Onboarding COVID-19: Setting the Scene

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It’s Monday 23rd March 2020. I’m sitting in a park waiting to start my first day at a new job.

Just over a month ago I received a job offer, it was the break I’d been looking for, so I accepted it and resigned from the role I held at the time. My previous employer elected to pay out most of my notice period, I was pretty happy; 3 weeks off between roles!

During my first week between roles the world was much as it had always been, but with a few murmurs about a virus that was becoming an issue in other countries. I went to a heap of meetups, caught up with people for coffee, and of course did some coding and blog posts.

The second week started much the same, but rapidly the situation changed closer to home. The first signs of panic buying set in, toilet paper was becoming a rarity. By the weekend I knew we would end up going into a state of lockdown, it was just a matter of when.

My final week between roles continued as the second week had ended. I kept an eye on the news to see if we were getting closer to a lockdown, coffee catchups became video calls instead, I listened to the Government say we were “ahead of the curve” on preventing the spread of infection and I called bullshit. On Friday I had a video call with my new employer, a few people were still working from the office, my work laptop has been delayed, but nothing significant here. My onboarding experience was going to be a little different to normal, I knew it.

On Sunday night, articles started appearing about a partial lockdown, I turned on the TV (ABC News 24 for those who are wondering) to see what was changing. Pubs, clubs and gambling venues will be closed. Cinemas and other entertainment venues will be closed. Cafes and restaurants will only be permitted to do takeaway orders. The Victorian school holidays have been Boroughs forward. Non-essential services in Victoria will be shutdown over the coming couple of days. As I went to bed I was thinking I’ll get one day in the new office, and then I’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future.

So, here I am, sitting in a park (social distancing is easy when there’s no one around), waiting to start my first day at a new role. After 3 weeks at home I’m looking forward to the structure of being in an office, even if it will probably only be for one day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset, disappointed or unhappy about having to work from home. In this climate I’m extremely thankful my new employer has honoured their commitment to employ me. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with this onboarding process and learning from the mistakes we will no doubt make.

Stay tuned for a recap of my first day...