Lots of folks in the life sciences are finding themselves suddenly thrown into an involuntary work-from-home situation. Here at Diamond Age we’ve been working remotely from our homes for some time, so we’d like to say “Welcome!” and offer a few hard-won tips to make the transition (hopefully) easier. A few of these are common to all of us:
- Put together an ergonomic desk setup. It’s entirely too easy to damage yourself, sometimes permanently, hunching over a laptop keyboard. Get a real office chair, a monitor at the correct height, an ergonomic keyboard if that suits you, etc. This work-from-home situation isn’t temporary, and even a week with bad posture can hurt you.
- Don’t rely on email alone to communicate with your coworkers. If you find yourself trying to write an email of more than three sentences, it probably needs to move to a phone call or a video meeting. That goes double for an email sent to more than one person.
- Keep in contact with your professional network. You’re not meeting in the halls or at the coffee shop anymore, so you need to take action to keep up those contacts. Schedule them explicitly for video and bring your own coffee. You need to keep your social and professional network alive.
- Take breaks during the day. Walk around your neighborhood if you can. It’s important to get away from your desk and reset your brain. Sitting in one room all day is suffocating.
And then we each cope with the home work environment a little differently. I asked around the team for their favorite less-common tips:
- Katie: “I don’t like to sit in one chair all day so I have four or five options to rotate through. Also when I work from home I tend to endlessly snack, but if I force myself to drink water I eat less of my kids’ Valentine’s day candy.”
- Mike: “Check what’s in view of your camera during video calls. You may need to move your cat’s litterbox.”
- Eleanor: “Don’t keep unhealthy snacks in the house – you will eat them all. Stock up on carrot sticks instead. And be sure to feed the cats before your 4pm meeting: they will harass you on video if you don’t.”
- Erica: “Sometimes I plan calls with friends for my breaks ahead of time — if I know I’ll take lunch around noon, I’ll reach out to a few people in the morning before I start working to see if they want to connect around that time.”
Hang in there, everyone. We’re all adjusting to this new normal.
Reach out if you’d like to talk to us about either the joys of home office work or bioinformatics. We’re always happy to chat.