Thousands Of People, Five Personas (A Case Study)

By Ria Lucas
With almost half of the nation working from home, the balance between work and home life has become more difficult to maintain. Realising this, one of our partners approached us with a question: how do our team members prefer to work? To find out, we set about collecting data for the company.


We started by taking a look back at research conducted in 2019. The data collected informed us that some employees with the same job title had different responsibilities, based on their location and routes. We therefore made sure that as we collected more data, we looked beyond job titles and into responsibilities and work styles. 

Our main goals were to learn more about employees’ work environments, and to uncover how much their staff knew about the company's agile working opportunities. They wanted to know whether people were aware of the options available, and if any of them were already using agile working methods to make their work/life balance easier.

We decided to build a new group of personas, with a series of questions covering our key criteria.


Personas are often used in marketing to represent a certain user type, which future campaigns can then be angled towards. However, they have also proven useful internally. Personas are a great way for large companies to get a better impression of their workforce. There are multiple methods for building a persona; e.g. surveys or focus groups. We decided to conduct interviews with a variety of staff members, from which we could start to build accurate and representative personas.


We interviewed a wide selection of company employees from different regions and sectors, with a range of personal backgrounds and varying job roles. This would help to ensure that our data represented as many people within the workforce as possible. 

We sorted the questions into three parts. To begin with, we wanted to learn more about the employees and their roles. This included an overview of their average work day, and how well this aligned with their job description. We then moved on to their ways of working. This section covered their workplaces, tools, and accessibility - both before and during Covid-19. Finally, we delved into their work and lifestyle. These questions allowed us to see how much employees’ work seeps into their daily lives; whether they check their phones or continue working out of hours, and why.


As each interview was conducted, we put the employee’s answers into a spreadsheet. This gave us a better overview of how the company felt as a whole, as well as individual sentiment. With the relevant data, we were able to start building our personas. We decided to build a total of five personas, capturing the main beliefs and attitudes of our interviewees.

We named the first persona ‘The Commuter’, reflecting those who often travelled long distances to their workplaces before Covid-19. Next was ‘The Communicator’, who represented those who spent a large part of their day in meetings and on calls. The third was known as ‘The Nomad’ - a free-roaming agile worker, who’s been more heavily impacted by the pandemic. We then had ‘The Team Player’, who thrives on the company of others, and, finally, ‘The Agile Champion’, who was born out of the pandemic thanks to the need for more flexible working.

As well as building personas, we compiled our multiple choice answers into tables, which we could then present to the company. For the more open questions, we put together individual profiles for different job types, presenting our findings about their work and lifestyle. Altogether, this has created a diverse image of how the company’s workforce are managing their work/life balance.


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