The Results are In: COVID Remote Work Survey Wrap-Up
In late summer this year, we conducted a national survey of research administrators on how they were working through the COVID-19 crisis and the new normal working conditions. Data was anonymously collected over two months. You may have read through our previous articles based on highlights of the data. Now we are sharing some of the more interesting data with you in Figures 1-3 (note: the number of respondents to each question ranged from 180-198 from across the country).
Figure 1 (below) overwhelmingly indicates that research administrators experienced work efficiencies that enabled quicker responses. Interestingly, a result of COVID work-from-home is the desire to continue to do so. Many research administrators indicated wanting to continue telework or some sort of in-person/telework hybrid after the crisis ends, even though many institutions did not allow any telework before COVID. There is a desire that this pandemic will alter the work culture on telework in the end, especially when organizations trust the metrics that indicate more work can be accomplished from home. Based on this data, it would be difficult to argue the need for all administrative activities to return to campus.
During the pandemic, it is critical that we stay connected and communicate regularly with each other. Figure 2 (below) indicates that there has been a decrease in communication between team members and other campus support units, which in part contributes to feelings of isolation. We recommend building in regular communications (at least weekly) with your team and your other favorite people on campus. This practice will help reduce stress and enable you to share resources and experiences, while ensuring work continues to be done timely. Don’t allow the fact that you can’t just run to someone’s office or cubicle for an update stop you; use the tools in hand to uptick those communications and keep the flow of information moving.
As figure 3 suggests, a preponderance of respondents feel isolated as a result of the work-from- home mandates. To combat this isolation on a personal level, make sure you are taking care of your personal and mental health. So many of us are juggling multiple responsibilities simply because we are home. Be sure you are getting plenty of sleep, good nutrition, exercise, meditation time, and are engaging in hobbies that invigorate you. Practice mindfulness, including meditation and deep breathing techniques to reconnect you to the energy around you. Allow this time to be personally and professionally beneficial by exploring volunteer opportunities. Get involved in virtual campus activities and participate in professional organization offerings such as SRAI Level Up courses and/or Coffee Talks. Nothing helps you feel more connected then chatting with those experiencing the same as you.
We want to thank those who responded to the survey and provided comments based on their experiences. We appreciate your taking the time to participate in the survey to help your fellow research administrators. We learned a lot throughout this project; there is no doubt that the landscape within research administration will likely continue to morph and present a new normal post COVID-19. Please free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you would like to see the full data, including the comments. We are happy to share our findings with our research administration community.
If you missed the previous articles in the series or need a refresher, here are the links:
||Katrina Akioka, Research Administrator, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
||Theresa R. Caban, CRA, Manager Clinical Trials & Industry Contracts, Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation