Managing a life science research lab requires incredible organization and attention to detail. Since this meticulous work demands frequent tending and scrutiny, academic researchers often feel like slaves to their job. But no matter how devoted, researchers need the occasional vacation too, so the question is: Is your lab ready for your vacation?
Consult With Your Fellow Researchers
Before hopping that plane to Bermuda, make sure that you spend some quality time with your lab mates (or colleagues) going over your current projects (in case you trust your experimentation on their shoulders). Discuss where you are now, and what next steps are needed to ensure that experiments stay on track during your absence.
Provide All Needed Written Documentation and Instructions
Depending on your role in the lab, it may be important for you to compile data, research, reports, or inventory information in advance for your fellow researchers. It is always best to err on the side of caution (especially if you don't want to be getting frantic calls while you're busy sunning yourself on the beach!), so prepare any information in advance that you think might be needed to help keep projects going smoothly. Write down detailed project notes that may be helpful to other lab workers who might have to fill in for you while you're gone.
Organization Is Key
You may still be wondering, is your lab ready for your vacation or not? The amount of preparation necessary prior to a vacation can be daunting, even to the point that you might want to jettison your plans altogether. But remember that if you stay organized and make sure that everyone is informed and on the same page, there is no reason that your lab shouldn't be able to continue functioning normally.
In order to keep your research lab properly organized at all times, you may want to consider a program like the BioData research and lab management system. This web-based system, which was built on many years of working in a lab and therefore is custom-designed to meet the needs of scientists, can help track projects (including setting milestones and experiments), catalog lab materials, and simplify communication. A program like this can make it easy for you to participate while away, but, even better, it can help make the lab efficient and connected enough that your absence won't impede its progress and that you won't be bothered while on your vacation.
So, Is Your Lab Ready For Your Vacation Now?
Hopefully these tips will help you remember some of the vital issues that should be addressed before you leave for your well-deserved vacation. As long as you take plenty of time to consider what questions might arise while you're away and you preemptively answer them by providing what might be needed, you should find that the lab is just as well-organized when you return as it was when you left.