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The Inside Scoop at AWA digital

In our first ‘Inside Scoop’ series, we chat with Nina Fernandes, one of our key Optimisation Managers.

Nina joined AWA digital back in 2021 – during the height of COVID!  Since then she’s worked with some fantastic clients, including Canon and Interflora, helping them grow.

We chatted with Nina about her time so far at AWA digital, the perks of remote work and how she looks after her wellbeing.

Tell us what AWA digital does in one sentence… 

In a nutshell, we optimise our client’s websites to help them improve the customer experience and increase revenue.

What’s it like working at AWA digital?

My role is 100% remote and my colleagues are based all over the country and even internationally. I am able to concentrate a lot more at home with no distractions. It’s also really flexible, with no set hours, so if you need to start a bit earlier and finish earlier, you can, as long as you coordinate your calendar.  

Although we’re based everywhere, everyone is available to help whenever you need it.  There are usually 2 CROs per client, working together to help deliver tests and the client roadmap. The work is really varied – we’ll be doing analysis one day, briefing developers another day, getting my head stuck into user research (which I love the most!) 

Your leader takes the time to get to know you on a personal level”

Nina Fernandes

How would you describe AWA digital’s culture?

AWA are a people-first company, who actually care about their staff both inside and outside of work – we have company away days, gifts to celebrate milestones and family events, as well as investment through training and conferences. Your leader takes the time to get to know you on a personal level and respects how you like to work.

We all respect each other and value everyone’s skillsets no matter what level you’re at. My leader takes into consideration how I want to work and how frequently I want to catch up, to let me get on with things.  Everyone has different ways of working, and it’s respected. 

Everyone is passionate about what they do and we’re always hungry to learn new skills and ways of working, whether that’s through podcasts, books, peer to peer learning or CXL courses.  We are known to have a few book nerds amongst us and we’re always passing on knowledge and recommendations!

Nina visiting Pisa, Italy

What was it like to join a fully remote company through the pandemic? 

It was strange for me during the height of the pandemic, as I didn’t meet anyone in real life for a good few months!  My previous roles have all been office based – I was supported to help adapt quickly, with lots of meetings and video calls to build relationships. I had a fluid induction, getting to know the clients I’d be working closely with.  The directors had lots of 121s and catch ups with me and the team to help me settle in.  

In terms of equipment, I got a brand new laptop of choice and the option to get a desk to make working from home comfortable.

Could you ever return to an office-only 9-5 environment?

To be honest, I don’t think that’s something I’d do ever again! I’ve always wanted to work from home and I think it gives you a much greater work-life balance. Since covid, most companies are doing it hybrid and have realised it’s benefits, but AWA have always been remote-first, well before the pandemic hit. 

The little things all add up and save you lots of time – being able to spend time with family, or go for a walk.  I love to travel, having recently been to France and Italy – the remote working gave me huge flexibility to plan these trips, which meant that I could continue with my hobbies and interests & then bring my full self to work . When I returned from my trips, I was already home and could get organised – unpacking on my lunch break & doing a clothes wash!  

Not only this, you can essentially work from wherever is best for you – whether that’s a local café or jumping on your laptop in the park.

My skills are recognised and I’m encouraged to do my job to the best of my ability

– Nina Fernandes

What is your favourite benefit at AWA digital? 

I think the remote working is my favourite thing, it’s opened so many opportunities and has helped me enjoy the things we take for granted and invest my time more wisely.  

I also think the Wellbeing membership is a great perk and helps you stay on top of your health – I love to swim, so chose to spend my £40 monthly allowance on a membership to my local gym.  Other members of the team have opted for a weekly fruit & veg box to experiment in the kitchen.

What is your favourite thing about working at AWA digital? 

I like the fact that I am trusted to get on with my job and that I am respected by everyone in the team. From past experience. being a young woman can be difficult in the industry, but here at AWA, my skills are recognised and I’m encouraged to do my job to the best of my ability with no micromanagement.  When I do need help or support, my leader is there for me & he drops things to help me out as quickly as he can. 

When I joined AWA, my leader asked how often I wanted contact and how I like to work – he’s been great at adapting to my working style. From experience in other organisations, I personally hate it when meetings become a tick-box exercise!  At AWA it’s very much a hands-off approach and autonomous environment, where everyone trusts you to get on with it. 

If you could give prospective employees one piece of advice, what piece of advice would you give them?  

Have confidence in your own abilities and knowledge – don’t be afraid to get stuck in and get out of your comfort zone – you learn more things that way! 

You also get to know what you like & don’t like.

Utilise the perks and benefits – for example I love my gym membership and AWA’s element of Care means that they give you 5 days paid volunteering each year, along with contributions to fund raising – it’s such a nice thing to do!  

Don’t be afraid to block things out of your calendar to structure your day and make working from home easier – we all work differently, whether that’s deep uninterrupted work in the mornings, or planning your client calls in the morning – however you like to work is respected and we adapt to one another’s styles!

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