The perfect banana bread recipe? The definition of ‘unprecedented’? How to unmute yourself on zoom? In this blog, EDIT Lab members reflect on what they have learnt from 2020.



1. We miss the office

As much as we used to wish for a day free of interruptions to crack out that latest analysis or manuscript, we’ve learnt that having colleagues around us was much more important than we ever knew. Not having others in the same building to bounce ideas off of, share problems with or just take a break and unwind with has been the biggest difference of moving work from to the office to home, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Meg: “Those trips to make a coffee that ended up as a 15 minute chat were not a waste of time, they were integral to my sanity!”

2. We are adaptable

Although the change felt enormous, we surprised ourselves on how well we were able to adapt. We wheeled our desk chairs home through South East London, grabbed Zoom with both hands and set up workspaces on kitchen tables, dressers and even ironing boards. Yes, productivity has taken a hit for all of us, but on the whole, as a community we have coped amazingly with such a dramatic change to our routines.

Yasmin: “I’ve learnt that we are adaptable. No matter how wedded I felt to my old routine, it was possible to change.”

Katie: “I actually can (surprisingly) write more than two sentences of a draft at home.”

Sarah’s working-from-home desk/ironing board

3. Working from home does have a few perks

As it turns out, working from home wasn’t all bad. You can attend your viva in your fluffiest slippers, eat all the snacks you want during meetings and trips to the post office to collect your missed parcels are a distant memory.

Meg: “I’ve learnt that it is acceptable to wear your dressing gown to team meetings.”

Yasmin: “I’m proud to have developed a sharp ear for the sound of delivery drivers scanning packages at my door.”

4. But this year has been tough

Let’s be honest, working from home has also driven us mad at times.

Kirstin: “I’ve also learned that I’ve really got to clean that spot on my wall just left of my computer screen.”

Katie: “I’ve learnt how funny and irritating my housemates are.”

5. All team meetings should involve games

To hold our attention on Zoom for hours on end, we had to get creative. After being introduced by Cathryn Lewis and the Statistical Genetics Unit, this creativity took the form of the online drawing game skribbl. We still haven’t decided whether to thank them for that or not.

Molly: “Team meetings with online pictionary are a gift (can pictionary be implemented for in-person meetings as well??)”

Steve: “I’ve also reaffirmed my inability to draw, but at least my ‘artwork’ has prompted some good laughs!”

6. We welcome all new team members

We’ve loved meeting our colleague’s children, partners, families, housemates and (most importantly) pets! Getting to know more about the people we spend so much of our day with has been a completely unexpected bonus of working from home. We’ve also learnt that having company while you work comes in all forms…

Katie: “I’ve learnt more about the people I surround myself with, I’m so grateful to know about my colleagues’ pets, children, partners, wacky hobbies, gardening tips, kitchen disasters and favourite work-top/comfy-bottom outfit combo.”

Abi: “I’ve learnt that you can never have too many desk plants to uplift your working from home environment (unless you can no longer see your monitor screen.. then you have probably reached capacity for your office jungle).”

Abi’s office jungle

7. We spent more time connecting with loved ones

Being at home more than usual also gave us more time to connect with the important people in our lives, even those who were physically far away.

Thalia: “It’s been lovely having family supper every night because no-one has anywhere else to go!”

Molly: “The unexpected benefit of having to speak to everyone on video calls is that they could be down the street or across the world, they’re equally close to you.”

Abi: “I’ve learnt that although we are physically apart, it’s still possible for relationships to strengthen both in your personal and professional life.”

8. Finally, we’ve learnt that our friends and colleagues are amazing, and that their support has carried us through.

Yasmin: “I’ve learnt the value of the communities that I am part of – especially at work!”

Thalia: “I’ve learned that our team is basically my second family, but unlike my teenage sons no-one ever grunts or yells at me!”

Steve: “I’ve learnt that I don’t need to physically be with the EDIT Lab team to feel a part of it. I was nervous about remotely joining the team for my placement, but our weekly virtual meetings for presentations, catch-ups and plenty of skribbl has made me feel so welcomed.”

Katie: “I’ve learnt that no matter if it’s over a zoom screen, people come together to help, support and make each other laugh.”

Kirstin: “I’ve learned that the emotional and social support you get from colleagues goes beyond just their physical presence. With creativity, the warm cosy feeling you get from a cup of tea or a sit down or walk with supportive friends who understand the highs and lows of your work life can be expressed through messages, video calls, and even deliveries. It’s not the same, but equally valued.”

Happy New Year from the EDIT Lab!


Thanks for following the EDIT lab blog this year! We wish you all a happy and restful Christmas break and look forward to you joining us again in 2021!

Alicia Peel

Author Alicia Peel

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