Posted on July 29th, 2021 by Ann-Marie Roche in Pharma R&D

We at Elsevier were pleased to be one of five companies recognized for their ability to keep remote workers rooted in company culture in this recent Comparably article. Like many organizations during the pandemic, we had to quickly adapt to remote working on a large scale for our international workforce. As the article notes, “Elsevier took an empathetic and pragmatic approach in supporting its people and its customers and rapidly harnessed technology to work from home.”

That empathetic
approach might come, for instance, in a moment when a meeting was interrupted
by an unexpected appearance from someone’s toddler. For Elsevier, it was important
that employees never feel worried or embarrassed by such moments, as we know
everyone is doing their best to balance work and home life while working

As an information
and analytics company, we are fortunate to already be an organization that
embraces technology, but to continue collaborating on projects without
interruption, team members had to employ a number of different strategies. Matt
Clark, Senior Director of Scientific Solutions at Elsevier R&D Solutions,
cites the instant messaging capability in Microsoft Teams as being an important
remote working tool that is more interactive than email and allows for ad-hoc
discussions. “That helps connect us with immediacy,” he says, also noting the
value of video calls, as the visual element offers a little extra personal connection.

employees have been provided with technical support and best practices to help
facilitate secure, effective remote work. This includes resources like
Q&As, informative webinars and a 24/7 TechDesk.

Technology can’t
solve every problem by itself, though. Old-fashioned organizing has its role.
Matt points out that having standing meetings with agenda items has been key
for keeping teams on track even while working apart—as well as making time to
discuss what’s on people’s minds (including a little time for the occasional
rant to relieve stress, too, when needed!).

At the height of
the pandemic, Elsevier employees also had the extra motivation of understanding
they had an important part to play in helping develop solutions in the fight
against COVID-19. Our work supporting life sciences researchers and scientists
was more critical than ever, and Elsevier even launched a special coronavirus
research hub to assist those who were working on treatments and vaccines.

When it came to delivering major projects, such as patent expansion in Reaxys, Rosalind Sankey, Lead Product Manager, made certain that her team continued to collaborate with customers every step of the way, ensuring competitive intelligence and novelty searching needs were met.

“We always
involve customers to ensure that the solution we deliver meets their needs and
expectations,” Rosalind says. “Online survey tools were used to help validate
ideas and define priorities and video calls were set up to get more detailed
feedback on aspects such as potential changes to the User Interface (UI) and
in-depth testing and validation of the output from our data science tools used
for extracting critical information e.g. targets (gene/protein).”

Although we are
proud to be an organization that functions well remotely, Matt acknowledges
that there are downsides. “Video helps, but doesn’t replace the interactions
shared at lunch or outside the formal meetings,” he says.

That “human
touch” element has been sorely missed. But we are hopeful that as more people
get vaccinated, we will increasingly be enjoying more opportunities to meet
with both customers and colleagues in person again.

R&D Solutions for Pharma & Life Sciences

We’re happy to discuss your needs and show you how Elsevier’s Solution can help.

Contact Sales