5 steps to a better work-life balance for payroll processers
The term “work-life balance” is one which you may have increasingly heard being mentioned in recent months. With more people now working from home either full-time or part-time, a “better work-life balance” has been cited as one of the many benefits. But what constitutes a good work-life balance? UK charity The Mental Health Foundation describes a healthy work-life balance as “making sure you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of your life.” This could mean that you are able to get your work done within scheduled working hours and have enough free time to spend on personal interests or spending time with friends and family. It could also mean that you are able to get the sleep you need and maintain a healthy diet without work getting in the way. It could also simply mean not spending your downtime thinking or worrying about work.
When it comes to the role of the payroll processer, achieving a healthy work-life balance may not be as straightforward as it is for other professionals. Employees depend on you to ensure they are paid correctly and on time. This means if you are going on holiday or taking a few days annual leave, you can’t simply down tools and take care of your payroll duties when you return. And for many, nor can you pass on the work to a colleague and have them take care of payroll in your absence. Payroll processing is a highly skilled job and one that must be completed on time, every time. Because of this many payroll processers may have found themselves working late the evening before they go on annual leave or working on their days off all to make sure employees get paid. Some may also work despite feeling unwell because they are prioritising their job over their own health. It is these factors which can lead payroll processers to an unhealthy work-life balance.
So, when it comes to processing payroll, what can you do to achieve a better work life balance?
1. Train more staff
If you are the only payroll processer in your practice, you should consider training someone else to look after payroll while you are away. How easy this is will depend on how straight-forward your payroll software is to use. By choosing a payroll software that has an easy-to-use interface and intuitive design, training someone up can be a lot easier than you think.
Another factor which will either make things a lot easier or a lot harder for a colleague to take over payroll duties is the quality of the support your payroll software provider has available. For someone who is new to payroll processing, it is important that they not only have a variety of online documentation, videos and guides available to them but that they also are able to pick up the phone and speak to a payroll expert should they find themselves needing help.
BrightPay is an example of a payroll software that would be the ideal solution. In our recent customer survey, 98.8% of new BrightPay users said that our software was easy to use. Our customer support has a 97.5% customer satisfaction rate thanks to our phone and email support, our video tutorials and our online documents.
- Spend less time checking over payroll information and correcting mistakes
When it comes to payroll, making mistakes can cost you and your clients. Because of this, you may spend extra time going over payroll information again and again to make sure everything is error free and ready to go. If you are double entering figures at any stage during the payroll process, this is where mistakes are most likely to be made. Luckily, this is also where you can save yourself the most time, through the use of Application Programme Interfaces (APIs). This is when your payroll software is connected to third party applications which facilitate the quick and easy transfer of payroll data from one platform to the other.
BrightPay Payroll software has API integrations with HMRC, accounting software and pension providers. This means that when you need to send payroll information to HMRC, enter payroll data into your accounting software or transfer pension data to your pension provider, there is no longer the need to manually enter data or create CSV files; payroll data can be sent over within a few clicks. This means you no longer have to spend time double and triple checking figures while also saving yourself time correcting any mistakes that might occur from manual entry.
- Changes to the payroll made easy
Another aspect of payroll processing which can be to blame for working late or putting in time on your days off is permitting for last-minute requests from clients to make changes to the payroll. Some clients may leave it till the eleventh hour to inform you of any changes to additions or deductions for that pay period or details of a new starter. When this happens, it may result in you doing overtime to make sure the changes are made before payslips are finalised. Depending on how many clients you have, the constant back and forth through emails to get payroll data sent over can be time consuming and inefficient.
When you use BrightPay Connect, our optional cloud payroll add-on alongside BrightPay’s payroll software, regardless of how many clients you have, a payroll entry request can be sent to all clients at the touch of a button. Your clients will then be notified of the request on their online dashboard. From here, the employer can add any additions or deductions to their employees’ pay, add new starter details or leave any other instructions that they may have for you in the comment box. They can also upload timesheets or other spreadsheets to inform you of their employees’ hours worked. Once you have reviewed the information and are happy with it, any new figures will automatically update in your payroll software. This helps to cut down on errors due to manual entry and saves you time as you won’t have to wait around for emails from your clients in order to get the payroll finalised.
- Pay employees 24/7, 365 days a year
The most common method of paying employees is through credit transfer. And while it may be a more convenient way to pay employees when compared to cash or cheque, it can still be a very time-consuming manual process for payroll processers. If you are using BACS to make payments to employees, you’ll know that having to plan payments around its 3-day turnaround while taking weekends and bank holidays into account can cause unduly stress. You may find yourself working late in the evening or worrying about getting the payroll finalised in time for payments to be made.
Thanks to BrightPay’s new integration with payment platform Modulr, this no longer needs to be the case. As payments are processed 24/7, even on bank holidays and weekends, this can help eliminate the end of the month stress experienced by payroll workers. Making payments is very simple and is all done through BrightPay and Modulr, meaning less work and less time is needed to get employees paid on time.
- Cut down on requests from clients
Phone and email requests from clients are another factor which can affect an employee's work-life balance. Clients may contact you at inconvenient times requesting information related to their payroll. Common requests from clients could be asking for documents to be sent to them such as payroll reports or historic payslips or they may want to enquire about amounts due to HMRC.
From the employer dashboard within BrightPay Connect, your clients will have online access to the payroll information they need. Clients can access this information anytime from any internet browser, cutting down on the unnecessary client emails which take up your time.
When trying to achieve or maintain a healthy work-life balance, your goals will be to take appropriate breaks, have sufficient time off and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, as achieving these is sometimes easier said than done, our tips above can help you reach this goal.
To learn more about how BrightPay and BrightPay Connect can help you achieve a better work-life balance, book a free online demo today.
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