Reckoning with Remote Research


Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, millions of workers have retreated to safety and isolation while working from home. Even for research usually performed in laboratories, WFH and virtual meetings have profoundly changed the workplace.

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development in Boston provides data- driven analysis and strategic insight to help drug developers, regulators, and policy makers improve the quality, efficiency and productivity of pharmaceutical R&D.

In collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development examined the impact of WFH on R&D in a global survey conducted in early 2021. The study assessed attitudes, experiences and effectiveness of remote teams managing and supporting global clinical research activity.

Reckoning with Remote Research

Among the findings were revealing insights on what pandemic lockdowns meant for researchers who also were caregivers.

“Having children and having caregiving responsibilities definitely affected the level of burnout in our respondents. We see that women and those in caregiving responsibilities had a higher proportion of respondents saying they felt burnout, for example, which isn’t so surprising, but seeing it in the data is really interesting,” says Maria Florez, who served on the Tufts research team with colleagues Ken Getz and Mary Jo Lambert.

Yet 86% of the professionals surveyed also wish to continue working remotely, saying they were largely satisfied professionally and personally with their performance.

“43% of those in our sample said that their productivity hadn’t changed since their companies started using remote approaches to their work since the pandemic began,” Florez tells CCC. “That’s a quite high proportion of respondents being satisfied with their levels of productivity.”

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Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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