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It will never be the same

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“You’ll have to drag me back to the office kicking and screaming”, said the Head of Operations from a US Pharma company.

At the beginning of April when Tokyo went into lockdown, thousands of worker found themselves working from home permanently. Some companies like AbbVie who had already installed a work where you want when you want policy made the transition seamlessly. The company already had been “hot desking”. This working from home thing was a piece of cake.

Others worried that they would not be productive, would miss socializing and in short not be as happy. One Business Unit Head remarked, “well there are some managers who want to count their chickens everyday”

Covid 19 has many claiming it is the driver of digital transformation and has taught both the pharma sales, marketing and medical teams to be more innovative. Healthcare providers too have had to adapt to the new normal. One medical director said counter intuitively that it is the younger doctors who are missing the face to face interaction the most, since they rely on medical representatives and Medical Science Liaisons as a resource. The older HCP’s are more that happy to jump on line for a meeting.

For some the novelty of WFM is wearing off, the initial excitement of virtual drinks is losing its shine. Some are refusing to turn off cameras and the stress of home schooling and being with partners 24/7 can be tough. One aspect of WFH is unanimous, not having to commute for 2-3 hours a day, is a good thing!

WRH has taught Japan’s pharma industry and this writers company (we now have people working in Tokyo, Nagoya, Mie, Taiwan, Philippines, Hawaii and India) that it is possible to grow, hit targets, build a winning culture from home no matter where the location.

The promises of work life balance and working from home have been realized by many. Is this the new normal?

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