The JustPark office

A first-hand account of the remote onboarding experience

Hannah Gibson | Talent Manager at JustPark

Interview series: Get to know the JustPark team

Getting to know JustPark is all about getting to know it’s people. After all, it’s not just the destination that’s important, it’s who you make the journey with. That’s why we’ve launched a new interview series to hear from members of our team and get first-hand accounts of life at JustPark. 

To kick us off, we spent some time with Claudia Crossley, the newest member of the JustPark People team. Claudia started as the People Coordinator shortly before lockdown and, along with the rest of the JustPark team, has been working remotely ever since.

With firsthand experience of remote onboarding and as the person who’ll be coordinating the process for future new joiners, Claudia offers a unique perspective on the process of onboarding new employees remotely.

What does onboarding as a process mean to you?

Onboarding starts the moment you receive an offer and the process covers everything that’s required to get someone through to the end of their probation. That covers everything from paperwork at the start to making sure they’re fully trained, and should include learning areas of the business. It’s also important to include feedback on what I’m doing well, where I need help and areas I can improve on. 

You accepted the role at JustPark in February, but by the time you were due to start a month later a lot had changed. Tell us about that experience. 

I was a bit apprehensive about whether I’d still be able to start, but my line manager Lewis [Tasker, COO] got in touch to explain all the changes at JustPark and what that meant for my role. He explained I’d need to get involved in areas outside of HR initially, but I saw that as a positive as I’d get to learn about all the different areas of the business. 

I expected to be working from home as a lot of friends were doing the same already, but I got to spend a few hours in the office on my first day and Lewis put the time in to explain everything to me so everything was well communicated and it went smoothly. 

What was your first day like?

I started on 23 March, so it wasn’t until later that day that the lockdown was officially announced. It was great to get that time in the office as all of my equipment was ready, all the systems and tools worked straight away and I got trained on everything. It was important to get that set up right, as I would be connecting with everyone through Slack, Zoom, and Gmail rather than in person. 

Has your onboarding experience been different to what you expected?

Even remotely, it’s been exactly what I expected it to be. I wanted to join JustPark because of the incredible culture, and everyone lives and breathes the values. 

With Mental Health Awareness Week, it highlighted our Be Human value with some great events and support across the business. And people definitely cultivate their communities – no one has said no to something I’ve asked for help with. Everyone wants you to do well and celebrate your successes. 

What have been some of the challenges to onboarding remotely?

It’s mostly the little things – when you’re sitting next to someone you can ask a quick question. When you’re messaging it makes it more like you’re bothering them. 

It’s also been hard to build relationships. People still see me as someone new because they haven’t met me. So I’ve been using the camera in all of my Zoom meetings so people get used to seeing me and I get to know them. 

HR is about developing personal relationships. How have you approached that?

I’ve just been connecting with people and going for it. I drop into the daily coffee mornings and ask a lot of questions, and now I’ve started hosting those too. The People team have been great about making sure they introduce me, especially in the beginning when I was meeting people for the first time. 

Now you’ve settled into the role, has it met your expectations?

I’m doing everything the job description said. It’s a broad role and I like to be exposed to lots of different things – we’re all one team and we understand what everyone is working on. 

Working in sprints is something I’ve done before. It’s good to structure the work and make sure we meet deadlines, and we challenge each other on delivery. 

The office management side is different to what I expected. I’ve never worked with contracts with 3rd party suppliers before so I’m learning something new. 

So what does a normal day look like for you now?

We have a team stand up at 8:30 every morning, so I log on 15 minutes beforehand to sort out my calendar. I’ve taken over the HR admin and I’ve also been working on meaty project tasks. That might be a project proposal, identifying improvements, process mapping. I then end the day with some reflection – 3 things that I’ve learnt or have gone well.

I also have weekly 121s with my manager. I’ve been able to talk everything through with Lewis and he’s made himself available whenever I needed some time. 

I’ve also been upskilling my ping pong ready for when we come back to the office. I’m playing every night, and I’m getting quite good!

