When we began working with one of our Medical Affairs clients at a major global pharma organisation in January, we had much to do in a five-month timeframe. We had plenty of relevant therapy area experience but were breaking new ground in innovative sustainability topics.
At The Difference Collective, consultants are senior-level experts adept at picking up new projects and seeing them through to successful completion. Our client was delighted by our ability to come up to speed and get so much work done so quickly.
It helped that one team member was located in the UK in the same time zone as the client and I am based in New York City. When I began work in the morning on Eastern Standard Time (EST), progress had already been made on active items. When my colleague or our client started their day, there were emails and updated documents from me waiting for them.
By March, we were making great progress both strategically and on our deliverables, including scientific narratives and core slide decks. Then the pandemic began to impact our regions of the world forcing us all to work from home. Those unused to it learned to cope with regular household distractions as well as the extra challenges from COVID-19 restrictions – 24/7 childcare, homeschooling, health management and caring for neighbours and isolated family members.
The challenge of continuing at the pace we had set was daunting, but we managed it. I chose to shift my work hours so that my day began at 5:30 AM EST. It was perfect in allowing me more time zone overlap with my colleague and client and uninterrupted work time before homeschooling commenced. We all pivoted to find common time to have Zooms and started messaging each other on WhatsApp with real-time updates.
We accomplished a lot in five months including the finalisation of a full-scale publication plan. We were proud the client decided to retain us for an additional three months to help with other relevant deliverables including a white paper and evidence generation for Data on File references.
For me, this experience demonstrates how “working differently” is an absolute necessity in today’s world. At The Difference Collective, we’re pros at virtual working: that agility has translated into real value for this client and showed them the effectiveness of our approach.
About the Author
Susan Cuozzo is an award-winning medical education specialist and accredited publication planner (ISMPP CMPP) and medical writer. Susan has a 20+ year track record of creating strategic scientific communications.