Working From Home and Integrated Risk Management

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Challenges faced in 2021 and beyond

Cybersecurity has been elevated to the top risk faced by organizations, followed by compliance, according to The State of Risk Management Survey Report (2021). While the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend, digital transformation of the work space has elevated risk management concerns around secure data for IT departments globally.

In addition to cybersecurity issues, tax implications for remote employees can widen the jurisdictional scope of a company’s compliance management strategy, adding additional issues and complexity.

Beyond the risks posed by cybersecurity, benefits, and taxation, health and safety considerations must now be adapted to the home office, and companies require robust remote working policies and updated employment contracts. A significant challenge is the ability for employers to comply with applicable health and safety laws, when faced with a plethora of home offices.

For example, Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) broadly defines a workplace as “…any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works”. This poses a risk management headache for employers, how do they ensure consistency of compliance measures?

An integrated risk management approach

Without an integrated approach, employers are in a perpetually reactive state, responding to risks as they occur, and unable to proactively engage in continuous improvement. This is especially true of the remote working context for large enterprises with complex business operations.

Employers and employees alike require a simplified and integrated solution to:

  • Access risk repositories,
  • Review employment and cybersecurity policies,
  • Perform internal audits and checklists,
  • Report on compliance and risk issues, and
  • Leverage analytics for continuous improvement

Integrated Risk Management (IRM) approaches are twofold, they require a corporate culture that views compliance as a necessary good, and effective, simple to use software tools. They also benefit from the upwards trend in digital upskilling by remote workers. And finally, IRM strategies will avoid compliance management waste, facilitate communication and bolster operational resilience, while fostering preparedness against future risk, such as climate change, economic uncertainty, or other pandemics.