Review of the year 2020: it’s been a very different year!

16th December 2020 14:22

There’s no getting around the fact that 2020 has been an extraordinary year. Since March, Coronavirus has impacted every area of life and like everybody else, we’ve had to respond pretty quickly to working in new ways. Our kitchens and living rooms have become our offices, board room meetings have gone digital, and we’ve been catching up with clients and colleagues via video apps. Despite the challenges and uncertainty, however, our company has adapted well to the crisis and we’re proud to say we still have all of our permanent staff in their roles and enjoying their work.

So, this year, for our DJS yearly review, we’re going to look for the positive moments in a crazy year. Believe it or not, there have been quite a few!

Here are our top 20 highlights from an extraordinary 2020…

 

1. Another year of double-digit growth 

At the end of March, just as the pandemic hit, we reached a new milestone recording a turnover of £6.3 million. This is yet another year of double-digit growth for DJS Research – 22% up on 2019!

 

2. Covid-19 and national lockdown

When people were asked to work from home, if they could, at the start of the pandemic, we successfully converted to home working overnight. This included all of our research staff, operations and even our CATI telephone unit. Prior to the lockdown, we already had in place a system for all staff to work from home one day a week, so we were fairly well set up from the start. We’ve continued to support staff throughout and they have adapted really well to continuous home working.

 

3. Face-to-face research was severely restricted but other methodologies have flourished, particularly CATI and online.

Coronavirus has hit the market research industry hard in that face-to-face research has very much been restricted or not possible. Although this was initially a challenge for us, it has given us the opportunity to strengthen our other methodologies and we’ve seen a huge take up in telephone interviewing (B2B and B2C) and online research (both qualitative and quantitative). 

 

4. Our loyal, repeat and new clients continued to commission good levels of research with us

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients who have supported us throughout the year. In addition to our usual private, public sector and charity projects, we have experienced a strong demand for intelligence to help respond to the crisis (see highlight number 6).

 

5. We secured a place on a number of new research frameworks

In a year of uncertainty, we have been delighted to secure a place on a number of new research frameworks, including the WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) qualitative services contract, where we are the sole supplier collaborating with WRAP and their partners over the next three years, across all of their priority areas including sustainable clothing and textiles and sustainable plastics. We are also one of four suppliers that have been appointed to the Customer and Stakeholder Engagement lot for Cadent Gas Limited, the UK’s biggest gas distribution network. More exciting framework news to follow in the new year…

 

6. We conducted numerous pieces of research to help with the Covid-19 crisis

It gives us great pride that we have been able to play a role in the pandemic across a wide range of sectors over the last year. Some of the work we've undertaken for clients has been looking at experiences and attitudes towards the pandemic across education, health, local government, retail and utilities. You can read more about this here.

 

7. Our research outputs continue to have impact

Our in-house data visualisation team continues to be one step ahead when producing our digital outputs, meaning our findings are always presented in engaging and highly varied ways. These include short visual infographics and videos, animations, 3D outputs and reports and presentations to make our research stand out. We’ve also produced a number of our own videos, including one for our retail offering as well as a great new introduction to DJS Research!

 

8. We’ve seen lots of our work published and making headlines

It’s always great to see the research we work so hard on published – and this year there have been several key pieces making headlines including our Healthwatch and Water Matters research, as well as more recently, the Law Society’s ‘Race for inclusion’ research.

You can see all of our published research here.

 

9. We received positive feedback from our clients

Getting feedback in any form helps us develop as a company – and this year especially, it’s given us all a great boost. We always strive to go the extra mile for our clients – so to know they continue to be happy with our service is extremely rewarding. We've had lots of great feedback this year from organisations including Horniman Museum and Gardens, Kent County Council, Loop and KCOM to mention just a few. Read what they and others have been saying here

 

 

10. We distributed our thought-provoking research pieces

Our Directors have been busy sharing their knowledge and wisdom, including:

Unwrapping Christmas retail for the fashion sector

Words to live by: How the language we speak influences our behaviour

Confirmation Bias, Market Research and Dominic Cummings

Searching for meaning: a tongue in cheek look at trends on trends

When everyone is busy being objectively similar try cultivating your subjective difference

Why are we so bad at social distancing?

Collaborative competition amongst water companies: an oxymoron or an achievable ambition?

 

11. Opinion Exchange: our new research panel was launched

In October we launched Opinion Exchange, a market research community of both consumer and b2b audiences, who are available to take part in our research projects across the fashion, sport, leisure and automotive sectors, as well as giving views on important issues in society today, such as healthcare, education, finance and the Government. Have a look at: opinionexchange.co.uk/

 

12. All of our permanent staff still have a job and in fact we’ve been recruiting new resource

The uncertainty brought about by Covid-19 has been a great challenge for many businesses. We’re really proud that despite these challenges, we will enter the new year with all of our permanent staff still in our employment. And not only that, we’ve even been recruiting to add to the DJS team, too. In October we welcomed Research Manager, Anna Hegarty, and in the new year, there will be a number of other joiners to be announced.

