The next few months are going to be challenging in ways that we have never known. There are going to be different kinds of loss in our lives, even if only for our ability to move freely about. It is more vital than ever to share the ways that we can respond in a constructive manner. Phlexglobal is here to support you with ideas, action, and services.
Together, we are stronger and more capable. I believe that people in this industry are attracted to this kind of work because it allows each of us to contribute at so many different levels. It’s this attitude and strength that will help us get through this together.
1. We Can Leverage Our Flexibility
Many pharmaceutical workers are so lucky to be employed in jobs that allow us to work from home. It’s critical that we leverage that flexibility right now. We can work flexible hours during the day. When possible, we can alternate caring for those we love and being at our desks working. Perhaps, you can work a longer day one day and then a shorter day the next. There are so many possibilities to explore right now and the perfect time to innovate.
2. We Can Build New Habits
With the normal rhythms of our lives being disrupted, its essential that we build new ones. I encourage you to map your day out on your calendar, create zones when you can focus, build in times for you to step back from all the stress and take a moment to center yourself. Being calm and centered for each other and for those we care about is going to be hard at times. Developing new habits helps remind us that we can adapt. More than ever, I am relying on my daily task list to provide structure and a feeling of accomplishment as the day goes by. I’m gonna leverage that ole OCD of mine.
3. We Can Manage Anxiety with Action
Worrying helps us prepare for the future, but at excessive levels, it can be paralyzing and debilitating. Everyone thinks about the future in their own ways. We need to share ideas on how to shift this outlook from being overwhelmed to feeling capable and strong. Taking action is the best way (that I know of) to reduce my own anxiety. For me that involves using the Serenity Prayer, for others it’s something entirely different. (I should actually say the Serenity Prayer, a massive amount of licorice, and daily hot baths for reading.) Being of service to our patients and colleagues is one way to shift that feeling of helplessness into one of agency. This is the time to share your strategies and experiment with what works best.
4. We Can Manage Feeling Powerless by Helping Others
To the extent possible and acceptable, its finally the time to encourage everyone to turn on their video cameras during meetings. It’s not about having a bad hair day contest. We all want to build stronger relationships with each other. We want to assure everyone that, we too, are working in kitchens, in sweats, with kids running about. We are giving each other permission to be human during this time. We are showing who we are to the person on the other side of the call. If you feel uncomfortable being on video, please remember the kindness you are demonstrating by being vulnerable this way. If we worked in an office together, you would simply learn about my poor fashion choices another way.
5. We Can Be Stubborn About Showing Our Value
I also highly encourage you to be stubborn right now and unwilling to be defeated. This virus has no mind; it’s a error-prone side effect of our evolution. But we are stronger than it is, we are intelligent and cunning and adaptable. We are in this industry for a purpose. Our work is to overcome disease and we are going to do that. Sometimes our work can feel tedious, it can feel unappreciated. But never has it been more important.
6. We Can Find the Opportunities in The Challenges
Ok, I admit it. I’m looking forward to some aspects of being in quarantine mode: a few less social obligations, finally learning how to cook, and reading more of the books that have been piling up. I am hoping that each of us can find our own opportunities in the middle of this mess. Perhaps we can take a deeper dive into some of their studies, learn more about industry updates to teach each on how the field is adapting to these changes, or add ideas to our training library. Phlexglobal provides TMF Analysis Heatmaps to help out. They allow you to see the health of your TMF over time at a snapshot level and provide an opportunity for discussion on how to make improvements. Most of all, this is a great opportunity to spend time with our family, play board games, watch movies together and laugh. Laughter helps heal the soul and mend wounds.
7. We Can Take Time for Learning and Teaching
With this in mind, I encourage you to identify one subject that you can learn more about during this time and also offer to teach your teams and colleagues. Phlexglobal has recently acquired CuneSoft and our expertise has grown enormously. We are all sharing new ideas and approaches with other. By itself, this is energizing. During times like these, its critical.
Think about how you teach others about TMF quality; explore the intricacies of machine learning, identify best practices that we can share. Anytime when I am feeling helpless or hopeless or just prickly all around, I have found that I feel better after learning something new. I feel a little more powerful. And when I get to pass on what I’ve learned; I feel even better.
8. We Can Be as Kind and Compassionate to Ourselves as We Are with Others
Now admittedly, we all have difficult days; personalities can clash. But one thing that has always impressed me about this industry is everyone’s level of kindness and compassion and caring. I can palpably feel it when our TMF Study Owners help clients improve the quality of the TMF, especially before inspections. But I’ve always been struck that the wrong people are hardest on themselves. Sometimes, our highest performers are the most critical of what they can overcome. Now is the time to be gentle on ourselves. It’s ok if we have a meltdown. It’s ok if we feel cranky or tired or overwhelmed. Every day is going to be vastly different and an emotional rollercoaster for many of us. Take the time to just stop what you are doing when there is too much going on, all around you or just in your head. Pause however that means to you; take a short walk, have some tea, play with your kids, make lots of brownies.
9. We Can Go Outside and Change our Sense of Time
More than ever, we need to show each other that we are here for the long haul. Phlexglobal is invested in supporting our team members and building deep relationships with our clients in a purposeful value-driven manner. More than ever, we need to think beyond the last five minutes when a news alert set us on edge. The best way that I know how to do this is to get outside even if it only means walking over to the window. Yep, the trees are sticking around, the clouds are rolling by (in the UK, this may also mean that is still raining from two Fridays ago), the world is still huge and timeless, and this too shall pass.
10. We Can Create Celebration, Dress Up, Indulge Ourselves
Finally, I know that working from home, I can slowly shift from wearing jeans, to sweats, and then gym shorts, until the day that I realize its 4pm and I am still in my pajamas. To counter my propensity to begin looking homeless, once a week, I dress up. I indulge myself in normalcy. I catch up on my grooming. I eat better during the day and then eat the most delicious and decadent dessert after dinner. I find a way to reset and let all the stress from the week fall away. However, this works best for you, try to not let the stress accumulate. Be resilient. Find a way to make your gratitude for our work, our loved ones, our lives, and our faith become something that is transformative. Our world has been through other diseases running rampart, we have been through wars and recession, and somehow through it all, we discover our best selves.
Phlexglobal is already supporting several Covid-19 related trials. We’re determined to be part of the solution. The pharmaceutical industry can list a jaw-dropping amount of drugs and medical interventions that have been developed through innovative thinking, relentless hard work, perpetual tough choices, and the power of people coming together to address a mutual pause. Let us all remember our potential. We can beat this virus.
A SPECIAL PHLEXGLOBAL WEBINAR
Solutions to COVID-19 Business Continuity and Fast Track Trial Challenges – Clinical and Regulatory Aspects
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 11am Eastern / 4pm GMT / 5pm Central Europe