Written by IFF Research

A day in the life of Nicola, an Associate Director here at IFF

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Nicola Wildash joined us in 2020, bringing with her a wealth of experience from her time at YouGov and Sport England. With a background in social research, she joined as a Senior Research Manager – before being promoted into her role as Associate Director. Nicola primarily leads projects within the energy and environment sector.

Energy and environment at IFF delves into topics such as climate change, energy efficiency, and sustainable living. From assessing the impact of funding to increase the energy-efficiency of homes, to exploring public attitudes towards climate change, Nicola’s research plays a role in shaping a greener, more sustainable future.

Q: Nicola, could you walk us through a typical day in your role as Associate Director at IFF?

Absolutely! As a bit of an aerobics addict, I typically go to the gym before work and arrive at the office around 8:30am. I’m a big fan of working in the office and whilst IFF is flexible in how you work, I find the collaboration and chats in the office really helpful. Once I’ve had some breakfast, I review my to-do list for the day, make sure my teams have what they need to complete their tasks and then I crack on with my work. I would typically have 3 or 4 meetings with clients or projects teams dotted throughout the day.

Q: How do you structure your afternoons?

As the day progresses, I shift my focus to more administrative and data-oriented tasks. This might involve updating budgets, analysing more complex data sets, or planning weighting approaches. I find that putting on my headphones and getting into a focused zone helps me power through these tasks (always helped by a bit of Gabrielle!). By the end of the day, I aim to have wrapped up any loose ends and prepared for the following day’s activities. Wednesday is my non-working day, so on Tuesday I ensure that my teams are clear on what needs to be done in my absence.

Q: What makes each day unique for you?

No two days are ever quite the same! While I have a general routine, the specific tasks and challenges can vary. One day I might be deep in data analysis, and the next I could be pitching a new project to a client. It’s this variety that keeps things interesting and ensures that I’m constantly learning and growing in my role.

Q: Could you give us some insight into how you split your time as an Associate Director at IFF?

Of course! Roughly speaking, I split my workload into thirds. One-third of my time is dedicated to overall project management, client interactions and internal meetings. These meetings serve as important touchpoints for updating clients on project progress and aligning priorities within my team. Another third of my time is for reviewing research materials, drafting reports, and conducting data analysis – so completing tasks relevant to my projects. The remaining third of my workload is focused on business development and internal initiatives. Most recently, I worked with our Learning and Development Director to create our new POP framework. It has been designed to ensure clarity on the expectations for researchers at different levels and highlighting the key steps needed for career progression.

Q: Are there opportunities to socialise with colleagues at IFF?

Yes, there are lots of social events organised by IFF. Whether it’s one of our quarterly team days, our book, craft or running clubs, or enjoying a casual round of drinks, quiz night, or poker night – there are lots of opportunities to unwind and connect with my colleagues.

Q: Any how do you unwind after a busy day?

I leave the office by 6pm and either meet up with friends for dinner and drinks, or head home to enjoy some good TV (Real Housewives obvs) or a book.


And that’s a glimpse into a day in my life as an Associate Director at IFF! If you’re passionate about making a difference in the world of social research and are interested in joining our team, we’re always on the lookout for talented individuals who share our commitment to driving meaningful insights. Check the link below to explore our current opportunities.

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