April 8, 2020
Reality of Work From Home Offers Opportunities in Research
With Covid-19’s full effects still bearing down on us, professional services providers might be tempted to stand pat on critical business initiatives. But those initiatives could help them weather an economic downturn — and prepare them for when some semblance of normalcy returns.
Put simply, waiting is not a strategy right now.
Organizations can still do a lot thoughtfully and strategically, particularly in areas that can work quite well with so many Americans working from home over the coming weeks and months.
Research Surveys in the Time of Covid-19
When they’re not trying to concentrate with screaming kids in the next room or investing in noise-canceling headphones, American workers are taking more video conferences than ever before. That is out of necessity, but it also means that those workers are growing more comfortable with online communication platforms.
With this somewhat-captive audience there is an opportunity to conduct online surveys – surveys that can teach us a lot about the topic of the moment. Over the past two months, Greentarget has developed several Covid-19 surveys related to topics or trends relevant to services our clients offer. We have successfully surveyed about Covid-19’s implications for employment issues, cybersecurity issues and CMS changes, among other topics. The best surveys ask not only what has happened and how that has impacted business but also explore near-term plans and where future challenges are expected.
Staying focused is crucial to produce a newsworthy piece of quantitative research. This is not the time for wide-ranging questionnaires that will take weeks to analyze. Audiences are hungry for trusted voices to provide actionable advice in the near-term.
Don’t Forget About Qualitative Research
Qualitative research – frequently conducted through electronic channels in the best of times — is another way to provide insights. It can refresh thought leadership that was published prior to the pandemic as key audiences can weigh in on how perceptions may have changed, or to what extent those previous insights look different to them.
To do this, Greentarget deploys an online focus group, with respondents similar to the original survey respondents. Participants can comment on past findings and can elaborate on what that specifically means to their business. We often focus on whether respondents expect a return to normalcy or a completely new normal.
That was the approach for a project Greentarget partnered on with GreenHouse::Innovation and Amsterdam-based Learn Adapt Build (LAB). Since early this year, the three groups had planned the Work, Wellness & Space Summit in Chicago, scheduled for April 23. The 20 confirmed participants included leaders across commercial real estate, architecture, construction, commercial healthcare, big pharma and wellness consultancies.
Their discussion was intended to start a longer-term wellness initiative, called Space::The Immediate Frontier, organized around a pressing need to uncover a healthier relationship between wellness, work and space is possible, with the holistic employee experience at its center. But by late March, it was clear the format needed to change.
Rather than rescheduling, the partner groups opted to engage key stakeholders in the initiative through remote interviews about the specific business challenges. These interviews will build momentum leading up to the summit, while allowing Greentarget to take the pulse of key leaders about how they process the twists and turns that the pandemic has brought to their respective industries and how they each approach this very relevant topic.
Maintaining a willingness to explore creative approaches to research in a time of unprecedented constraints can empower your organization to emerge from this period in a position of strength. A compelling perspective rooted in audience empathy will keep you a step ahead of competitors and tuned into what is truly most important to your clients.