Welcoming a healthy lab culture with a code of conduct

Lab code of conduct

Source: © Neil Webb @ Début Art

The power of a positive philosophy

The code of conduct is a staple of HR documentation. But in labs – filled with safety notices, instruction manuals and standard procedures – guidelines on the less practical aspects of research work are often curiously absent. Relying on assumed behavioural rules can be risky and many PIs are now choosing to explicitly outline their expectations, values and group procedures in public documents online.

For Lauren McKee, a glycoscientist at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, creating and sharing her personal philosophy was a proactive and informal way to instigate a positive change within her group. ‘We call it the welcome document rather than the code of conduct so people have a positive mindset when they read it,’ she says. ‘It’s not prescriptive, but suggestive and encouraging. You won’t get into trouble if you don’t behave this way but it’ll be a great workplace if you do!’