At Solaris Health, it’s a case of Simon says…

Read on, it’s worth it….

The day typically begins with a warm welcome from colleagues when I walk through the door.

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It’s 08:50 and already the office atmosphere suggests another busy day. The buzz of activity at Solaris Health could give a visitor the impression that we are an extension of the London Stock Exchange – all this energy and running around.

No sooner am I comfortably settled than the call goes out for our monthly breakfast team meeting. Always well attended, I’m told that this is due to the educational content and news updates, but I cannot help thinking that the coffee and pastries help! Today there are two main topics. Firstly, we receive advice from the management team on how to build strong and effective working relationships with the very important procurement managers at our client companies. This is quickly followed by an update on World Bedwetting Day and the tremendous profile-raising social media campaign that we are coordinating. This generates loud applause, much discussion and a genuinely happy team. Finally, we have some news regarding another new business win, two pitches to which we have been invited, and a couple of forthcoming social events. Looks like we’re going to be busy, both working and playing.

I leave the meeting just before it’s finished because my team have the first of a few client teleconferences. In this call, our client feeds back a few comments on something called an ‘objection handler’ that our editorial team have been developing. There aren’t many comments so it appears that we’ve done a good job. Before the call ends we make a couple of suggestions for how the project could be enhanced and also how the information that it communicates could deliver further value by being applied digitally, or something like that. All sounds a bit rocket science to me but my colleagues seem to know this stuff inside out.

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Before the dust has time to settle I join colleagues presenting to a client via video conference – very exciting. This is very different as here our team appear to be making an exhibition of themselves by standing in a small booth and doing something expertly in a small quiet area – all very visually. We present lots of images of all shapes and sizes with bits going left and shapes going right – even one with a large arch. Our client tells us that we’ve given her far too much to think about and will need to review and come back to us later, and everyone is again happy.

Coffee time and a chat in the kitchen. Talk is of charity cake baking and I sense an air of competitiveness. It appears that we do nothing in half measures here.

Next we have a brainstorming meeting. I’m worried that this could put me outside of my comfort zone, but I’m soon reassured as apparently no idea is a bad idea. Very rapidly my opinion again changes as the topic of discussion this morning is the management of inhibitors in patients with haemophilia A, as our client’s product apparently has benefits for these patients that doctors don’t know about. There is always a lot to learn here, and fortunately we have many experienced colleagues at Solaris Health who are more than happy to mentor and coach. Soon the team understand the dilemma in the context of the market and the ideas are flowing onto the flip chart. I try to take the marker pen, but I’m fought off by an over enthusiastic Medical Writer, so I sit quietly. In no time at all we have four large pages of ideas and then we’re prioritising them and building them into a new story flow. We wrap up by creating a list of strong, solid, ideas to help our client and break for a well-earned lunch.

Outside, Richmond High Street is buzzing. Richmond is a great place to work, with a good range of shops catering for most needs and a large variety of food outlets. Today, it’s a ham sandwich and half an hour in the sun on Richmond Green. Maybe the heat gets to me, or it’s the result of a busy morning, but I feel the need to stretch my legs and a quick run on the grass is rewarded when I make a new friend. I wonder if she works in medical communications too? Anyway, time to focus. There’s a busy afternoon ahead.

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When I get back to the office the atmosphere has changed and is somewhat divided. First, I notice that part of the office is quiet. This is because we have a team out this afternoon presenting our ideas for a radically different educational initiative to help patients with type 2 diabetes. I wished them luck before they left and they really do deserve success with this because they have put in so much time and thought to ensuring that it will smash our client’s expectation.

Another part of the office is not so quiet. We’ve had an exciting delivery. It’s only small (apparently, though not to me!) but it’s a new pop-up stand that one of our clients needs for a series of meetings. The studio team are having great fun assembling it, and being men there are of course no instructions in sight! I cannot resist getting involved. To be fair, we are all encouraged to take an active part in all aspects of the agency and the guys are pleased to see me. However, while I go round and round the stand, checking it up and down, they are putting the finishing touches to it, and it’s done.

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Next another teleconference. A relatively new client wants to extend the training programme that we have developed for him with three new modules. We take the brief and allow ourselves a cheer and a round of applause when the call has finished. We must be doing something right. It appears that no sooner have we integrated a couple of new starters, that we get more work requests and might need to hire again. It’s almost as if we crave excitement and thrive in this fast-paced agency environment.

Me, I need a sit-down. It’s gone 5 o’clock and another day almost complete, and it’s been a rollercoaster. I can’t help thinking that it’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding. I feel like I’ve run myself into the ground today…. and I’ve only got little legs.

By the way, my name is Simon, and I love working at Solaris Health.

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