As more companies move to remote work as a social distancing measure to lessen the spread of COVID-19, employees across the globe face an adjustment period. If you’re suddenly remote, you’re adjusting not only to your new working environment and other’s remote communication styles, but to maintaining business operations during this challenging time. Here are five ideas for how to keep your MLR and medical affairs review process moving forward while working remotely: 

Set up your space 

Your physical work environment matters when tackling your MLR and medical affairs review tasks. Some necessities are obvious, like a comfortable desk and chair. Others are likely more personal to you. If working from home, you may prefer an extra monitor to reference key claims or documents. You may like a giant mug (pot?) of your favorite coffee or background music themed for productivity. Take a moment to consider what you personally need to be successful in your remote work environment. 

Carry on with meetings

There’s no need to push off an important MLR or PRC meeting to a time when you’re back in the office. It’s likely your company already has video conferencing capabilities (we like Zoom), so don’t defer. If you’re a meeting facilitator or coordinator, take this as an opportunity to firm up your meeting agendas, share them in advance, and verbally announce goals and expectations for each meeting. Encourage virtual meeting attendees to use their cameras. Seeing other’s faces and reactions is tremendously helpful in building trust and relationships, among other benefits. Meetings while remote can be challenging if you aren’t used to them, or if you’re remote and others are not. Acknowledge this challenge and work through it with your team. If a remote individual has not contributed much to the meeting, reach out to them by name as an inclusive measure. 

Use tools to your advantage

MLR and medical affairs review, by design, requires collaboration for success. You are experts in your unique fields and you rely on each other for expertise. Not only does MLR require collaboration between the core medical, legal and regulatory teams, but you’re also working with your marketing team and agencies. Software is your friend in a remote atmosphere that requires collaboration. From video conferencing and chat, to software built specifically for the MLR or medical affairs review process, you’ve got options. If your paper-based review process is stalled due to remote work, we’re here to help and can get you up and running in a week. Learn about our no cost, 6 month offer

Over communicate

Communication is crucial during MLR and medical affairs review. While remote, you may be wondering when to use a call, email, video call, chat or an @mention directly on a marketing piece. There is no tried and true answer, as everyone has different preferred communication styles. The important thing to remember is simply to communicate. Over communication is often recommended while working remotely. Ask your colleagues their communication preferences and work together to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Schedule breaks… and commit to them

If you were in the office, you’d take a lunch break… right? Schedule your lunch and coffee breaks on your calendar, not only as reminders for yourself, but so your coworkers know when you’re away from your desk. Then, truly step away. Walk around, stretch and enjoy a break. Meditation apps, reading a favorite novel, or 15 minutes of free youtube yoga can be a refreshing and healthy break for your mind and body. If you had a vacation scheduled, commit to that time off. Set your OOO delegation and take it as a staycation. Boundaries are more important than ever, especially if your remote work environment is also your home. When you’re done for the day make sure to physically move away from your work space. Enjoy a walk outside in fresh air, if you can. Commit to your work life balance, now more than ever.

In Review: Remote Working Checklist

  • My workstation is set up to my ideal specifications
  • I have agendas for all my meetings and I’m continuing to hold or attend important meetings
  • I’m using remote collaboration tools to my advantage
  • I acknowledge the benefits of over communication while working remotely
  • I’ve scheduled breaks (including lunch) on my calendar, and I’m committed to taking them

For more tips on remote work:

[Business Insider] How to Collaborate Even If Working Remotely

[NYTimes] How to Work From Home, if You’ve Never Done It Before

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