Regardless of the type of work you do in your laboratory, the time will come to think about enhancing your existing setup to cater for your growing needs. Perhaps you are taking on new technical staff, or require a large amount of new technical equipment to service a new client, or maybe you are just simply running out of space. With all those boxes of equipment, notes and samples, you’ll need some efficient storage (rather than cluttering the work surfaces that you actually need to work on). With that in mind, this article will look at a few considerations for when you want to upgrade your laboratory safely and effectively.
Redesigning your lab is a job that, ideally, you’ll only want to do once, so make sure you plan ahead before reaching out to builders, designers and architects. You need to decide exactly what functions you need your lab to perform going forward; for instance, how much space will be needed to accommodate not only your staff but the type of work you might be undertaking? What processes will be used? What types of materials might be used? One size does not fit all, so plan forward to get the perfect layout for your needs.
Consult with Your Team
It won’t just be you using this space, but your wider team, too, so make sure that everybody is on-board with the lab enhancement plan. Ensure you communicate your ideas to your staff and listen to their feedback; encourage a forum for ideas because the people that work in that space every day will almost certainly want some input in terms of how the space is going to be used. They could also raise some valid, and perhaps previously un-considered points.
Equipment and Storage Space
If you are enhancing your lab, there’s a good chance you’ll also be investing in new equipment to diversify your work type; therefore, it might be a good idea to spend some time maintaining your existing lab equipment (especially the items that benefit from continued care, like your akta system, for example). With all that new equipment, don’t waste the opportunity to upgrade your lab’s storage facilities; a laboratory will always benefit from new cupboards, drawers and closets, especially the specialist storage units required for chemical and hazardous waste. Not to mention, getting all those boxes off the floor and safely out of the way will reduce those health and safety risks significantly.
More generally, make sure you plan ahead for how each space within the lab might be used. You need your working areas, but you also need to think about where meetings can be held, where staff might eat and personal working desk space. It is always wise to keep these spaces separate, for both safety and productivity reasons.
Most importantly, as you put together plans for your newly enhanced lab space, don’t forget to incorporate a future-proof plan; try to predict the likelihood of taking on new staff, new equipment even new types of work, and try to create a flexible workspace that not only caters for today’s needs, but ensures you have a safe, efficient, flexible laboratory for many years to come.