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FIELDWORK

 

We bridge the gaps between humans at work

By listening to workers stories and observing workers behaviours, we give companies a clear and objective picture of their company that helps with leadership, internal comms, recruitment, innovation, well-being, induction and the broader short and long term strategy. Our work enables companies to work on strategy with clarity and focus, saving time and money whilst really supporting the humans in the workplace.

A human alternative to surveys

We use an inquisitive process to study the workplace that is based on rigorous research methods. We use photography, interviews and observation to hold up a mirror to the way people live and work. We do this to shed new light on old habits, cultural things that have become ingrained and no longer serve their intended purpose, things that are invisible because they are passed everyday, and things that are automatic. We hold up a mirror so that companies can see the thick detail of their everyday work life that is often hidden in plain sight.

Helping companies notice things

The value is in unearthing all the beliefs, behaviours and values that make up a company's culture. The implication is that once the culture is understood, meaningful choices can be made about what can be done.

 

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“Pulse surveys and staff satisfaction surveys don’t give you stories, they give you graphs and data, the corners and the edges of a puzzle, but you don’t get the context, you don’t get everything else. So Fieldwork’s research did that for us, it completed that picture, that puzzle”
— Claudia Ruane, People, Culture & Sustainability Director, Abel & Cole

Projects and Services

DIY Kits in use at Capital One

DIY Kits in use at Capital One

Self Exploration Ethnography Kits

We designed and produced a DIY kit that promotes self exploration of work life. They've been used by 60 workers at Capital One to document and understand their working lives as part of an internal communications and culture project. We used 50 of them as part of a wider research project at organic food company Abel & Cole, to give us access to areas we couldn't visit. The kits are also used by individuals wanting insight and ideas on their day to day working life. They are a unique way to get rapid insight in an inclusive way.

At exhibition workshops, people are invited to look through the photographs and quotations from the DIY kits. We invite them to create an exhibition drawing on the pieces of the research about which they felt most strongly. Workers add their own thoughts and we capture conversations between participants.

Email us for more information

Anthropologist Dr Tim Rice observing at Abel & Cole

Anthropologist Dr Tim Rice observing at Abel & Cole

Follow the thing

When you supply a product or service, over time you start to lose touch with procedures, strategy and logistics. At the same time, growth of a company will see a disconnect between geographic locations, departments and people. When this happens, work, productivity and culture suffers, having an impact on the bottom line and the people working with you.

We have developed a unique way to help you reconnect with your business, services, products and people, we call it 'Follow the thing'. The thing is your product or service, and we document it's journey from start to finish, interviewing, observing, photographing everyone that touches the thing until it reaches your customers. We help you understand the findings, turning them into a workable strategy that supports your products and services.

Email us for more information and case studies

 


Something About Work

Something about work is a 30 minute audio visual show hosted by Fieldwork founder Curtis James for conferences, small events and companies that want to learn more about what it means to be a human at work right now. It features stories gathered from the Beyond Work and
Fieldwork projects.

Already enjoyed by The RSAusTwoClearleftMiniclick, Wolff OlinsIdeoAll About People and the CIPR.

Watch a video of the talk here.

Email to book for conferences, lunchtime and after work talks. 

Beyond Work

Beyond Work really was the inspiration for Fieldwork. Founder Curtis James decided 5 years ago that he would document the working lives of individuals with his camera and notebook, and he's still doing it now in his spare time. The project is driven by a simple purpose, to unearth the working lives of people whose jobs are often invisible.

Beyond Work tells stories about humans at work, with no judgement or glorification. It's an attempt at unearthing the social, cultural and functional world of work, that’s become invisible in everyday life.

Find out more here.

How

Our research is highly versatile, and can provide extremely rich insight into ‘real life’ practice. Our studies can vary notably in focus – they can be company-wide, or aim at a particular department or small group of people.

We specialise in research and telling stories about what it is like to live and work in a particular company, stories about what people do, bringing people a closer, fresher look at the actual experience of working life. We can work across multiple locations, conducting interviews, observing behaviours and capturing photographs. Read more about our researchers.

The data derived from our research is rigorously analysed, drawing connections between different patterns and behaviours observed. The ultimate goal of ethnographic research is to develop an understanding of the meaning of the behaviours, objects, environments, social interactions, beliefs, values, and communications observed.

At the end of our analysis our work can be delivered as a report, presentation, in workshops and as temporary culture exhibitions.

Email us for more information and access to our case studies.

 
“The upshot is that millions of people go to work each day to do things that almost no one but themselves understands but which large numbers of people believe they know enough about to set policy, offer advice, or redesign. Work has become invisible”
— Stephen R. Barley - From an introduction to 'Talking about machines'.