Nordic Life Science 1
76 s another, very concrete, example, the video c
ommunication tool Zoom increased its daily participants from 10 million to over 200 million in just three months during the pandemic, according to VentureBeat. A recent survey conducted by PharmaRelations of professionals working in the life sciences industry in the Nordics showed that participants are mostly satisfied regarding the ways in which their company and manager have enabled remote working. “Perhaps the most notable results relate to the future of remote work, with 91.4% of people indicating that the balance of working from both home and office will be important for them in the future. Furthermore, 62.7% of those surveyed believed that the existence of a remote work policy would impact their decision to join a new company in the future. Last, but by no means least, 42.4% of those surveyed would consider leaving their company post-COVID if not allowed to continue to work remotely,” says Claire Wharton, Senior Recruitment Manager at PharmaRelations. Evris Michalopoulos, Director, Strategy & Operations, EU Cluster, Bristol Myers Squibb, participated in the survey, and he believes that working from home, or for that matter flexible hours, is a valid employee benefit for those who might want it. “I used to work from home some days a week even before COVID-19. The different environments offer different opportunities. At home you can have a day full of meetings with colleagues based abroad as well as allocate time to think and design. On the flip side, the office gives you access to ideation with colleagues, informal catch ups and spare of the moment discussions that many times reduce the need for more formal meetings. I simply feel better having the option of working from home even if I do not use it. To take advantage of it, however, one must keep some principles in place, most of all that working from home should not come at the consequence of team work or cultural and company norms,” he says. Another survey, conducted by the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers, and with around 18,000 engineers participating (”Coronakrisen – hemarbetets potential prövas”), showed that the majority, and especially engineers in the middle of their careers, believed that it is easier to solve the life puzzle when working from home. This was especially pronounced among women aged between 40-44 years, 48% of whom had experienced a great improvement. However, many engineers also bore witness to experiencing a loss of community with colleagues and 60% believed that it is harder to collaborate when you can 76 NORDICLIFESCIENCE.ORG ”FINDING NEW METHODS FOR THESE KINDS OF INTERACTIONS WHEN THERE IS NO POSSIBILITIES TO MEET PHYSICALLY IS A CHALLENGE FOR THE EMPLOYER. MORE OF WHAT YOU COULD CALL AN INNOVATION-ORIENTED WORK ENVIRONMENT DEVELOPMENT IS NEEDED.” – ULRIKA LINDSTRAND not meet each other face to face. Remote work also affected their creativity, reports Ulrika Lindstrand, Chair of the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers. “The modern working life that bears the stamp of the possibilities of digitalization places high demands on the individual’s cognitive abilities (knowledge and skills). There are clear challenges at these times, where creativity is threatened. The focus on problem-solving thrives in creative work environments. In the work of problem-solving technology, the organization and the environment should be adapted to the engineer’s cognitive ability,” she explains. Evris Michalopoulos is witnesses to this and says he misses the human connection with his colleagues. ”I have mentally struggled with the lack of stimuli from meeting other people and discussing ideas informally. The quick chat or advice you would get in an office has disappeared. You have also grown a fear of cold calling, knowing everyone is in meetings and you will disturb,” he says. Ulrika Lindstrand emphasizes that we need environments where engineers can meet each other, discuss problems, and encounter other competencies in order to find new solutions and innovative approaches to technical problems. “Finding new methods for these kinds of interactions when there is no possibilities to meet physically is a challenge for the employer. More of what you could call an innovation-oriented work environment development is needed,” she says.