First digital CIDYoung
On 13 May 2020 eighteen CID postdocs, PhD students and research assistants joined our first digital CIDyoung meeting.
The COVID-19 crisis is particularly worrisome and stressful for those employed on temporary contracts, which are often trainees. So when the in-person retreat had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CIDyoung retreat committee (Michelle Achterberg, Yentl de Kloe, Sofieke Kevenaar and Jeroen Mulder) felt the importance of organizing a digital meeting. The meeting focused on small group discussions about COVID-19 related challenges and opportunities. Each group discussed the following topics:
- Staying connected with CID (young)
- Project progress/stagnation
- Home office / work-life balance
Staying connected with CID (Young)
On this topic Yentl de Kloe (moderator) noted that CIDyoung members have plenty (digital) social/coffee meetings, but would find meetings with a science/work related theme helpful. One suggestion was to organise regular (digital) journal clubs on, for example, social competence and behavioural control. Another suggestion was to set-up an online platform to communicate. Although a previous prototype was built using Rocket.chat software, CIDyoung members indicated a preference for Slack. A Slack for the entire CID community could facilitate consortium bonding and inter-work package collaborations.
Despite the data collection being on hold, Sofieke Kevenaar (moderator) signalled that CIDyoung members have plenty of work to do. The wealth of previously collected data means most members are able to work on data – although it might be different data than originally planned. Nevertheless, many are experiencing difficulties and stagnations because of their current working circumstances. Other factors contributing to ‘stagnation’ or a decrease in productivity are the absence of a social life, worry about friends and family in risk categories and the blurry line between work and life.
Home office/ work-life balance
The blurry line between work and life was also discussed as a separate topic (moderator Jeroen Mulder). Many CIDyoung members find it difficult to draw the line between work/life: when does the workday start, when does it end? Many trainees prefer to work at night, but feel obligated to respond to mail/slack in the morning and therefore are now working day and night. To make the best of the current situation, CIDyoung members provided tips and tricks to each other. All tips and tricks were summarised by Jeroen and send to the CIDyoung participants afterwards.
For their home office, a frequently mentioned issue was the lack of a decent workplace. Many CIDyoung members are working from kitchen tables, with kitchen chairs on not-too-fancy laptops. These practicalities stand in the way of a productive workday. Even though several universities gave permission to pick up office equipment, many trainees do not live close to the University and do not own a car. This makes it quite impossible to pick up larger items (e.g. office chair) at the University.
A short VLOG by Yentl de Kloe provides a glimpse of the CIDyoung home offices:
Overall, the meeting was a chance for CIDyoung researchers to interact with each other. This was particularly appreciated in these times of social distancing and working from home.