9 Tips for Successful Lab Management

Running a laboratory isn’t easy, especially if you wish to turn it into a financial success. There are many aspects of lab management that you need to cover, from acquiring the right equipment to ensuring workers communicate with each other.

Lead the way

Being in charge of a laboratory is just as difficult as running a Fortune 500 company. You will have to make choices that are good for the whole team. Moreover, these choices will have to be confident ones, as managers have to make critical decisions based on merits and logical judgments.

This way, you will leave the impression of fairness, boosting the trust laborants have in you. Once the bond is made you should actively try to motivate workers and spread enthusiasm amongst your team. Every person should feel as if the lab’s reputation is their personal reputation.

Aw, the finances

Securing enough cash to finance projects and pay salaries to employees is one of the lab manager’s greatest concerns/duties. Government funding is often scarce, so applying for grants from various benefactors is the best way to stay in the green.

If you have recently been appointed manager, then consult senior staff on possible financing plans. You will have to shake many hands in order to get the funds necessary for the lab to develop. If you run a large laboratory or several of them, then consider hiring a financial consultant.

Meet often

Having attended numerous fundraisers, you will get used to holding meetings early on. These are essential for promoting teamwork, communication, and coordination between different teams. However, the modern business world is turning away from tedious meetings that lower productivity.

Make the meetings short and to the point. Once the briefing becomes, well, brief, then the staff know exactly what their tasks are. In this sense, short meetings should be held often to improve coordination, you the lab is able to meet the shortest of deadlines.

Develop employees’ skills

A lab hires experts from various areas, from a microbiologist to the night guard. They all need to feel like part of the team and more importantly, they should all be given a chance to develop their respective skill sets.

Send workers to seminars, give them a paid leave to attend a conference, and organize training practices in the lab. The staff should be up-to-date with the latest advances in the industry. Furthermore, you should collectively join relevant scientific and trade organizations to develop a network of partners.

Get state-of-the-art lab equipment

One type of partner you should network with are companies that produce lab equipment. From cold plates to plasma storage freezers, all the laboratory equipment should be state-of-the-art. After all, these are the tools of the trade and you cannot expect your lab to develop with outdated equipment.

Appoint a safety supervisor

Although it’s necessary lab equipment can be dangerous to operate. This is due to hazardous materials and toxic substances used in the laboratory. In this sense, safety cannot be everyone’s responsibility, as you need to appoint a safety supervisor.

You needn’t outsource this position, as any experienced member of staff can assume this role. They will ensure that workers adhere to clearly delineated safety guidelines and organize safety training every time you acquire a new piece of lab equipment.

How to solve problems

A laboratory is not an automated manufacturing plant, so expect problems to occurs, especially in the beginning. Thinking outside the box is one of the most important traits a lab manager has to possess. Solving various problems that will occur requires not only individual problem-solving skills but a team effort.

If there is a problem, such as financial difficulty, you should gather up the team and try to brainstorm a solution. This way, all employees become better at creative thinking, which will make them more productive employees.

Set your priorities straight

The ability to manage conflicting priorities is another useful skill. Namely, research doesn’t always come first, as financial constraints will make some projects difficult to execute. At times like these, you have to prioritize and secure more lucrative deals to keep the lab afloat.

With the money you earn from commercial assignments, you will be able to fund scientific research that experts on your team need to advance in their careers. Appearing both investors and employees is a fine balance, so be prepared to juggle with priorities.

Rules and regulations

In order for the laboratory to be efficient, you need a clear set of rules and regulations. All tests and experiments are carried out with certain rules in mind that all staff has to obey.

Of course, these rules aren’t set in stone, as they should change to adopt novel industry standards. If you are able to honor all the regulations, expect your lab to earn respect from clients.

The 9 tips listed above are the result of adopting the best laboratory management practices. However, after you assume your managerial duties, you will face various challenges that will force you to think outside the box in order to keep the lab afloat.