Working from Home, Qualitatively

From the desk of Natanya Rubin

It’s 12:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, and my assistant project manager and I are wearing matching XXL Kideation tee shirts and borrowed shorts, waiting for our work clothes to come out of the dryer. This is my first day working out of our temporary Doyle Research headquarters in a private residence in the Chicago suburbs, a stop-over as we transition to a co-working space downtown, and I must say, it’s started with a bang, or rather, a downpour.

Our moderators are used to working in all kinds of locations, and under all kinds of conditions. When they’re on the road, a hotel room, focus group facility, coffee shop, classroom, or living room can all serve as a mobile qualitative office. For the field team, the transition from the office to an offsite location has been full of unexpected benefits. Being caught in a thunderstorm during a lunchtime walk and returning to the office soaking wet would normally be an uncomfortable experience, but not if your office comes equipped with a dryer!

Of course, there are challenges to setting up in temporary quarters as well. Our IT department has been working non-stop to make sure we’re all connected to the resources we need to do our jobs wherever we are. Shared spaces create opportunities for collaboration, but also raise the eternal question, Where am I going to take this 90 minute conference call without making my colleagues want to kill me?

Our sojourn at DRA North will be brief, but I’ll miss it when we move into our new, more traditional office space. This time has been a lesson in flexibility, creative problem solving, and, in nice weather, precisely how many feet of firewire cord is needed to take the conference phone out to the back deck.

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