Coping Mechanisms in the COVID-19 World

         June 4, 2020

Like many of you, I was supposed to attend the 2020 ACMG Meeting in San Antonio this March with a few colleagues. In addition to attending the conference, my first blog post for Golden Helix was going to be about our time at the conference. Thanks to the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic, none of us got to attend the conference. (We did however put together a virtual ACMG booth.)

Part of my role here at Golden Helix is outreach to organizations in various clinical and research settings. You might have heard from me yourself at some point! Through the conversations I have had with many individuals over the past couple of months I have been learning how many organizations have adjusted their workflows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I thought this could be a helpful read for others during these times, therefore, here are a few key takeaways from these conversations!

  1. Anyone able to work remotely is doing so.
    • The individuals working remotely range from those answering the phones to higher levels executives. Many are still uncertain when they will be returning to their office.
  2. For work that cannot be done remotely, many organizations are staggering the shifts of employees.
    • Whether they are alternating every other day or mornings and afternoons, many organizations are attempting to keep the number of employees on-site at a minimum to limit contact.
  3. Some labs have switched their primary focus to COVID-19 testing.
    • For some that meant pausing other projects, and for others that has meant a delay in the start of new projects.

At Golden Helix, we have made a few adjustments as well due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has been working remotely since mid-March, and, like many others, has become reliant on virtual meeting tools like Zoom, Slack, and GoToMeeting to stay in touch throughout the day. As the pandemic unfolded across the globe, our CEO, Andreas Scherer, wrote an eBook to summarize important details about COVID-19 and how Next-Generation Sequencing could be used in the efforts to understand the virus. Our developers tested the boundaries of our software to identify the ways it can be used to research the virus. These were all presented in a recent webcast.

Our adjustments have extended beyond moving our workstations and broadening the reach of our clinical capabilities. As the entire world has been affected by this pandemic in one way or another, we have understood that this includes our customers. Due to that, we extended free additional licenses to our customers so they would have the freedom to continue their work from home as well. With many organizations facing uncertainty during these times, we also have been offering discounts on a few of our most popular software packages. Our goal in all of this is to provide support while helping our current and new customers continue their important work.

We want to hear from you! How has your organization adapted to the COVID-19 world? How do you feel about virtual conferences? What unexpected issues have come up since the start of this pandemic?

Let us know in the comments!

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