Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are some of the most innovative and agile in the world. In the healthcare industry, you need to constantly adapt to new trends, conditions, outbreaks, and requests. Thriving in a transformative industry also means being prepared to support an evolving team.

The hybrid work model has been taking the world by storm since the pandemic of 2020. Forced to reconsider the benefits of remote and flexible working, companies have discovered the hybrid model as the perfect balance between both worlds. Studies show that around 51% of employers now support a hybrid work model, and 63% of high-growth companies use this strategy.

The question is, how do you support a hybrid working model in an environment as complex and demanding as healthcare?

What is Hybrid Work?

Hybrid work aims to provide businesses with the best in-office and remote working practices. Rather than having staff working entirely from home or within a physical location, you allow your team to switch between environments according to the requirements of their roles.

Hybrid working makes a lot of sense as an opportunity for pharma and medical device companies. Employees can work in a lab when doing research or travel to meet clients face-to-face. At the same time, they can do administrative and reporting work from home, reducing the business’s overheads and maintaining flexibility.

Some of the benefits of hybrid working include:

  • Improved productivity: Hybrid working allows professionals in the healthcare industry to choose the location most suitable for their tasks each day. If an office is too full of distractions for periods of focused, administrative work, employees can choose to work from home, where they can block out distractions. If collaboration and face-to-face interactions are necessary, your team can come into the office.
  • Better job satisfaction: Now employees have had a taste of flexible working models, they’re more likely to reject roles that don’t offer a level of flexibility. Hybrid working can allow employees to enjoy better work/life balance while avoiding chaotic workplaces, exhausting daily commutes, and restrictive schedules.
  • Cost savings: Fewer people working in an office means fewer expenses than overheads like electricity, desk space, and real estate. A hybrid working model may even allow a healthcare innovator to move to a smaller location.

At the same time, hybrid work doesn’t suffer from the various issues of a fully remote working strategy, like feelings of isolation or issues with inclusivity.

How do You Build a Hybrid Work Strategy?

Hybrid working efforts can drive many benefits for healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical devices companies, but they also have challenges to overcome. Managing a hybrid workforce can be a complex experience for leaders who have only ever worked in a traditional environment.

When building your hybrid working strategy, make sure you consider:

  • Fairness and inclusivity: Hybrid work strategies can be helpful for improving diversity in the workplace because it’s possible to hire people from all over the world. However, you need to ensure your hybrid work strategy makes everyone feel included, no matter where they’re working from. Avoid having meetings exclusively for in-office staff and seek ways to boost communication between workers through tools like instant chat.
  • Collaboration: How will you support your employees in working together when they’re not always in the same office? Cloud tools for document and file sharing are a good step, as are video conferencing options for face-to-face collaboration. Make sure your team members have everything they need to remain productive outside of the office.
  • Support: Support for a hybrid workforce comes in many different forms. It includes giving your team members the help they need from a technology perspective, with subscriptions to the right tools. Support should also have regular one-to-one conversations with team leaders to keep staff on the right track.

How Can Healthcare Companies Get Hybrid Working Right?

Building a hybrid workforce in the medical industry isn’t just about allowing some of your employees to work from home. Like any business transformation, you need to think about how you can adapt your company culture to support a hybrid workforce.

If you’re starting a new hybrid initiative from scratch, bring
everyone together to discuss how the plan might work. Leaders, managers, and H.R. will need to consider which employees can realistically work remotely and what kind of policies those team members should follow. Supervisors will need to look for ways to keep staff engaged when out of the office and implement tools for tracking performance.

Crucially, the conversation about a hybrid future can’t belong to business leaders alone. It’s also important to speak to the people who will be working in a hybrid environment and find out what they need to remain productive. Some staff members might need additional training to learn how to use crucial collaboration and cloud-based working tools.

As you implement your hybrid working strategies, pay attention to the results of your initiative. Look at team productivity levels and whether they improve. Interview staff to get an insight into their engagement and work satisfaction and ask for regular feedback on how to improve your hybrid efforts.

The hybrid workplace will be an exciting and popular concept for all kinds of healthcare companies in the years to come. The key to success is making sure you know how to leverage this idea correctly.