It’s been an understandably subdued start to the year. As we look forward to the rest of 2021, we have a couple of big, and related, New Years’ resolutions for the agency.
The first is to work out what ‘the new normal’ office will look like, when we’re eventually able to return. We transitioned pretty easily to an all-remote team back in March, and everyone has enjoyed the benefits – more flexibility, more free time, less commuting – even while coping with the impact of the pandemic on everyday life. It’s also taught us that we can work effectively from home to deliver successful projects for clients.
What we’re missing – or at least think we’re missing – are the chance conversations, the group discussions, the brainstorms around a whiteboard. But, in a survey we ran last week, only 4% of colleagues are planning to come back 5 days a week. So instead of an office at 90% occupancy, we are looking at closer to 30%.
How do we configure a space that works as well for the people that choose to come into the office as those that don’t – but will join meetings by video? How do we create a place to collaborate live and virtually? We don’t yet know the answers, but we’re kicking off the redesign of the office as one part of a ‘work and wellbeing’ plan for dynamic, flexible, employee-centred working.
Our second resolution is to be more environmentally conscious. As an industry, healthcare communications is built around live events: big medical conferences, educational meetings, advisory boards, workshops, etc. But the last year has shown us that many of these can work just as well virtually.
In 2019, we collectively flew over 1.8M km to support our clients; in 2020, almost zero. In 2021, as it becomes possible to travel freely again, we will continue to propose virtual events. As a member of the medical community, we also need to be vocal in demanding that the medical community – us, our pharma clients and their HCP customers – takes this unique opportunity to reset how it works.
We’re happy to be living in interesting times…
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