 

13. Another four decades of loyalty

Last year we celebrated sixty years of combined employment for six DJS staff  – and in 2020 we’ve welcomed even more loyal staff to our ‘10 Year Club’! Congratulations to Project Assistant, Alex NodenOperations Director, Matt CoullingResearch Manager, Gayle Higginson and Operations Research Manager, Lyn Allen who all have shown great dedication and expertise throughout their time with us. Here’s to the next decade!

 

 

14. Our staff amazed us with their resilience and hard work

Despite work being quite different this year, our staff have been simply incredible and have gone above and beyond when working from home. They really are the backbone of DJS Research and never has that been so clear as it has been in 2020. We wanted to say a little thank you – and what better way than sending a surprise gift of chocolate and prosecco to put some fizz into their week – which even travelled as far and wide as Norway!

 

15. A number of extra wellbeing activities have been put in place for all staff

The wellbeing of our staff continues to be very important to us – and never more so than through this period of working from home due to Covid-19. Last year we introduced yoga and massage sessions to be taken throughout the day at the office, and during these difficult times we’re offering staff more flexibility around working hours to ensure they make the most of the daylight hours throughout winter. We have also implemented wellness calls to check in on our teams  – and staff have been given an additional half day off during December to just look after themselves!

 

16. We continued to listen and act on staff suggestions within our annual MyDJS survey

Last year we launched our own employee engagement survey, MyDJS, and have since been implementing measures to make DJS Research an even better place to work. Lucy Pawson, our HR Manager has worked alongside the MyDJS team to drive positive changes across the business, including an enhanced maternity package, loyalty holidays and the ability to work more flexibly from home. This month we launched our second survey, the findings of which will help us improve even further.

 

17. We've continued to give back to the community

Being part of our local community and helping out where we can is very important to all of us at DJS Research. Before the pandemic we offered local secondary school students the opportunity to join the team for work experience, enabling them to gain insight into a career within a market research agency. We currently have a graduate on a work experience placement as part of work we are doing for Salford City Council. It is more important now than ever to offer the next generation of researchers a leg up to help enter the profession.

It’s also been great to see staff embrace our DJS volunteering days; earlier in the year Jack went to Poland to volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps, while after the nationwide lockdown, Associate Director, Helen, set to work making scrubs for the NHS.

 

18.  A number of charitable activities were successfully completed

We love to do our bit for charity and in 2020 we have continued to help where we can, particularly in supporting our charity of the year The Thomas Theyer Foundation. We had  been planning to undertake a relay walk from our Cheshire headquarters in Strines, over to our Leeds office – but like many things in 2020, Covid-19 scuppered our plans. Not to be defeated, we instead came up with our DJS 25 on the 25th Challenge, which our staff could take part in from home. Getting friends and family involved, it was a great success and really brought the team together. We also supported our Project Assistant, Alex Noden in completing the Virtual London Marathon raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

 

19. We’ve reduced our carbon footprint

With less travel to and from the office, meetings with clients going online and the photocopier having a well-deserved rest, we, like many offices across the land, have been able to cut down our carbon footprint – which, can only be a good thing!

 

20. You got to know us better – we launched our Christmas Calendar videos!

We thought it would be a lot of fun to put together a Christmas Advent Calendar with a difference – one that we could share every day so our clients and social media followers could get to know us better and see the people that make DJS Research what it is. Each day a member of staff from all areas of the business talks a little about themselves, their roles, and their experiences of working during 2020 – and so far, it’s been a great hit!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can find us all here: linkedin.com/company/djs-research-ltd

 

Final word from Danny and Ali Sims:

"At this time of the year Ali and I always extend our thanks to everyone who supports the company - and that’s clients, suppliers, our staff, respondents and all of our industry friends including our competitors! These sentiments go out even more so this year. It's not been an easy year for anyone and that includes us. But with the continuous support we receive we’ve managed to get through the year still in one piece.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a well-earned break and rest over the festive period. We’re looking forward to a much better 2021. All the best and take care. Danny and Ali."  

 

 Wishing you a happy festive season and all the best for 2021!

 Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest company news and complimentary market research insights.

Get more DJS News:

 
Fundraising in the age of Covid-19: Our 25 on the 25th Challenge for the Thomas Theyer Foundation
 
We've been awarded the WRAP qualitative services contract!

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