In global communications, remote working has always been part of the game. Managing and collaborating with teams in different countries and time zones, with different healthcare rules and regulations, just serves to make the job more diverse and challenging.
Virtual communications and remote collaboration clearly have many advantages including increased productivity, reduced business and personnel costs and a better work/life balance. And in these uncertain times the world is currently facing, remote working has become a new way of life for many. Successfully doing business internationally is now dependent on effective virtual communications and the PR teams that provide it.
Recently, the benefits of a virtual communications agency have exploded, and global businesses should continue to look at the benefits it brings. Teams are set up across the world and ready to start work immediately, a diverse portfolio of talent and skills are available, and digital channels and social media enable messaging and materials to reach target audiences effectively at the push of a button.
Even prestigious scientific healthcare congresses have moved online with sessions presented via videoconference, journalists covering remotely and communications professionals conducting outreach all from their home offices.
However, managing communications virtually also has challenges and obstacles. In addition to those technical difficulties we all know and love (I can’t dial in, the link isn’t working, I can’t see the slides, can you hear me?), cross-cultural differences have a significant impact on global communication styles and intercultural working practices and these aspects should be considered.
For healthcare businesses considering using virtual PR agencies, here are four principles to apply to get the most from the relationship:
Match the capability to the task: Choose a virtual agency which has members with a range of skills and backgrounds so your project can be matched to people with experience in your specific area.
- Make intentions clear: Set clear deliverables and timings so that everyone is on the same page.
- Be responsive and supportive: Your virtual team will have questions so maximize video calls and teleconferences – from personal experience these work much better than meeting face-to-face in the office!
- Be open and inclusive to different communications strategies, especially digital, to fit the modern-day working environment.
About the Author
Clare Evans has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, both in-house and in agencies. She has led UK, EU, Global and regional communications teams at Novartis (Switzerland), Roche (Switzerland) and AstraZeneca (UK and U.S.) in areas including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, manufacturing, supply and quality assurance, neuroscience, and infectious disease.