Putting Social Media to Work in the Lab

I’ve talked at great length in this column about the science industry transforming so much in the past few years that the concept of knowledge sharing—and in turn being much more open about your work—isn’t really a foreign concept anymore. In fact, being connected with colleagues all over the world with regard to your lab work or any other project your organization is working on isn’t just about taking an innovative approach when it comes to the scientific workplace. From a business standpoint, embracing the virtual reality of the workplace of the future and the social media tools that allow us to keep that connectivity has in some respects become a necessity. After all, these days we are all forced to do more with less, make the most of our resources, and push out quality products on time and on budget. Social media tools are starting to allow us to do that with much more ease in the life sciences workplace.

Yet you may think that this concept doesn’t have much pull in the life sciences. It’s worth looking at some numbers to put this trend in perspective— and to take a peek at what science colleagues around the globe actually think about mobile and social media technology at work. Data recently gathered in a worldwide survey of the workplace suggests that the trend is much more important than you might think.

For the 2012 Kelly Global Workforce IndexTM, nearly 170,000 people around the world and working in all industries answered key questions about their thoughts on the workplace. A little more than 3,000 of these respondents work in the life sciences. They answered the same questions as everyone else, and several of those questions dealt with their thoughts on today’s mobile technology capabilities.

A majority of these 3,000 respondents in the life sciences (about 65 percent) did not feel that using social networking tools at work negatively impacts workplace productivity. A majority (89 percent) have never been told to stop using social media at work. Forty-three percent of respondents feel pressure not from their employers but from themselves to stay connected with their work at all times. And 51 percent strongly agree that using mobile technology of all kinds has improved their work efficiency and productivity.

Read more at Lab Manager Magazine