believes that the updates to Paychex Flex are designed to support small businesses during tumultuous times.
In the U.S., the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was intended to help struggling businesses keep employees on the payroll through the early months of the global pandemic, but the funds are drying up and jobs are again declining. Mucci noted the positive effect the loan program had on small business sustainability during the summer months, but also recognizes the need for further federal support. As organizations wait for continued relief, Paychex is just one company that is staying ahead of the quickly evolving workplace tech curve.