My remote onboarding experience during the COVID-19 pandemic

Appical Team
Charlotte Witcher
May 11, 2020
min read
Table of Contents
March 31st, 2020: another notification on my laptop pops up. Coronavirus live news: Spain passes 100,000 cases, as UN says the world faces the worst crisis since WW2. These times have gripped the nation for weeks and quite literally kept us at home adjusting to a new normal. It is also the time I started a new job.

If you had told me a month ago that I would be starting my new job remotely, not meeting most of my teammates in person, and that we would need to structure our remote way of working long term, I would have thought you were purposely trying to put me off my new job. 

Naturally, I had apprehensions surrounding starting a new job in this time (not to mention remotely) but, reminiscing on the very reason I was excited to join Appical softened my inner fear.

Rather fortuitously, the opportunity to experience the full remote onboarding journey, alongside interacting with the engaging environment of Appical’s digital onboarding tool, got me up to speed much faster than expected and enabled me to hit the ground running before I even started. Let me bring you back a few days before starting at the company to elaborate.

Day -1

My new CCO Peter calls me to update me on the developing situation in Amsterdam and says: “So, things look a little different now than before." He informs me "that following a government briefing and subsequent board meeting that all staff in my new company would be working from home until further notice." And so, my flight from England to Amsterdam and my introductory week at Appical were canceled.

In parallel, I receive a message from my mom saying: "So are you okay to start your new job tomorrow? Not the best time is it. I'm really worried." That's where not being a 'stress head' comes in handy, I took it on the chin and replied right: "Let's get on with things and catch up on my first day tomorrow!"

The first day of work

Having alleviated my mother's fears and knowing that my company was more than set up to deal with remote working, I entered my first day of working at Appical from my bed straight to my makeshift remote setup. This is where remote onboarding comes into play! 

Because you see, in the preceding weeks before I started at Appical, I had been sent a message to download their onboarding app and start on my pre- and onboarding journey! Before long I was efficiently setting up payroll, providing my passport, and getting to grips with the obligatory compliance aspects. 

Furthermore, there was lots of engaging content about the company itself in the app. Using the People Finder feature in the app allowed me to find out who my teammates were and what they did. This, linked up with the messaging tool enabling me to engage with my new colleagues early on, felt like I was part of the team already. 

What seems like a fairly inconsequential feature in the app, the FAQ section was super handy where I could be informed about when I get paid, if there are (virtual) team drinks, and where to find specific documents. All the kind of immediately important most trivial questions you don’t want to ask when you start a new job. 

People Finder Appical

My first weeks

On my onboarding path, it was also apparent that I was slowly being drip-fed information where stages would be unlocked at key milestones in my journey. This allowed me to remain focused on certain tasks at hand rather than being sent a million different emails and individual masses of information in one go. Crucially, I knew exactly a timeline of what was expected upfront and what I need to do. Happy days! 

My first month

After an exciting and busy couple of weeks of meetings and greetings comes the opportunity to co-host a virtual pub quiz with my colleague Victor. I’m a bit of a quiz queen, so jumped at the chance to help out and also nudge my acceptance within the team. Luckily, Victor was far more tech-savvy and organized than I, so I managed to wing my way through.

Since then we’ve done lots more remote team events from weekly drinks on Friday, to exercise classes over Zoom, bingo, and even through the keyhole where teammates show off their “cribs” in true MTV style.

Photo of Appical team having a drink over Zoom
                                         Photo of Appical team having a drink over Zoom

Digital onboarding during COVID-19

So, my answer to my mother’s question if “It isn’t the worst time to join a company?” is “No.” The very reason I had no real fear joining a company that was well equipped to accept the new remote working norm, but more importantly, that has a digital strategy to get new hires up to speed regardless of where.

Learning more about the Appical Onboarding tool, I realized that in light of the COVID-19 crisis it could be used more and more as a messaging tool to the wider business on top of all the existing pre-, on- and off-boarding features! Great news for companies looking to send urgent updates fast in a formal way.

So what's next for us at Appical? Well, this climate, although tricky, allows us to help lots of UK businesses get new hires up to speed remotely. Think about all those hospitals, logistics teams, and supermarkets to name just a few that have hired additional staff overnight.

In case this sounds familiar for your business, learn more about how to use our onboarding app for reboarding your employees here.

Are you interested in a digital, remote onboarding tool as well? Send us a message and we will drink a virtual cup of coffee!

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