One Year on: Remote Research and Reimagined Spaces

For our UK and US teams, this month marks a year since the first lockdown and shelter in place orders were implemented. We, like many others, remember waving goodbye to our colleagues saying “see you in a couple of weeks”. We would never have predicted that one year on we’d still be mainly interacting over Zoom, Teams, Slack, Miro and seeing each other only via video. One year on we have rounded up the ways in which our daily working lives have been affected by the changes.

All Image Credit: Sutherland Labs

All Image Credit: Sutherland Labs

Switching to remote research

We have been running remote research for many years but when the transition to home working began this method of research suddenly demanded our full attention.  For many UX’ers the draw of in person research is because it provides a forum for active observations where researchers can bounce ideas off of one another, so we had to develop ways of working which allow for the same level of collaboration and productivity.  We love the results remote research can yield, but we’re also looking forward to balancing it out with in person research when the time is right.

Reimagining our studio spaces

Much has changed in the physical sense in the last year – the ‘2 meter rule’, social distancing, masks becoming a norm and plastic screens being erected where possible.  In London, we followed government guidelines and did reopen our space for a short period of time for in person research last summer. Among other precautions, we restricted the number of people in the building and shared areas and installed UV cleaners so mice and keyboards could be cleaned after every participant. We imagine that precautions like these will continue to be the norm for some time, with hybrid bookings being something that we will see more of in the future with some participants coming into the office and others joining remotely.

The way that we work at home 

 For most of us working at home has become the norm – and we’ve had to adapt our living spaces to accommodate meetings, research sessions and even joining virtual masterclasses with our partners.  With many of the team being based in London or San Francisco apartments we have had to modify to allow for working with family members, partners and housemates. Living spaces and bedrooms have become home offices and some of us found ourselves negotiating with children and our four legged friends to stop them from making noise while we were running research sessions. Purchases for the team have at times become frivolous with many of us spending money to fill the abundance of time that we have found ourselves with, unexpected hobbies have been fuelled by next day delivery DIY kits – not to mention the numerous furry friends that have joined the team in the last year!

The way that we exercise 

Gymnasiums, climbing gyms and sports facilities were one of the first establishments to close their doors when the first lockdown hit last year last March and many of us were left wondering how we were going to fill the exercise void that was left behind.  Like much of the rest of the country, we took to online workouts and pay as you go style phone apps, with one member of the team swearing never to go back to a gym after purchasing a Peloton bike.  We have happily transitioned to living without the often crowded spaces which constituted as city gyms, and that a run outside or a walk in a green space can be much more beneficial for both physical and mental health.

With the prospect of the relaxation of Covid restrictions around the corner we are looking forward to the reopening of our beloved studios. Although we have managed to stay connected over the last year we are looking forward to getting back to in person collaboration and covering our office walls with post it notes once again! 

If you are planning an event or are interested in knowing more about the meeting spaces in our London Labs space then get in touch with

The Labs Team

Sutherland Labs