Creating Efficiency in a Professional Lab Environment
Inefficiency is the bane of many labs’ existence. No matter how hard you work to make progress, it can seem like there’s always something else you’re waiting on.
Be it broken equipment, low inventory, or an inability to find the information you need, there are plenty of fixable things that keep science from happening. Read on to find out how to increase efficiency in your lab space and build a more ideal working environment.
Having a messy desk or bench space may be a sign of genius, but it can be seriously detrimental to collaborative research. Even if your chaos is of the organized variety, you’ll still find yourself hunting for that one particular note in a stack of papers or a tiny misplaced microcentrifuge tube.
That’s why getting organized is the first step toward improving your laboratory efficiency. Start by replacing any old supply containers with clear, matching boxes to help you always keep a visual on your inventory. Clear off any clutter or seldom-used items and store them out of the way.
Then, organize all frequently used equipment so it’s in the most convenient and ergonomic place. Make sure to get input from your whole team while doing so.
Not only will going paperless cut down on the amount of physical clutter in your lab, but it can also make it easier for your lab to share information between teammates.
Whenever possible, digitize your notes and records and store them in a well-organized cloud server. You won’t have to waste time shuffling through lab notebooks from years ago to find one specific test result ever again.
Outsourcing lab tests is a great way to keep costs down, get work done without buying specialty equipment, and help your team keep slightly more reasonable hours. But even if your lab’s research is completely streamlined, you’re still likely to find yourself waiting around for samples to be returned at one point or another.
That’s where the concept of parallel testing comes in. By running tests on multiple applications or components at the same time, labs that use the parallel testing approach are able to return your samples in a fraction of the time, helping your research to keep running on schedule.
Make Equipment Maintenance a Priority
Nothing slows down lab work like broken equipment. Keeping your lab equipment well-maintained should be a priority for everyone on your team.
To make this easier, keep all your equipment manuals in a central location, along with maintenance logs and the contact information for your service providers. Set calendar reminders to schedule regular cleanings and tune-ups, and don’t procrastinate calling for help when something breaks down.
Stop Wondering How to Increase Efficiency and Try These Steps Today
Every lab, no matter how great, has room for improvement when it comes to getting things done in a timely fashion. You can’t control every aspect of science, but following these five tips on how to increase efficiency in the lab can help streamline your workflow.
If you found this article helpful, make sure to check our science forum boards for answers to your other research questions.