During the pandemic, nearly every desk-based, ‘knowledge worker’ was able to transition relatively seamlessly to being part of a fully remote workforce. But for the life sciences and research sector, one of the biggest challenges at the time was delivering remote working for scientists.

There was vital work to be done (even outside of finding a cure for COVID-19), but this was being hampered by coronavirus pandemic rules that limited who could go to their place of work. This was particularly difficult for the scientific community making it harder to run experiments and collaborate easily with colleagues.

But while we’ve got through the pandemic, its impact on how we work is still being felt today. For most knowledge workers, they’ve been allowed to work on a hybrid basis and reap the benefits of a flexible approach to work. But for many scientists, their roles have gone back to being fully on-site, as if the pandemic had never happened.

At Sapio Sciences, we’re slightly biased towards the benefits that remote and hybrid working can deliver. But this isn’t just for our employees – we’re firm believers that scientists don’t need to be in the lab full-time to get their work done. Read on to discover how we’re supporting flexible working for scientists.

Is Remote Working in a Virtual Laboratory Possible?

In recent years, more and more industries have switched to a hybrid working model. And while the goal isn’t to create a virtual laboratory, scientists have still found it difficult to have a work environment that isn’t the lab.

For starters, all their research and experiments are based within their institutes, stored on an on-premise server. During the COVID-19 pandemic for example, this meant scientists couldn’t access their lab notebooks from home, reducing their productive work hours to the days when they could go into the office. Or they were relying on their colleagues to send them photos of instrument readings as those machines couldn’t be accessed outside of the lab.

At the same time as hybrid working has become possible for most people, the amount of digital data generated in scientific research has surged. From genomic sequences to digital pathology, scientists deal with massive datasets requiring advanced computing power and data analysis tools. And while this is the driving force behind a whole range of advancements in life sciences, it also presents a challenge for any kind of remote working for scientists.

And there’s a third obstacle for scientists trying to embrace remote work practices – the difficulties of effective collaboration. Scientific discoveries rely on teamwork between scientists. Collaboration is where scientific progress thrives, and having disparate spreadsheets, notebooks and email conversations doesn’t support true collaboration.

So all that being said, what should you look for in a LIMS or ELN lab software to be able to work remotely?

Lab Software for Remote Working Scientists

This is where Sapio is having a massive impact on helping accelerate the pace of scientific discoveries. We’re showing the scientific community what is possible when you have a science-aware approach to Laboratory Information Management Systems and ELN software

The main factor behind this is that Sapio is the only true lab informatics platform that is completely cloud-based. This means that wherever you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection you can see all of the data in your cloud-based LIMS and ELN (learn more about the benefits of a cloud-based LIMS and cloud-based ELN software). This is the foundation for allowing scientists to become remote workers, but there’s a couple of other things that make our platform stand out for supporting remote lab work: 

  • Sapio can integrate directly with the instruments in your labs. The data from your instruments is fed directly into the Sapio platform, so even if there’s different instruments in multiple sites worldwide, the results are uploaded in real-time. And as Sapio is a cloud-based solution, scientists can review their research even when at conferences or working in other labs.
  • Sapio ELN allows scientists to design experiments and analyze data wherever they are, whether that’s the home office, a serviced office or even the local coffee shop. This means scientists can work efficiently and effectively with colleagues worldwide without being in the lab office space 24/7. 
  • Sapio’s Electronic Lab Notebook also features true cloud-based collaboration, allowing real-time collaboration with colleagues around the globe. With internal notifications and messaging, Sapio ELN can be a one-stop location for collaborative document editing and can act as the backbone of remote scientific collaboration. With Sapio ELN, scientists across the globe can come together to brainstorm ideas, share findings, and collaborate on ground-breaking research projects. You can even see which team members are accessing each document or note.
  • In the evolving landscape of remote work, the significance of system integration capabilities in cloud software cannot be overstated. As businesses navigate the complexities of managing distributed teams, the ability to seamlessly integrate disparate tools and systems becomes a cornerstone of operational efficiency. Integration capabilities ensure that various platforms—be it project management, CRM, communication, or HR systems—work in harmony, enabling a unified workflow that bridges the gap between different departments and functions. Talk to Sapio Consulting about Sapio’s breadth and depth of integration capabilities.
  • In the realm of remote work, where digital innovation is paramount, ELaiN stands out as a transformative artificial intelligence solution designed to revolutionize how businesses approach their operations. ELaiN, embodying the pinnacle of AI technology, offers a suite of capabilities tailored to enhance productivity, automate routine tasks, and facilitate more accurate decision-making processes. Its integration into remote work environments empowers teams by automating administrative tasks, analyzing large datasets to uncover valuable insights, and even predicting future trends that can inform strategic planning. By harnessing the power of ELaiN, remote teams can navigate the challenges of distributed work with greater ease, ensuring that despite physical distances, the efficiency and innovation within workflows remain uninterrupted.

What’s the Future of Remote Working for Scientists?

While most other knowledge workers have been able to embrace remote and hybrid working, we’ve seen that it is that much harder for scientists to have the option to work remotely. And while scientific research definitely needs in-person, hands-on lab time, there will always be an opportunity to work from home, whether that’s doing data analysis, writing reports or planning experiments.  And scientists should be able to take advantage of a better work-life balance that comes with hybrid work – whether that’s reduced commuting time, improved well-being and mental health or just access to better coffee and snacks.

As we’ve said, what is currently preventing remote working for scientists is the lack of the right lab informatics, LIMS and ELN software. But if a laboratory is able to find the right platform, one that is cloud based and is built for scientists, then it opens up the world of remote working that has previously been denied to scientists. For the scientific community, it is critical to have the integration of technology, virtual collaboration tools and remote access combined with the latest real-time data. This means that for scientists, the home office will become somewhere that isn’t just a place for paperwork but also a hub of innovation where scientific breakthroughs can occur. 

If you want to learn more about Sapio ELN and its cloud-based features, book a demo here.