The laboratory I am engaged is doing both experimental and computational research. The experimental part has many facilities in a laboratory room, and a few people working there together. However, I don’t know about the physical lab very much, because my main task is computational simulations. So, my physical working environment is a desk, a chair, and a computer. That’s it. Moreover, since the task of each is individual rather than collaborative, I am basically sitting in from of a computer all the time by myself, unless I have a meeting with my supervisor or other people.
To be honest, I haven’t got used to this kind of working style to sit alone with a computer and do everything on a monitor for 10 hours a day. Sometimes I feel I need more human interaction, sometimes I want some exercise. But I think this is one of the typical working styles for engineers or researchers, so I need to become feeling comfortable with it. At least I will be working in this way a few years later because I’m planning to do Ph.D. in computational simulation topics.
At the same time with my struggle, I also think that this working style has a great possibility. Since what we all need are a computer and a remote access, we can essentially work everywhere. For example, I would be able to work at my home on my laptop for the current research project. Unfortunately or fortunately, one of software I’m using doesn’t allow remote operation, I’m going to the workplace everyday now.
But in the future, I or you might be able to work remotely for a U.S. company living in Japan or somewhere in the world. The software is the same wherever you are, Skype is enough for meetings. I actually know the case that a researcher in Tokyo works as a full-time employee of MIT. This kind of remote working seems weird, but it could be a standard style for the Internet generation. There are some demerits like a lack of face-to-face communication, but we do have advantages at the same time. For example, you can choose where to live regardless of your work. You can save your time for commutation.
Thinking in this way, I’m excited about how the work style changes in the future and my every day dating with a computer seems a bit better than before.