Remote Working Survey – The impact on Life Science Executives

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In response to feedback from both clients and candidates, we wanted to explore the impact of changing working patterns in light of the unforeseen global pandemic. A recent survey GenSearch conducted a survey of 291 Senior Life Science professionals. 75% reported that the ability to work remotely would be instrumental in deciding on their next career move.  

During the last 9 months the team has had numerous conversations with both candidates and clients about the importance and practicalities of face-to-face interactions. The objective of our survey was to measure and validate people’s attitude towards remote working in the current challenging climate. The survey showed that 79% were working over 50% of their time remotely. A staggering figure, but do people really want to work from home? 36% of our survey participants wanted to work remotely less often. Anecdotal feedback shared highlights the way employees are keen to get the best from both styles of working, such as “at least 2 days working from the office is key to good relationships” and “it is important to balance time working remotely and at the office”.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, most businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working and employees have had to accept changes in the manner they work. Remote Working began in the 1970s and adoption increased in the 2000s driven by technology. In 2020 the global pandemic has forced us to really confront the positives and negatives of not being at the office. A recent Harvard Business Review stated “Without Question, the model offers notable benefits to companies and their employees

The advantages of being able to work remotely for employees were evenly distributed, however not having to commute was highest at 32%, one respondent stated, “less of my time and energy is wasted commuting”. Pauline Rambaud, Senior Consultant at GenSearch shared “Many of my clients are seeking evidence to support the changes to working styles, so we are delighted with the responses received, it is in line with our expectations”.

Flexibility and work-life balance both scored highly as the greatest benefits of remote working. Conversely, 20% stated that one of the hardest struggles was not being able to unplug from work. Some respondent felt they were more productive, had less distractions but were working longer hours, so have implemented strategies to preserve their home life.

The biggest challenges were the ability to communicate and work together, also 10% stated they felt lonely. People need people, the lack of opportunity to work together, inspire, brainstorm, and maintain a high-level of morale is notable. Leaders also shared that they have had to adapt their leadership styles. They stressed the need to put more energy into team cohesion and look at innovative ways to ensure the flow of information across their teams. Social connections are key, do not underestimate the power of fun at work. The good news is best practices are starting to emerge and are being tried and tested through the Covid Experiment!

Whilst remote working is becoming the new norm -6% of our survey had no option to work from home (it must be noted that some functions e.g., R&D, Manufacturing, the ability to work remotely not possible). Several of our respondents stated in their comments that they perceived organisations that did not offer remote work as outdated and lacking in trust.

Trust, collaboration, flexibility, efficiency, productivity, innovation, culture, communication, and balance were all used repeatedly throughout our respondent’s depiction of a positive working culture. A balanced, fair remote working policy is perceived as a true differentiator in being able to attract and retain the top talent. Heiko Bruhn, Manging Director DACH at GenSearch shared “Remote working is a reality. Company cultures need to evolve to ensure cohesion. Teams must be aligned  to meet business objectives as we enter 2021”.

Remember, three quarters of our survey saw the ability to work remotely as a key differentiator when deciding on their next career move. If you want to recruit and retain the very best Life Science talent think wisely about what can be learnt from 2020.

About GenSearch

GenSearch is an Executive Search, Assessment and Coaching firm dedicated to the Life Sciences. Our clients and the executives we support respect us for our in-depth expertise of complex environments, the reliability of our processes, our ethical approach as well as our openness to share our knowledge and network.

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