The payroll problem: handling currency fluctuations in a location-independent world

Pritesh Ruparel
February 9, 2022 | Hedging Insights

The payroll problem: handling currency fluctuations in a location-independent world

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, remote working has been high on businesses’ agendas. Faced with a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening virus, even those who used to be dead-set against it had to concede that suffering through Zoom calls with jumper-clad colleagues was the lesser of two evils.


But if much of the discourse around remote work frames it as a temporary fix to an extraordinary problem — or as a challenge to be overcome — the reality is that it benefits employers just as much as employees.


And once we’ve explained what you stand to gain from allowing your staff to work from anywhere — and how we can help you make the operational side of it that much smoother — we’re confident you’ll agree.

What's in it for me? The perks of remote working for employers

Remote working has three compelling benefits for employers:

  • It increases your talent pool by orders of magnitude
  • It boosts productivity and loyalty
  • It slashes your overhead


Thinking Global


Taking location out of the equation means you’re not limited to hiring locally, but can consider top talent from anywhere in the world.


Whether your ideal candidate lives in upstate New York, slap bang in the centre of bustling Mumbai, or in a small village in the Australian outback, remote working means you can hire them without having to worry about visas or forking out thousands for a relocation package they can’t refuse.


But the benefit extends beyond new hires.


If your star employee decides to pursue their dream of moving to the Caribbean because life’s too short to get drenched waiting for the bus every day, remote working means they can do so without giving up their career and leaving you in the lurch.


Happy stuff do better work


Even if your best people decide against moving to a tropical idyll, you can still benefit from allowing them to work remotely. Remote employees consistently report being happier and more satisfied. And happier, more satisfied employees are more productive and less likely to move on.


In a Stanford University study, remote workers were 13% more productive than their office-bound colleagues. Which means they managed almost an extra day’s worth of work every single week.


Similarly, another Stanford University study found remote employees are 50% less likely to change jobs. And in a recent survey, 81% said they’d be more loyal if their employer allowed more flexible working arrangements.


Ditching the office saves you ££££s


If the prospect of a virtually unlimited pool of uber-talented, highly motivated, and fiercely loyal employees doesn’t convince you remote working is the way to go, it’s worth crunching some numbers.


Put simply, rent, utilities, property taxes, and the other costs of having a brick-and-mortar office quickly add up. This is money you could set aside, use to grow your business, or pay out to investors.


The cost savings of running an office-free business vary a lot depending on the location, but the numbers are invariably staggering.


In the UK, digital concierge service Altus reckons remote working could save small and medium-sized businesses up to £10,000 a year per employee. Similarly, in the US, if employees worked remotely just 2.5 days a week, businesses would save a whopping $11,000 per employee — around £8,200

How do you pay a remote worker?

Of course, where there’s an upside, there’s always a downside. And remote working is no different.


Several terabytes of content have been written about the challenges of monitoring compliance, collaborating, and keeping team spirit alive in a remote workplace, so we won’t add to the noise.


But one critical issue that’s often lost in the shuffle is this: How do you handle payroll when your staff is spread all over the world?


Remote working has two key challenges from a payroll perspective.


Firstly, managing a multi-country payroll system is hugely complex. You’ll need to get to grips with significantly different tax regimes and legal requirements in several countries. And if you have staff based in a non-English-speaking country, you’ll have to deal with the language barrier on top.


Secondly, and more to the point, your remote workers will most likely want to get paid in the currency of the country they live in. Even if they were to agree to get paid in your home currency, it might still not be possible, because local employment laws may prohibit it.


The upshot is that you could be looking at significant exposure from exchange rate fluctuations, currency conversion fees, and other charges. Which means one of your biggest and most important fixed costs — salaries — risks becoming a variable cost, harming your cash flow and making it harder for you to budget accurately.

Putting certainty into your payroll

According to our own research , this is exactly what’s happening.


Many businesses pay remote workers using the prevailing spot rate — the exchange rate their bank or payment services provider offers them — on the day they run payroll. As a result, they’re paying over the odds and dealing with exchange rate fluctuations every single month.


Well, we’re here to tell you there’s another way.


At Assure Hedge, we’ve devised a product that helps you lock in an exchange rate, get certainty, and save big.


Our product is based on a simple hedging technique: instead of using the spot rate, we use strips, a sequence of future-dated transactions in which you agree today to exchange money for a predetermined exchange rate.


Using strips allows you to lock in an exchange rate for up to two years, so you can make accurate, long-term budgets. Better still, it’s at least 50% cheaper than banks’ foreign exchange offerings.


As things stand, we support 34 currencies, with more coming soon.


More importantly, we’re FCA-authorised, have state of the art security, and trade 24 hours a day, so you always get the best deal possible and your employees can get paid like locals wherever they are in the world.


Remote working in the future. Let's help you grab its opportunities with both hands

Barely a month into the pandemic, 74% of employers were already planning to permanently shift some of their workforce to remote work. And, according to Owl Labs, 56% of businesses are allowing employees to work remotely at least some of the time, while 16% have gone fully remote.


Remote working is here to stay, and that’s a great thing for employers and employees alike. At Assure Hedge, we can help you smooth out the operational challenges so you can reap the rewards and save money in the bargain.


Want to pay your staff easily and cost-effectively, wherever they are in the world?


Let’s talk about how we can help you.

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Pritesh Ruparel
Chief Executive Officer at Assure Hedge