The last time our team were all together in person was in 2019 for our Christmas party. We were joyful, carefree, and totally oblivious to what was coming in 2020. Now, after two years of being virtual, we have finally reunited in person at our company-wide Town Hall meeting; which is where we come together as a team to gaze up at the horizon of what’s to come and discuss bigger, long-term strategies and values.
We realise that Covid-19 has been hard for everyone in different ways, as individuals and as organisations. But in many ways, it allowed us at BIOS to strip away the ‘extras’ and get back to our core values and mission. And that is what has sustained us as a company and as a cohesive team over the past two years.
Luckily before Covid hit, we had put in a lot of time and effort as a team to crystallise our values, purpose, mission, and vision. Two years ago in September 2019, our small team of 26 retreated to the beautiful Brinsop Court, Herefordshire. While the team-building event itself provided a lot of fun and bonding, it also served as a valuable platform on which to build its culture in a truly innovative way. Every staff member contributed to the mission, vision, and values of BIOS that day; and this collaborative thinking and shared work ethic have held the team together over the COVID period.
Having this shared mission, understanding and agreement of what was important to us as a group was crucial to our operating cohesively during the strains and remoteness of Covid-19. Our pre-clinical trials, usually performed in-person with teams being on-site from various offices in different countries, were able to move on with operations remotely. We were also able to remotely launch trials with the NHS and continue trials with Queen Mary University. And we were able to advance crucial business objectives, all while learning new ways of operating and working together.
Most importantly, though, we were able to keep our culture intact. As with most other businesses, online calls and working from home became the norm. However, to keep spirits lifted and the culture alive, ‘The BIOS Arms’ was developed as an after-work social. A form of stay-at-home pub where the team could share a pint (or cocktail if preferred) over Zoom and take part in the usual world-to-rights debates, leg-pulling banter and quizzes. Slack also provided welcome relief from isolation, enabling chat channels to be set up based on interests, which continues today. Lockdown and the increased need for additional company at home led to the birth of the #dog appreciation channel and the shared love of the endless emojis available! While the BIOS version of ‘The Great British Bake-off’ saw colleagues sharing recipes and stunning culinary creations to make each other drool. But all the while, we kept coming back to our values and mission.
Fast forward to early September 2021 and the team is back together again (following three days of clear lateral flow tests) for the first in-person company-wide Town Hall meeting in two years. We used this time to reflect and reconnect with the culture and mission. As our CEO Emil Hewage said:
“We are entering a new cycle, and we need to get back to basics. This means building new foundations in this next stage of the BIOS journey, while remembering the past.”
We are excited for this next phase of growth and renewal and all the opportunities that 2022 will bring as the world begins to find a sense of normality. And while not much is predictable at the moment, one thing is for certain: Together at BIOS, we’ll solve the hard problems and enjoy the challenge!
If you would like to find out more about our team, read our ‘Life @ BIOS series’. Or to join us, discover our latest vacancies here.