What’s been your favourite JustPark experience so far?

I think it has to be the scavenger hunt that we did for one of our fortnightly games nights. Walking past my dad carrying a giant wall clock from the kitchen took a lot of explaining though!

The other thing has been how well we train everyone at JustPark – I’ve not struggled as it’s all so well explained. People make the time to go through everything. 

What are you most looking forward to once you’re able to start back in the office? 

I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person! So far I’ve met people in smaller groups, so I’m also interested to see the culture when the teams are all together. Some of the ceremonies will be different in person, too, like singing happy birthday on our celebration call every Thursday. 

What do you think are the main things companies who are onboarding employees remotely should be aware of?

The importance of introductions. Some people might not be confident to just say hi and get involved. Announce the new member of the team and if you’re in a meeting, make sure you acknowledge the new person so you’re not sitting there awkwardly behind a computer screen. 

It’s also important to have regular check ins, like our daily team stand up or my weekly 121s. Even just on simple things like are they comfortable with the systems they’re using, do they have their work space set up in the best way. 

And for people joining a new company?

Don’t be shy. Be open to getting involved in all the activities, it’s the best way to learn who people are and what they do. You’ll see the more relaxed side of people when not working. 

And ask for help when you need it. It’s easy to sit for ages without asking if you’re working remotely. You need to be open to learning new things and asking a lot of questions. 

Is there anything you want to add?

Just that It’s been a positive experience, despite the remote onboarding. People keep asking how I’m doing but actually it’s been really good, which is a reflection of the type of company JustPark is. 

We’d love to hear about your experience of remote onboarding.

What kind of initiatives have you launched to welcome new members to the team? Or have you recently started a new role and found the remote onboarding challenging. We’d love to hear about how other companies are navigating these challenging times, to share ideas and continually improve the way we work.

About the author

Hannah Gibson is the Talent Manager at JustPark. After starting her career in agency recruitment, Hannah moved into recruitment roles with Eurostar, AIG and Aecom before discovering that developing talent in high-growth start ups was her true passion.

Since joining the JustPark team in 2019, she’s led all our recruitment activity as well as managing our talent development initiatives. This article was originally posted on LinkedIn

About JustPark

JustPark is reinventing parking for the digital age. Our popular app helps over 3.5 million drivers reserve and pay for a space in seconds, with 50,000+ locations available to reserve and pay for in advance. JustPark’s app is being used to park a car every 3 seconds, with 150,000+ customers joining the platform each month.

At JustPark, we’re dedicated to transforming mobility by building the largest decentralised network of space in the UK and cracking both sides of the market. We aim to give drivers more confidence and peace of mind by allowing them to pre-book and pay for parking without using cash. But we also allow asset owners and parking operators to earn more money from underutilised space with our data-led approach to occupancy optimisation – creating more room and supporting developments in mobility.

The JustPark platform aims to ensure that more people can make smarter, seamless and sustainable transport decisions.

Keeping remote employees engaged

Lewis Tasker | Chief Operating Officer at Just Park

Seven weeks ago the UK Government took the unprecedented step of announcing that travel would be restricted, certain businesses would close, and we would all be experiencing a very different lifestyle for a while. We have now come to call this “lockdown”.

Many businesses, JustPark included, have been fortunate enough to be in a position where we can ask most of our employees to work from home. Also, many businesses, again like JustPark, have been in the unfortunate position where we have had to take advantage of the Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme (or “furloughing”). Both of these situations have thrown employees (because let’s not forget, furloughed employees are of course still employees) into the unknown – a situation where they are remote from their employer, remote from their colleagues, and in many cases remote from their friends and families too.

This has created a situation where employers must hugely increase their level of communication if they want to maintain (or, perhaps, increase) employee engagement. Keeping remote workers up to date with what is happening in the business can be tough if we are all used to having chats in the office as we walk past each other’s desks, if we are used to bumping into each other whilst getting coffee, if we are used to joking around with each other at lunchtime.

