June 4, 2020 | InBrief

Returning to work for life sciences companies

A successful return-to-work-model requires not just a solution, but training, communication, compliance, governance, and continuity

Life sciences companies have routinely been considered best-in-class for workplace safety and risk management. But COVID-19 has presented new and complex challenges to keeping employees safe, and life sciences companies are no exception. Building return-to-work strategies for diverse settings across manufacturing, laboratory, and office functions means rethinking what it takes to create a safe work environment while preserving service, productivity, and cost-to-serve.

Aspects of return-to-work strategies can be enabled by social distancing and contact tracing programs as well as the swift deployment of technology and new operating norms. But even the best technologies and programs will likely falter without strong change management and employee engagement. 

We believe the most successful return-to-work strategy is one that enables your workforce’s confident, productive return by thoroughly incorporating the employee perspective and accounting for what new safety measures mean for your workers’ day-to-day realities.  

A successful return-to-work strategy is more than a health and safety technology solution

We have identified five core components as critical to a multi-faceted return-to-work program that successfully enhances employee engagement, builds on prior safety processes, and assures adoption of any chosen health and safety technology solutions. As you consider these components, we invite you to ask yourself some essential questions:  

  1. Training and Communications: How will personnel, partners, and customers be informed thoughtfully and consistently about return-to-work policies?  

  2. Adoption and Compliance: How will adoption and compliance of the new health and safety procedures be enabled and sustained?  

  3. Agile Deployment: As systems and procedure effectiveness are assessed, how will your organization determine milestones, potential changes, and enhancements?   

  4. Data Governance & Privacy: How you will ensure the safety and security of personal information? 

  5. Business Continuity and Governance: How will business continuity be managed throughout the ongoing risk of COVID-19?  

Building a return-to-work strategy around these core components will be essential to creating thriving workplace conditions that include new norms such as social distancing, contact tracing, and proximity wearables with real-time insights into work safety and employee behavior. A robust change management approach that accounts for the employee perspective will be critical as you look to navigate these norms without harming productivity or impinging upon your employees’ sense of independence. 

Solving for now—and for the future 

Reimagining the creation of a safe work environment in order to recover and thrive under new norms and restrictions must include the preservation of service, productivity, and cost-to-serve. This is more than a matter of selecting and successfully implementing scalable, reliable technologies and rolling out new safety and risk management programs; it requires a multi-faceted approach. 

Similarly, it requires a multi-faceted partner with a strong track record of facing urgent, complex challenges across manufacturing and distribution floors, laboratory environments, distributed field teams and offices by focusing on the confluence of people, processes, and technology. From selecting the right health and safety tools to managing a successful deployment, ensuring adoption, and beyond, we can help you carefully weave solutions into your organizational fabric to create an approach that works for you and your employees.  

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