What it’s like to work at the Well Living Lab

Well Living Lab scientists, analysts, technologists, and operations professionals sit together in what they have dubbed “back of house” — an open office setting with individual workspaces, a glassed-in area for work requiring high concentration such as data analysis or real-time study monitoring, a glassed-in conference room and a glass-fronted hardware development lab. All the glass allows for line-of-sight so anyone can find anyone else at any moment. Out the door and down the hall are where actual studies take place — in the residential modules designed as apartments and a large reconfigurable area configurable for office and other studies.

At any given time, there’s quietness, banter, laughter, and collaboration among the team. A question spoken aloud by someone may float throughout the space resulting in an impromptu brainstorm or problem-solving session. An “ah-ha, check this out” moment may bring a couple of scientists and data analysts together to look with curiosity at an unexpected peak or tend in data that is coming together in real-time. When 9:30 a.m. rolls around on a Tuesday morning, everyone stands up in for a quick huddle to discuss happenings for the week and recap significant events from the days prior. When a study is finished, a similar meeting occurs but is focused on debriefing the study and capturing thoughts to help inform and improve future work, whether it is a process improvement, or another aspect worth applying to other studies.

Of course, there is a lot of critical analysis and challenges of each other’s thinking, aimed always at collective learning, driving the research, and fully understanding the on-going nature of and results from all studies and other research efforts. Many team members describe their minds as a swirl of questions that get to be vetted, debated, shaped and considered for scientific merit with their fellow scientists and other colleagues. Analysts, project managers, study recruitment coordinator, and technology are fully integrated into the teams for all studies. The researchers have their individual areas of expertise and may be either leading or a team member on a study.

It’s teamwork where respect, collaboration, and innovation are evident — all of which are values of the lab, along with scientific integrity, data privacy, and security, measurable results and stewardship.

Heads down work in the glassed-in area often is about meeting the challenges of assuring meaningful, accurate data and interpreting it appropriately. Study results emerge as data is integrated into a single platform for analysis, a system created because the technology and science teams work together to determine requirements, needs, and solutions for each study.

Prep-work for a study is both an individual heads-down activity and group participation – protocol development, Institutional Review Board submissions and working through details such as determining the frequency of data collection to account for nuances and the true nature of what is happening during a study.