How this pharmaceutical company is embracing hybrid work


MSD’s Mark Nolan explains how the pharmaceutical company is going hybrid and what companies need to think about as the workplace changes.

When we think of remote or hybrid working, it’s easy to imagine office workers moving from a common workspace to a home office. But what about companies whose staff work in laboratories and manufacturing?

The pandemic has forced pharmaceutical companies around the world to adapt to some type of remote work and staggered shifts in order to ensure a safe working environment. Now, these companies must also think about what their organization will look like in a post-pandemic world.

Pharmaceutical company MSD has several sites across Ireland, manufacturing drugs, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. Its HR manager for Ireland, Mark Nolan, told how work life has changed for company staff, with the sudden shift to virtual engagement and adaptation to changing protocols. .

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“When I think about what has changed for people is integration and training. We have a very good onboarding program, very good training programs, we had to adapt them very quickly to the people on board and train people in a very different way, ”he said.

“The pandemic has been a challenge for our early talents. When we think of our graduate program, our interns, our people starting their careers for the first time, they start in a really different way than what would be the norm.

“I think we just need to be very careful with this hybrid model of helping these people get back to the sites, get into the offices, see what the production area looks like, meet some of their team, and help them settle in as best they can.

The future is hybrid

While the health, safety and general support of staff during the pandemic has been at the forefront of employers’ concerns, many people are looking beyond the pandemic to their new professional future.

For MSD, this includes a new hybrid model. Nolan said one of the key considerations when creating MSD’s hybrid working model was the ability to innovate.

“I think a lot of the studies I’ve read… talk about this increase in productivity during the pandemic, but I think what we’ve also seen in these studies is a decrease in innovation,” he said. -he declares.

“For a company like MSD, it’s really important that we innovate for our patients, so that’s something we make sure of in this hybrid model.

Companies around the world have rolled out long-term remote working strategies in recent months, with many big tech companies like Google planning to allow some of their employees to work from home on a permanent basis.

For a pharmaceutical company like MSD, Nolan said it was essential to ensure that its hybrid model meets all functions and roles within the company.

“Some will be more site-based, some will be remote, some will be a combination,” he said. “One thing I really liked is that we weren’t very specific about it. I think it helps increase our culture of trust because it’s not about where we do the job, but what we do.

Nolan added that the most important part of adapting to the new future of work is giving hybrid models the time they need to evolve.

“I think this hybrid way of working was always going to happen, I think it was something that every company was looking at and the pandemic really accelerated that,” he said.

“While there are benefits to that, we have asked people to follow this curve of change very, very quickly and what we want to make sure is that by putting in the effort now, by having the conversations now we have a truly inclusive trust. -Innovative and future-based hybrid working model.

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