As England eases its lockdown restrictions and we all slowly sink back into reality, it’s nice to sit back and reflect on the year that we’ve encountered.

Where some companies have faced unfortunate challenges in the past year, Aire has approached these head on and seized endless opportunities.

In the months leading to October 2020, the UK soared to a record number of redundancies. For Aire, the demand for work meant an opportunity to widen our internal expertise. As a result, at the time of writing, circa 30% of our teams have been recruited virtually during the pandemic — something unimaginable only a year ago.

We wanted to know what it’s really been like for those new starters, so, we sat down with a few of our lockdown recruits to explore the challenges and celebrations of their experience starting a new job from home.

Meet Georgia, one of our Junior Account Managers.

What do you make happen at Aire, day to day?

My role at Aire is a Junior Account Manager, and I help cover our ecommerce projects. It entails assisting the other Account Managers where needed, managing projects from the client and also assisting with any admin responsibilities. I have worked on projects to produce hero images, animations and full image suites.

Where has life taken you before Aire? 

Before working at Aire, I was a Project Coordinator. Having come from a retail background before, I had customer service, supervisor and merchandising experience.

What is the most valuable skill you bring to Aire, from your previous roles?

I’ve developed a range of skills from my previous roles, customer service (Client Delight!) being the main one.

What do you make happen at Aire, day to day?

I am a Realisation Specialist with a focus on ecommerce, working closely with the design team. We usually start with an initial design concept, be this a hero image, which accentuates the key elements (think of your gran doing her online shop during this pandemic), or a full ecommerce content suite, which helps immerse a consumer in a brand and communicate relevant product information online. I then help to roll this out across other variants and markets, keeping everything looking nice and consistent.

Why Aire?

Aire’s outstanding work caught my eye, but it was when I learnt more about Aire’s culture, values and people I could see what a great place to work it would be. I feel very lucky to be here!

What have you found challenging about starting a new role remotely, and how have you adapted?

It was quite daunting knowing I was starting a new job without having people there to ask those little questions but really, the resources utilised by Aire completely eliminated any concerns I had and in many ways it’s easier. We have group chats, which makes it very quick and easy to ask questions. We have team meetings every morning (camera’s on too, which has helped me get to know people) and online whiteboards to help us collaborate. Having well put together processes and procedures, part of our MSH (Make Stuff Happen system), something to have on hand to refer to has also really helped.

Meet Vicky, our Realisation Specialist.

What do you make happen at Aire, day to day?

I’m Aire Design’s Production Manager, looking after the Realisation team.

A typical day could be anything from being on numerous calls discussing process/ways-of-working through to concentrating on other innovation areas – the diverse mix of challenges is a huge bonus. 

What have you found challenging about starting a new role remotely, and how have you adapted? 

One-to-ones have been nice, it’s given me the opportunity to really get to know people without distraction. Understanding who works with who was a bit of a puzzle at first, if you were in an office environment you would see straight away who works together because they tend to sit together.

What one thing would you shout about, that you get out of working for Aire? 

The culture. Everyone is progressive, wants more or wants to be the best they can be. I’ve spent time previously around moaning myrtles and it is refreshing to be part of something where every single person is progressive.

What do you make happen at Aire, day to day? 

I support the Realisation team with a tracker system which ensures fluidity between Client Delight and Realisation.

In an economy where a lot of employers are struggling, what do you think Aire have done right, to be able to offer so many opportunities at such a crucial time for the employment market? 

They have stayed true to themselves. They know who they are, the services they are able to offer, their market position. They have not overstretched themselves nor got complacent.

How was your induction made a success and what changes would you suggest, for future employees?

My induction was a success purely because other colleagues made time for me. I’ve felt comfortable and reassured that I can get in touch with a query at every level. I would suggest coffee morning chats and for all the group calls to start from day three. First couple of days need to be focused on HR, discussions with your Line Manager and the team. It is difficult to find common ground in discussion on group calls that appear to be casual or unstructured that early on.

Meet Matty, Aire’s Finance Apprentice.

What do you make happen at Aire, day to day? 

I am one of Aire’s Finance Apprentices. My role includes raising invoices and purchase orders, chasing overdue invoices and providing assistance to the Client Delight team for all finance matters.

Do you think you would have experienced the role differently if you’d have started under ‘traditional’ circumstances? 

Most certainly but I’m not sure whether the difference would be neither better nor worse. Just different.

What will you most look forward to about normality resuming in office life? 

Meeting new people. (I’m not looking forward to the commuting!).

Finally, as an apprentice, how are you balancing your study time with your day to day at Aire?

The balance is quite easy. I have 1 hour every day set aside for studying and with the quality materials provided by Kaplan I can use the spare 5 mins I have here and there to pick up some pocket notes to study.

Lockdown has been extremely straining for many businesses across the world. Not being able to work in the office, virtual team check-ins, the whole social aspect of working vaporising and in worst cases scenarios for some companies, having to let employees go.

We pride ourselves on not only overcoming these lockdown obstacles, but broadening our team by welcoming new employees. We’ve also formalised our hybrid working model, offering our people the flexibility to divide their time between the office and home.

Here at Aire , we’re always on the lookout for the ‘right’ people. So, if you are a nice person with a can-do attitude and a passion for all things packaging, design and technology, get in touch today.