It has been somewhat a roller-coaster ride amidst the COVID-19 situation. When the news broke in Indonesia two days ago, I witnessed the same reaction from the public as seen in Singapore when it broke in Jan. From panic buying to extra precautions to acute awareness of the environment. Things we used to take for granted before, could be taken from us! Who wouldn’t panic?! All of a sudden, we wonder about the stake of our health, the health of our loved ones, our neighbours, our colleagues, our livelihood, our work…

For us at Somia, it is rather alarming to already see many reactions and questions being asked, both from clients and respondents. Being a Design Innovation Strategy Consultancy, we rely heavily on face-to-face research activities to uncover deep insights. However, with the dynamic and constant update on the news, it is inevitable that many lives and businesses will be indirectly and directly impacted, us including. For one, we already have clients asking for meetings with no more than 20 people in the room. They also don’t allow visitors from affected countries in their presence unless they are quarantined for 14 days.

Just this morning, we started brainstorming how we can prepare ourselves for the next few days, months… hopefully not years, on the changes that may need to happen. How might we continue to achieve our work objectives without putting anyone: clients, respondents, our own team members, at risk?

Remote Methods
In my earlier article where I talked about how COVID-19 has created some changes in my personal life in Singapore, I mentioned that technology has enabled a lot of my activities to continue. In the same way, we will make FULL use of technology to aid us in our research. Yes, it isn’t ideal but as much as we believe in good work, we believe more in good health to do the good work. Our priority will always be in people. Keeping all parties involved safe and healthy! So from ensuring a good internet connection for clear video and audio output to finding a quiet and conducive location to conduct the interview to providing digital stimuli to other online tools, we will keep thinking about creative ways to run the research.

Remote Testing Setup

Face-to-Face Interviews
And for those who are comfortable to see us in person, we will put in place all precautions that are needed:

  • Filling a written form stating if they visited any restricted area(s) in the last 2 weeks

Greet one another respectfully and avoid body contact like handshakes. Also, maintain a certain distance during the interview, which means making sure that the recording device is within range to capture what is needed.

If you have other ideas, do share. And above and beyond all of these, wash your hands, stay away from crowded areas, rest well and stay healthy!