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Combating Burnout in Life Science Professionals: The Role of Streamlining and Automation

Burnout has become a widely discussed issue in various aspects of our lives, from our careers to personal well-being. The World Health Organization defines burnout as an “occupational phenomenon,” resulting from prolonged workplace stress left unresolved. While the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought heightened awareness to burnout, it has long been a concern for life science professionals.  

In 2018, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) conducted a study on workplace satisfaction and burnout among laboratory professionals, revealing that a staggering 85.3% reported experiencing burnout and contemplated changing labs or career paths entirely. This trend persisted throughout the pandemic, with a 2022 study finding similar statistics, citing factors such as understaffing and high workloads as major contributors to burnout. 

The “great resignation” and other socio-economic shifts intensified the challenges faced by laboratory professionals, leading to increased risks of insomnia, substance abuse, and depression. urrent market with continuing company layoffs has also exasperated these feelings as those left behind have to do not only their own work, but the tasks their previous colleagues once did while also worrying if their own job is at risk.

Every step you take to improve your level of burnout and turn things around for yourself both mentally and physically is important. One way you can improve your level of work stress is by streamlining manual tasks. Bringing automation into your lab where you currently have these manual steps is crucial. Technologies like the Curiox Laminar Wash™ AUTO1000 System offer solutions that reduce the need for manual intervention, while improving productivity and alleviating bottlenecks in laboratory workflows. By integrating automation with robotic platforms, such as the Hamilton Nimbus Robotic System, lab professionals can perform tasks such as sample dispensing, fixation, staining, washing, and transferring samples into plate formats used in downstream analysis, with minimal human involvement, while significantly reducing processing time and variability of results. 

Every step you take to improve your level of burnout and turn things around for yourself both mentally and physically is important. One way you can improve your level of work stress is by streamlining manual tasks. Bringing automation into your lab where you currently have these manual steps is crucial. Technologies like the Curiox Laminar Wash™ AUTO1000 System offer solutions that reduce the need for manual intervention, while improving productivity and alleviating bottlenecks in laboratory workflows. By integrating automation with robotic platforms, such as the Hamilton Nimbus Robotic System, lab professionals can perform tasks such as sample dispensing, fixation, staining, washing, and transferring samples into plate formats used in downstream analysis, with minimal human involvement, while significantly reducing processing time and variability of results. 

As the stages of burnout highlights (see right), it is necessary to acknowledge and address systemic issues in both your personal feelings and your professional activities. Improving your productivity and time management can be a great starting place to improving your welfare. Be sure to initiate conversations focused on implementing changes that both foster resilience and mitigate these adverse effects. Failure to do so risks perpetuating a cycle of stress and inefficiency in the long run and can adversely affect your personal wellbeing. 

Be sure to take proactive measures in the workplace such as streamlining processes and embracing automation to help combat your burnout. Add stress relieving activities like meditation, stretching, taking walks or whatever activity helps you to relax at home as well. By prioritizing your well-being and implementing effective solutions, we can create more sustainable and resilient work and home environments for all. Let us know how we at Curiox Biosystems can help you out.

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