Now reimagining home, office schedules: Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan sees a new normal in the post-Covid era
It’s not just small biotechs that are looking to completely reevaluate their need for office space in a post-Covid world. It turns out Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan is also reimagining the Big Pharma footprint in the commercial real estate world.
“We’ve all learned from the pandemic that we can work from home and work from the office, and it will always be a combination going forward,” Narasimhan told Bloomberg Television in an interview.
One of the key advantages, he notes, is an ability to spread the company net wider in drawing in new staffers, with remote and hybrid at-home/in-office schedules offering the kind of flexibility more people will find attractive.
Novartis had 105,794 worldwide staffers at last count, and given the steady migration of execs into biotech, one could imagine the HR group faces some heavy hiring demands.
Narasimhan is in perfect sync with the biotech world, where Covid inspired an initial abandonment of the office. Lab workers were quick to adopt new schedules to thin their presence in any particular shift. But everyone else has largely stayed at home and worked on Zoom — and many aren’t planning on abandoning the home office anytime soon.
Among biotech CEOs, we heard loud and clear from our most recent Endpoints 100 survey that the new norm would likely include the same kind of flex home/office schedule that’s becoming the standard at Novartis as well.
Not only did productivity not suffer, in many cases people got a lot more work done as the daily commute became a short stroll from bed to the kitchen table and frequent work trips came to a halt.