A New Normal: When Science Meets the Living Room

written by: Anita Bröllochs

Here I was, rolling an office chair down University Avenue. There was not a soul in sight even though it was half past eleven on a Wednesday morning. Although this might not be an unusual sight for the cultured streets of Downtown Berkeley, this was a first for me. Like many, I was building out my home office situation as our entire company had shifted to remote work one week before the state of California declared a stay-at-home order. A shift that the rest of the world became familiar with all too soon.

If you have not personally been affected by the shift of working remotely, I am sure you know someone who has been, especially in the lab setting. Staying connected and organized with a single ‘workspace’ goes far beyond the typical sense of the term. We’ve been keen on helping scientists set up their workspaces and transition to remote office spaces at home. protocols.io, a platform for researchers that share public and private work, is launching it’s revamped group collaboration tools as workspaces. A centralized workspace for your team, whether you are at the office or not.

Tips for collaboration

Since the beginning of 2020, the work situation has drastically changed for many of us. Office buildings, schools, and most other public places are now closed, forcing everyone to adapt to a new normal, working from home.

General communication and collaboration techniques have changed. What has helped our team and others to adapt is having fun meetups such as team happy hours, and scheduling regular meetings for discussions that would otherwise take place in the hallway. Another way the protocols.io team has managed to bring some color to the monotony is through remote hackathons we’ve hosted.

We may be facing Zoom-meeting fatigue from time to time, but it’s drastically enhanced the way we communicate during these unprecedented times. Utilize Zoom to bundle in some more casual meetings and even team building exercises if you can. A little discussion off the beaten path will give you the energy you need to go the extra mile.

Science from home

This is a great time for scientists to catch up on papers, organize data, and even conduct experiments from home. It might not be ideal, but some are paving their own path towards a ‘new normal’. Steven Henikoff’s CUT&Tag@home protocol published on protocols.io has demonstrated just that, by setting up a microlab in the comfort of his own home.

Getting organized

When you’re transitioning from the lab to the living room, it can be quite a challenge to make sure you have all of your information in the right place. Using the protocols.io File Manager, you can make sure that you have this consistency between the lab and your new home office.

A key aspect of staying organized when you transition to working from home, is to make sure you have a comfortable, dedicated work environment. Set up a desk in the living room or bedroom if you don’t already have a separate office at home. Although you may not be able to run experiments from this space, you’ll be glad to have a dedicated area where you can focus on work.

Minor enhancements to your work environment, can help propel the science community forward into the ‘new normal’ that is among us.

References:

How to set up a protocol Hackathon for your team. https://www.protocols.io/view/how-to-set-up-a-protocol-hackathon-for-your-team-bgf8jtrw

Steven Henikoff, Derek Janssens, Hatice Kaya-Okur, Jorja Henikoff, Kami Ahmad (2020) CUT&Tag@home. https://www.protocols.io/view/cut-amp-tag-home-bd26i8he

CUT&Tag@home Image via Jitendra Thakur, original by Jorja Henikoff. https://twitter.com/Thakur_G2/status/1252295320832077824

protocols.io File Manager. https://www.protocols.io/features

A secure platform for developing and sharing reproducible methods.