A Vision of the Workplace Evolution to Come

What could the future of the workplace look like in terms of diversity, physical workplace, work relations and job execution? 60 professionals from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry got together on 19 September, 2017 to discuss this at an event organized by Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, hosted by Pfizer, Zurich. With three parallel workshops , the motive was to present a visionary overview of the workplace evolution and get deeper insights so as to be ready for the future of work.

Xuan Shao, HBA Europe membership director at large, introduced the HBA to the audience and presented the membership benefits and current progress of HBA in the Zürich area.

In the first talk of the evening, Jeff Dufour, country manager at Pfizer, spoke about the three recent forces that are changing the workplace: living longer, society diversity and big data. However, we have very limited strategies to prepare and face those challenges in the near future. In pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, for instance, although we have spent several years in developing personalized medicine, it is still in an uncertain direction and questions still remain to be solved.

Diversity and Inclusion: best practices within and outside the pharma industry

Myriam Denk, partner at Deloitte, discussed the changing world of work, where diversity of talent, ideas, markets and customers is a prerequisite and inclusion is the driver to increasing business performance. The transforming landscape of talent with generational shifts, new norms, connectivity, flexibility, global mobility require a value-centered approach to unleash human potential and to drive business results, all with inclusion at its heart. People feel included when they are treated fairly and respectfully, when their uniqueness is known and they have a sense of belonging, and they are comfortable speaking-up. The talk led to a brainstorming session all about how organizations can take action to have a truly inclusive culture, according to the Bersin model by Deloitte (from compliance focused to programmatic to leader-owned to inclusive culture).

Work anywhere, anytime, with anyone in the future workplace

Lorena Kreis, partner at Impact Hub, provided examples of spaces, technology, working models and space as a co-worker. Current technology enables the possibility to share work virtually and communicate with multi-channels. There are sharing tools and spaces that could provide this flexibility in environment and evolve better transparency. The key to collaborate and being the owner of self-projects is based on the trust and responsibility. The workshop was designed with two rounds of questions about “what is your future dream workplace” and “how to realize it”. The results showed that the key point of co-work is to merge life-work balance to one life of your own.

Future for work relationship and job execution

Alexander Hartmaier, human resource lead at Pfizer, led the workshop about the future for work relationship and job execution. The workshop focused on three topics: the impact of a matrix organization, the expectations among different generations working together, and the leadership skills required for virtual teams.

After an initial presentation, four groups deepened the subject.  

Key take-home messages

  1. The career ladder is no more only linear (education->career->retirement), but has already different dimensions and paths with breaks for family or further education, or alternation between freelance and company activities.
  2. The key do’s and dont's of leading virtual teams: organize the first onboard meeting face to face, and later avoid micromanagement and trust people personally.
  3. Leading virtual teams and making them successful requires the manager to find an alternative way to connect team members by diversifying means of communication and designing in advance personal relationships, while respecting people’s emotions and building team ownership.

After the interactive sessions, all participants had the opportunity to network during the Aperò. The HBA is thankful to our sponsor Pfizer, as well as to all the volunteers and participants who made this event remarkable.

Groups audience: