5 Tips for Managing a Research Lab
Management isn’t easy, whether you’re running a train station, a gallery, or a research lab. That being said, running a lab comes with more risks than running a boutique clothing shop does. There are plenty of hazards that the house team at a lab comes into contact with daily. Various dangerous materials, complicated machinery, and other dangers lie in wait for laboratory workers. There’s a reason that OSHA standards exist, and it’s to make sure that laboratories remain safe spaces for people to work in, whether they’re filled with software developers or chemists.
While this may sound daunting, there are a few key things to keep in mind that can make running a research laboratory a smooth experience. Read more to find out about the best way to maintain occupation safety and avoid unnecessary hazards to your house team’s health.
1. Keep everyone awake and hydrated.
Sometimes software developers, scientists, and other laboratory employees have to work long hours on detailed tasks. This is especially common if the laboratory you’re running is part of a small business that’s trying to make waves and stand out on the scene. If this is the case, you want to ensure that your team isn’t falling asleep as they work, especially when there are health hazards lying about and dangerous machinery that shouldn’t be operated when drowsy. However, despite wanting everyone to be awake, you also don’t want to blow your entire small business’ budget at Starbucks or Peet’s.
One solution to this problem is to sign up for a coffee delivery service. Really excellent coffee service will allow you to choose the blend and roast of the coffee you’re ordering, whether it’s espresso or brewing coffee, and you can even add flavor preferences or specialty teas to your order. With a coffee subscription, you’ll be saving money on cups of coffee and making sure that the house team at your startup is focused on the task at hand and not keeping their drooping eyelids from closing.
2. Make sure you’re using pure water without contaminants.
If you’re developing software, you don’t need to think about pure water, deionizers, or reverse osmosis processes, but many other research facilities do need to be aware of these issues. If you’re working with delicate materials, you know that tap water will not do the kind of tasks you’re carrying out. Deionized water (DI water) purified through reverse osmosis is free of contaminants and impurities, not to mention minerals like calcium that are often found in ‘hard water.’ If you want to adhere to best practices for maintaining water purity and keeping ions and minerals like calcium, sodium, or magnesium out of your water source, you need to invest in a deionized water solution for your laboratory. While it may seem like an extravagance, bear in mind that impurities and ions in the water can compromise your whole research project, so taking care of the liquid you use is actually a crucial part of managing a successful research facility.
3. Learn more about OSHA requirements.
Safety has to be the priority, regardless of what you’re researching and which time zone of the United States you’re operating in. After all, a supervisor’s role is to make sure everything runs smoothly, which means keeping the workplace secure and comfortable. Some supervisors show resistance when they learn all they must do to adhere to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards. Still, the truth is that a certificate of OSHA compliance shows that employer responsibility is being taken seriously in a facility.
If you’re a supervisor or project manager who needs to get your facility up to code and aren’t sure where to start, OSHA training courses are available for that purpose precisely. During the OSHA training course, a trainer will walk you through all the steps involved in getting your facility OSHA compliant. Everything from mitigating hazards to fall protection comes up during the training course, so you’ll be sure to be prepared for anything the OSHA representatives ask of you.
4. Put software outsourcing to good use.
A project manager can keep everyone on task and safe by using a software outsourcing company to manage databases, manage projects, and get customized software geared to a facility’s specific needs. Software out sourcing and working with software developers or software engineers who have the ability to understand your needs and streamline your employee experience will make everything easier.
By employing a software solution grounded in machine learning and artificial intelligence, a business owner or supervisor such as yourself can be using programs that are continuously learning about your specific business needs. Keeping track of suppliers, streamlining workflow and communication, and data management or analysis will all take your capacity to the next level. This is critical for several important reasons. By relying upon an outsourced company for software development, you’ll be working with sharper tools without the expense of paying someone on your house team to figure out the nuts and bolts for you.
5. Invest in employee experience.
Happy employees take more care with their work, and that’s just the simple truth. In fact, this may be the most important thing that a business owner can invest in. You can have the best coffee, the purest deionized water, and the smartest software developers, but if your employees aren’t happy, you can count on a lousy workflow. That, of course, means that you won’t bring financial success to your small business the way that Prabir Purohit brought to Dominion Energy. Take an example from Purohit. He knew that it’s not just about being the most important worksite in the U.S.; it’s about having a development team that cares about company values and feels committed to one another. Whether you’re in South Carolina, Maine, New York, or California, you need to have a finger on the pulse of your house team’s social dynamics. Ensure everyone is happy and fulfilled, and you’ll be running a successful worksite in no time.