Lately, I've been hearing a lot about lab retreats, mostly from labs abroad and I've been wondering why we don't have them here in Chile (or at least, it's not an activity that most labs here integrate into their yearly plans).
Is it because some PIs think it's a waste of "bench" time, or maybe because they think that lab meetings are enough to discuss the research of the different lab members, or maybe something else?
So, the following question is directed to fellow scientists working in labs that do have lab retreats. Why does your lab have lab retreats? In your opinion, what do lab retreats contribute to the advancement of the lab that weekly lab meetings can't? Do you like having them? Do you feel that every lab should have them? On the other hand, have you ever felt like the time spent in the retreat could be better spent in the lab? What about having them every other year, rather than every year, would this be better?
And to those who work in labs that don't have them, would you like to have them, or are you better off like this?
Please note that I'm all for lab retreats and I actually want to make them part of my lab's activities: I feel it's a good time to discuss new strategies, new directions and new techniques.
Anyway, I felt it was important to get input from people that have actually experienced lab retreats on a yearly basis.
Feel free to comment!
(Image credit: both images are from lab retreats at Eric D. Brown's lab, which has a great website, by the way)