The way nations have been surviving the COVID-19 health crisis is by making massive changes —in daily affairs, in business conduct, and in overall lifestyles. Altogether, these adjustments have led to the new normal: the new state, system, and environment, where society must settle and which regulators must govern. Naturally, this has several implications for businesses. The more rules and regulations, the more requirements for them to remain compliant. Learn more about the demands that companies face through their top 5 biggest compliance challenges in the new normal.
- Data Protection and Cyber Security
A major part of surviving the pandemic is going digital; but together with all its benefits, risks of breaches in data sharing have heightened. According to last year’s Data Breach Report by RiskBased Security, 2020 is determined to be the “worst year on record” totaling the number of records exposed to a staggering 36 billion. Today, data necessitates utmost protection with governance and control, urging the reinforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Know Your Customer (KYC), and other global regulatory requirements. Rules for data security will forever be far more stringent, and with increased regulatory scrutiny, this may call for a third party provider that is tested, experienced, and 100% data privacy compliant.
- Post-COVID Workplace
While restrictions regarding the pandemic will relax in due time, the same cannot be said with employee expectations. Even with high vaccination levels, not all employees would be willing to return to the office when there are sound reasons not to: the issue of safety, the cost/time savings, or the exemption from commuting. In fact, a survey by Flexjobs reveals that only 2% would like to return to the office full-time. Hence, a hybrid working model—work is split between a remote location and the office—is likely to be normalized. This entails new compliance considerations such as: an eligibility criteria, Work From Home productivity metrics, enhanced safety measures, reintegration protocols, and updated bereavement policies.
- Employee Mental Health & Well-being
The COVID-19 pandemic has struck people just as mentally as it did physically and has done so whether or not they were patients. In 2020 alone, the World Health Organization discovered that 3.6 million Filipinos suffer from one kind of mental, neurological, and substance use disorder. Accordingly, mental health today is given paramount importance in the regulatory perspective as it has never been more vulnerable and, at the same time, vital in the presence of a health crisis. As recently ordered by DOLE, the Guidelines for the Implementation of Mental Health Workplace Policies (D.O. No. 208) introduce new requirements, which all establishments in the formal sector must incorporate.
- Company Culture
Because of digital transformation, companies should know that increased engagement with consumers is not without evaluation from the same. Information on their values and practices are now at the public’s fingertips. Based on the Global Consumer Pulse Research, shoppers nowadays hold businesses to the expectation that they prevent any unethical conduct; otherwise, the latter would lose customer trust and loyalty to a damaging effect. That is why regulatory pressures may at times be societal pressures, and vice versa. Companies are challenged to be proactive, and the first step is abiding by the laws that further social justice (e.g. anti-discrimination, safe work spaces, anti-bullying).
- Compliance Agility
The continued uncertainty in the business environment urges companies to be able to adapt to change, recover in stressed conditions, and demonstrate these even prior to disruptions. By now, governments around the world are requiring businesses to plan operational risks beforehand to ensure regulatory compliance apart from survival in the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world. Although expectations for long-term resilience have not been formalized in the Philippines, these foreign measures hint to the responsibility of firms to anticipate and prepare for anything.
These are the five biggest obstacles that businesses face when adjusting to the new normal of legal compliance. By exhibiting the impact on business conduct, they reveal the pressures that are in the way of seamless operations, a positive image, and organizational resilience. Ultimately, it is vital to undergo the necessary measures and sometimes, even beyond that. To ensure no challenges are overlooked and all issues addressed, a third party provider will be of utmost help.
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