Watch and Steal How to Work

Research method for Improving skills in the age of remote work

In workplaces that have adopted remote work, it has become difficult to observe colleagues’ work at the next desk and get various work inspirations as in the past. However, it is also difficult to ask a colleague to come all the way to the office for observation, especially if they work in a remote location. In this method, I propose using CoMADO to discover the how-tos of work. Invite a brilliant colleague you are interested in to join you for an observation survey to find out how they are getting the job done.

Team Building, Work Style

Why Choose CoMADO

  • Understand how your co-workers work, which is usually difficult to see
  • Gain insights that you cannot get on your own by observing and surveying the work styles as a team

Suitable for

  • Those who need to tackle a new task but are not sure how to proceed
  • Those who are looking for a more efficient way to work in their home office
  • People who want to build relationships with team members in a different way


In this method, you will observe your colleagues working by having them take pictures of points of interest, such as their desks and computer screens. Conduct the session quickly in about one hour, focusing on the theme of what you want to know. While having them show you how they actually work in CoMADO, record any points of interest by pointing them out, and so on. You can talk to them during the work and dig deeper into the curious aspects, or ask them to concentrate on tasks and ask for more details later based on the record; try arranging the method as you go along.

Typical Duration
210 minutes or longer (including planning, survey implementation, and review)
Typical # of Participants
2 to 6 people
CoMADO room, Miro board, Internet connection, smartphone (extra one would be good), tripod for smartphone (if available)


  • 01

    30 min.

    Plan your research

    Make a list of collaborators, summarize what you want to know, etc. If someone in your workplace is familiar with research, you may wish to consult with that person. I have prepared some materials as a support tool for this method, so please feel free to use them if you want.

  • 02

    30 min.

    Invite the people involved

    Make a request to those who would like to be involved in the research, such as those who would like to cooperate with the survey, participate in an observational study with you, or conduct a look-back meeting, and ask for their consent. I have made a template for requesting collaborators in the support tool, if you would like to use it.

  • 03

    30 min.

    Get ready for the survey

    Prepare for the study by having your collaborators prepare to use CoMADO, decide where to place the phone for your purposes, and so on. Depending on the nature of the survey, it may not be easy to use actual work-related materials. In such cases, discuss the arrangements with your collaborator, for example, to prepare dummy materials.

  • 04

    60 min.

    Conduct the survey

    Let them actually observe their workflow. Use CoMADO based on what you want to know and how you want to conduct the observation survey. It is helpful to determine the survey details in the support tool.

    For example, if you’re going to listen carefully to their comments later, have your collaborator concentrate on the task during the session, and the observers should focus on keeping records that will trigger listening to the words later, using the pointing, likes, and sticky notes features.

    If you are going to observe while having your collaborator explain, you can conduct the observation survey with several people, and decide who will take notes so that you can keep good records.

  • 05

    60 min.

    Conduct a look-back meeting

    Conduct a look-back session planned with the support tool. Ask your survey collaborator to explain the findings, or review the records and other information on Miro with your colleagues to dig deeper and discuss the things that caught your attention. Once you have gained some insights, you can use the Miro board to group and organize your findings, or brainstorm about the issues you had and come up with solutions together.

Useful Tool

When conducting research, it is helpful to put together a plan. In this support tool, I have prepared a template for a survey plan. This basically allows you to fill in each item to review the details needed to conduct the survey. Please download and use the document pasted on the Miro board.



Nayuta Oyamada

小山田 那由他

A communication designer. Utilizing his design thinking and content design skills, he supports service developments, improvements, and design-centric culture for businesses and government agencies as a service designer. A visiting researcher at Musashino Art University’s Social Creative Research Institute. A human-centered design specialist.

Agency: Concent, Inc.


Learning from how our colleagues work, which was relatively easy to do before the pandemic, has recently become more complex. I created this method because I thought that CoMADO could be used effectively to solve such a situation. From their experience, there might be various types of people who are good at their jobs. Some utilize handwritten notes; others make good use of shortcuts, and so on. I would be happy if this method would help you to think about how you work.

Tips & Tricks

In order to lower the hurdles in planning and getting various people to participate, I have prepared a support tool, which I hope you will use if needed. CoMADO is also an activity to establish a research community. We would be delighted to receive feedback on any questions or comments you may have. We will use your feedback to help us build our community in the future!

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Need a facilitator?

You can ask the author of this article to assist with your research. Drop us a line to check for their availability.