A peek into Boehringer Ingelheim’s ‘Future of Work’ playbook

The Company is suggesting new guidelines for conducting meetings and collaboration activities in the organisation, since the office is no more a default option


Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), the global pharmaceutical company — with over 1000 employees working in India, and more than 50,000 working globally — has created a ‘Future of Work’ playbook.

This playbook contains a set of guidelines for all employees on the place they choose to work from (either home or office), the best way to conduct meetings, as well as effective means of collaborating and adding extra value.

The major shifts the world has witnessed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has made HR leaders think of new ways of working and collaborating to get the best value from employees.

Talking to HRKatha, Sanjay Srivastava, director-HR, Boehringer Ingelheim India, shares that the work-from-home model was very new for their company. After a while, BI figured out that the most suitable model of work for the company would be hybrid. This will allow employees to sometimes work from office, and sometimes from home.

Like many other organisations, the hybrid model is relatively new for BI, which is why its HR team decided to come up with the ‘Future of Work’ playbook, to guide all employees on how they can adapt to this change and create value in the organisation.

“The Future of Work playbook is a set of guidelines for employees on how they can conduct meetings, collaborate effectively and so on, in the post-pandemic era, within a hybrid setup,” says Srivastava.

Srivastava shares that the Future of Work playbook is based on five components —working modalities, collaboration, meeting culture, nurturing the company’s culture and implementing and communicating change in a new work environment.

“The Future of Work playbook is a set of guidelines for employees on how they can conduct meetings, collaborate effectively and so on, in the post-pandemic era, within a hybrid setup”

Sanjay Srivastava, director-HR, Boehringer Ingelheim India

Working modalities

Since the very nature and meaning of the physical office or workplace has changed, the Company realises that the office is no more a default option. The new playbook defines the workplace as a ‘conscious choice’. It aims to maintain a balanced working environment by finding a middle ground between work-from-home and work-from-office.

It involves conversations, where managers discuss whether face-to-face meetings make more sense and whether regular performance monitoring is required for a balanced working environment.


Looking forward, BI aims to create a workplace where there is full scope of flexibility in terms of collaborations and interactions within the Company. Prior to each project, the team would decide on the channel of communication, for instance, MS Teams; working hours; meeting formats and capturing of employee expectations.

The team’s performance will be measured not on how much time people spend in the office or in front of the computer, but on the outcome. Also, there will be focus on clarity regarding the tools the team would be using to collaborate and ensure that every member knows how to use them. Additionally, the leaders will lead by example, making use of new collaborative tools during internal communication, so as to encourage others.

Meeting Culture

As per the guidelines, BI suggests that people should focus on minimising business travel so that meetings can be reduced and faster decision-making ensured. Also, all teams should decide beforehand the meeting format of the team, based on the participants, objectives and need for cross-functional alignment.

When considering a hybrid form of meeting, the team should look at the kind of technology required by remote workers to give them a better employee experience.

“Small practices such as limiting the meeting time to either 25 min. or 55 min., allows employees to take a break between long meeting hours, while moving from one meeting to another, is part of the guidelines,” says Srivastava.

Nurturing BI’s culture

The future of work guidelines direct the local HR teams to make sure to always consider accountability, agility and intrapreneurship (AAI), which are the key drivers and behaviours that define BI’s culture.

Teams will need to ensure that all employees, whether working remotely or in office, are motivated and aligned with the culture of the organisation. Moreover, time should be set aside to discuss culture with new hires.

The Future of Work playbook is introduced in line with the disruptive momentum created by the pandemic, and to enhance employer attractiveness at BI.

The playbook acts as a guidebook for local HR teams to implement BI’s new journey and empowers regional teams for agile and flexible implementation.

“These guidelines have been designed globally for every region and country. However, each country can modify these guidelines as per their needs and requirements. Also, the line managers are entrusted with the responsibility of cascading the implementation of these guidelines, since they are the key to spreading or adopting any new idea in the organisation,” assert Srivastava.

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