Diego Marescotti, Manager High Content Screening
As a manager of a laboratory performing in vitro pre-clinical assessment, my daily routine was mostly comprised of results discussion with the team and scientific discussion with colleagues building on the expertise of my team to perform studies. The routine was full of face-to-face meetings where many key players of our department shared their thoughts and ideas. It was an ongoing discussion aimed at making us progress through all the different studies we are accountable for.
There is no doubt that our used-to-be routine was changed. Various virtual channels became the new meeting rooms and coffee corners. Although lab activities were not completely stopped, we did have to face a clear slow down as not all the pieces of the matrix were there to support us. Work became less fluid and it was difficult to have the same "presence" as we used to have before the lockdown. As the efficiency of work was decreased, my work days were often longer. Hopefully, after implementing sufficient preventative measures, we are able to be back in the same building. However, not only will this take some time, but it will surely feel strange at first. Social distancing is culturally difficult to adopt and accept for those who have a social gathering attitude by nature.
The team and I tried to be more efficient and effective. By having fewer opportunities for discussions, we tried to optimize our time to ensure clear and concise communication, which should be kept also in the "new normal". Considering how difficult it was to work under these circumstances, there is not much I would be happy to keep. Although we have clearly proven that working remotely is possible, it does not mean that it would have 100% efficiency when extensively adopted, not at least in my field of expertise.
All the COVID-19 scientific literature is of interest. I am trying to stay up to date with all the findings to avoid being misled.
I am afraid this will still take a while. There are certainly several ways travelling can be made less risky but it is unsure how sustainable that will be from a business perspective (think of a half full plane for example). I rather believe we will have to stay virtual as much as possible, which will not be a problem due to technology. Personal travel and vacation, those will surely be the most difficult limitations to cope with and I cannot see a real game changer solution for the time being.
Luckily, or not, my girlfriend and I are living on our own and we have the opportunity to dedicate all our time to ourselves and work. The difficult part was to have our families away from here. They all live in Italy and faced a more difficult reality that we were experiencing in Switzerland.