Work From Home (WFH) is a pretty new experience for a vast majority of the Pharma world, especially since it now involves the field force as well. This is as much a necessity as it is unprecedented which leaves one wondering how the industry will emerge when all the dust settles down.
At the moment, most senior executives are focused on keeping their teams busy and rightly so as WFH as a concept often sets off sniggers and smirks.
As much as one might snigger and smirk, these extraordinary circumstances have forced change in an industry that has been most resistant to it. Now is therefore the time to think of how to make the most of it and also if this is a sustainable and a viable option for the future.
Therefore, for team leaders who are otherwise focused on keeping teams engaged, a bit of attention to experience will also be necessary for the following reasons:
1) This is a transformational approach and one that the field force and non-HO staff aren’t likely to be comfortable with. Ensuring comfort and addressing issues is critical to emerging successfully from the lockdown. As it is, people are worried about losing jobs to technology. They will definitely be apprehensive about that coming true sooner than later.
2) WFH is less likely to be “Work from Home” and more likely to become “Work (in the) Future (maybe from) Home”. If this is the future of work, we may want to focus more on getting things right the first time. Team leaders have a pioneering role to show that WFH is both possible and fruitful.
3) Corporate India is going to emerge bruised from this lockdown and business leaders will look intently at this experience to see how to make it more mainstream, since it liberates resources and saves costs. For instance, >50% of office staff can work remotely and >50% of customer engagement can be done remotely. Selling costs are ~30% of the P&L and CXOs won’t take this lightly.
The focus for corporate executives therefore, should be on empathising with people undergoing the transformation and ensuring that their experience is a good one.
If we are watching the “Future of Work” unfold before us, then we should hone this into a well oiled exercise for your respective organisations and not treat the next few weeks as a mere experiment.