Whether your business looks set to stick with a 100% homeworking setup indefinitely, or is more likely to adopt a hybrid of traditional and remote working moving forward, the days of spending 9-5 in an office have long gone.
However, amidst all the benefits associated with this newfound employment flexibility, there’s an unexpected cost associated with homeworking, which risks keeping business leaders up at night in 2021. We’re talking about the rise in expenses claims.
Jason Stothard, Group Digital Director at OfficeTeam, explores…
The mass shift to remote working, caused by the first Covid-19 lockdown, meant millions of employees suddenly found themselves trying to operate – as close to normally as possible – in a space that wouldn’t ordinarily resemble anything like their usual office environment.
As a result, procurement teams found themselves purchasing a more diverse range of ‘workplace’ products and services than ever before, ranging from home office equipment to cloud security and technologies to keep teams connected.
But the extended nature of the pandemic means that fast forward to the present day, and a rising number of employees are now buying their own workplace consumables, to aid their ongoing productivity and ability to do their jobs.
Expenses claims are therefore going through the roof.
Now of course, colleagues need to be reimbursed for certain employment-related expenditure, but there’s a better way to do this. It shouldn’t mean procurement strategies, supply chain policies, budgets and quality control mechanisms go out the window.
Because think about how much this could be costing your business.
For example, an estimated 40% of employees are now defaulting to non-authorised e-commerce sites to purchase business supplies and services. They then claim back the cost of these purchases, via an expense claim which costs at least 20 minutes of someone’s time – or £27.20 – to process*. And that’s just one claim, if it’s filed correctly! If it isn’t, the costs rise further still.
Then you’ve got the risks associated with fraudulent claims – something we’d all hope wouldn’t be the case among our own staff, although historic research from Global Payroll Association found 10% of employees admit to submitting inaccurate claims “all the time”.
As if these costs aren’t hard enough for organisations to bear when budgets are tighter than ever, perhaps the most significant challenge associated with allowing procurement rules to be relaxed and workplace supplies to be purchased via employee expenses, is that spend visibility becomes extremely hard to maintain.
And now is not the time to run your business in the dark.
We’re not just here to scaremonger though. We’ve been very vocal about our commitment to innovation, since the onset of the virus, and months ago we supercharged our procurement tool – SmartPad – for instance, to introduce many new features that better reflect the changing needs of our customers.
We’ve not stopped there. One of the latest changes to this e-commerce engine is the ability for our customers to set every colleague in their business up as a home user. This means employees can buy the products and services they need, in line with the order permissions set by the procurement team, via the usual business account.
This means they’re not out of pocket, there are no more costly expenses claims, spend visibility is regained, and budget control is resumed – as are all the usual benefits of a trusted, consolidated supply chain. They simply log onto SmartPad through our dedicated home working area, enter their email for verification and they can then order what they need.
To request a home user demo or if you’re an existing SmartPad customer that wants to get started with this new functionality, click here.
For businesses who are new to OfficeTeam, we’ve also launched a 30-day procurement reset plan – a complimentary service which begins with a free supply chain audit to identify the biggest areas of spend leakage, highlight how much relaxed procurement rules are costing, and provide a 5-point-plan to regain control, in less than a month! If you’d like to learn more about this, please enquire now.