The last few weeks have been an absolute blur as the world seemingly changed in an instant as the COVID-19 pandemic consumed the entire planet. There is no one at this point that has not been impacted by this crisis and we are all being forced to make significant changes in both our personal and professional lives to help combat the spread of the virus.
One of the adjustments being made by millions of workers worldwide is the sudden requirement to work entirely from home. We can all hope that this is the biggest change we have to make to combat this crisis.
For many industries, this transition was simple. Technology firms like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are generally built to allow for remote work and this was an escalation to the entire company moving to a remote setup. Others, like banking and financial services firms, are faced with a bevy of challenges from technology to security to social. In the end, this may be the biggest change to the way work is done in the history of the modern era.
GAN is no different. Our teams in Europe and the United States have all moved to remote work. The technology transition was seamless and our platform continues to deliver for our customers. But in all of this chaos, we began to wonder what kind of impact this new remote reality would have on compliance teams and compliance as a whole?
As we looked into it, and, after speaking to Edward Hanover from DLA Piper (and former CCO of FIFA) during a virtual event we hosted last week, it becomes clear that the impact is significant.
Here are some areas that impact both a compliance team and the compliance program as a whole:
Labor and Employment Law
It is important for teams (not just compliance) to be cognizant of labor and employment laws. Depending on your organization, it is possible that as teams moved to work from home, they began working in multiple states and even countries. As a result of this dispersion, it immediately becomes more difficult to manage and track overtime (if relevant), to ensure employees are taking appropriate breaks (including those required by law), as well as providing required employment notices (think of those posters hanging in many lunchrooms or break areas).
In many cases, companies are required to follow the laws of the jurisdiction that the employee is performing the work in.
Technology helps to mitigate some of these issues, including notice distribution and time tracking. But in it is incredibly important for teams to be extra cautious to ensure labor and employment law issues do not disrupt an already fast-changing situation.
Increased Risk Across Organizations
The combination of working from home along with the uncertainty that the current crisis creates is a potent model to alter human behavior and create additional risk across the organization. Humans are programmed to survive and often revert to self-preservation in times of crisis. One only need to look at the hoarding of basic life items like food and toilet paper currently going on to see this first hand.
An example where this might come into play is with sales and marketing. These teams are under even greater pressure now to hit their goals. A salesperson, working remotely might begin to panic and start to think of ideas like bribery and other illegal behaviors to help them get closer to their goal.
This goes back to the earlier point. It is incredibly important to continue to keep compliance top of mind through continuous engagement and training.
Keeping Compliance Top of Mind
With teams suddenly dispersed and perhaps filling a bit disorientated, remembering the process for registering conflicts of interest or following third party due diligence requirements and more could easily be dropped on the list of priorities. With this in mind, it is incredibly important for compliance teams to keep their training efforts consistent. Additionally, it may make sense to provide employees with an abridged “refresher” training to keep critical compliance initiatives part of each employee’s day.
Employee Communication & Relationships
When employees are together in an office, there is constant interaction from a quick chat by the coffee maker to in-person check-ins. These connections help leaders understand how their teams are performing and how they are handling their work. With everyone remote, the need to stay closely connected becomes paramount. Compliance teams that may have met once a week should consider daily stand-ups, even if they are only for a few minutes. This will not only ensure that the team is headed in the same direction and focused on the same priorities but it also helps to alleviate some of the fear and uncertainty that is permeating throughout the world.
Throughout GAN, we’ve seen increased engagement across teams and a desire for everyone to have informal conversations as much as possible. A sense of a community that was established in an office setting has suddenly be inhibited. These informal and frequent check-ins can be a powerful tool to alleviate the situation.
What Working From Home Means for Compliance
These truly are unprecedented times and our lives and the way we work have been drastically altered. In this new remote working reality, it’s more important than ever to keep engagement up with employees so their fears and anxiety don’t get the better of them.
We are all in this together, and in an ironic way, all of this distancing could bring the world together in a way not felt for a very long time. It is certainly important to protect your business but obviously, the health and safety of employees come first. Stay safe and GAN is here to help in any way we possibly can.