I am fortunate enough to work in a mobility technology scale-up in London (no, we are not based in Old Street before you ask) where we have a really awesome social culture – everyone genuinely gets on really well and we are used to hanging out after work; probably more than we should if we are being honest (you know who you are). But how do we go about keeping this up during lockdown? How can we keep that all-important social interaction alive and kicking when we are limited to staring at each other through a Zoom window? Is it even important that we do? I tend to think so…

What we are doing

We have put together a few (well, more than a few) initiatives to drive employee engagement, communication, and wellbeing whilst we are all working remotely. These initiatives are super-important for furloughed employees too: the mental health toll of being furloughed during lockdown can be tough, and as an employer we absolutely have a duty of care to our furloughed colleagues, perhaps now more than ever. Let’s not forget that there is also a (of course secondary) commercial benefit to this too: the more engaged, informed and included furloughed employees are, the shorter and less intense their re-onboarding process will be when they return to working for the organisation with their team mates.

I thought I would share what we are doing to keep these engagement levels up…

  • Daily coffee mornings – regular 30 minute sessions where people can drop in and talk about anything on Zoom. We set vague topics, but they usually go off track! This is a nice way to keep in touch with colleagues that you are not directly working with.
  • Regular All Hands meetings – we have moved from doing these bi-weekly to weekly. We thought it was important to share things more frequently than we would if we were all in the office. We keep them informative, but also very honest and interactive. We also jazz things up by having fancy dress ones once in a while. Seeing your CEO in a very tight Spiderman costume definitely breaks down barriers.
  • Bi-weekly quizzes – we have an awesome pair of quiz masters at JustPark who have been hosting some remote quizzes for us. We might run out of topics soon, so we are toying with bingo or Pictionary (OK, so this will be an experiment…)
  • Encouraging continual learning – when lockdown started, we accelerated the implementation of Sunlight, an online learning platform. Most people seem to have more time to fill, so we are proactively encouraging everyone to sign up to online courses or buy books that will help them to achieve their goals in the Individual Development Plans.
  • Weekly birthday and anniversary celebrations – every Thursday at 16:00 we celebrate the birthdays for people born in that week. We are lucky enough to have our own chef at JustPark who, in addition to cooking great lunches for us all every day, bakes a birthday cake for whoever’s birthdays we are celebrating. Whilst we can’t all benefit from the cake side of things whilst in lockdown, we still get together remotely to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries (believe me, hearing 100 people on a Zoom call all “singing” happy birthday is both frightful and hilarious at the same time)
  • Weekly photo competitions – each week there is a different topic and we all submit entries for consideration, and vote for the winner (“vote” is probably being kind to a process which entails seeing which photo gets the most emoji reactions in Slack). The winner gets to choose the topic next week
  • Regular 121s – it is tempting to deprioritse 121s when working remotely, so we have made a particular effort to make sure that these continue to happen, with a focus on ensuring that everyone’s mental health is a topic at the top of the agenda.
  • TikTok competitions – yes, this one puzzled me for a while. Whilst I technically just about qualify as a millennial, until two weeks ago in my head TikTok was a wonderfully mediocre song from Ke$ha (I have now been schooled by my GenZ colleagues). Each week three people take up the challenge to record a TikTok video of their choice. The winner gets, well, kudos. Some of the creations have been really great!

A mixture of fun and serious

We find that keeping the social aspect alive, and having a bit of fun is really important for keeping everyone’s spirits up. In this seemingly new normal of lockdown, letting off steam and making each other smile shouldn’t be taken for granted. However, we also know that the serious things are just as important now as they ever were, and line managers play a crucial role coaching and developing their teams to deliver, and doing this effectively whilst remote is something that we are helping them with.

A mixture of old and new

We have a mixture of traditions that we are keeping, and new initiatives that we have introduced. I think that both are important for different reasons – people need to feel a sense of belonging to an organisation and rituals are a great way to achieve this; but successful organisations must of course grow and adapt to different circumstances. What is certain is that what we will be doing in six month’s time will probably also be different to what we are doing now, as we learn and adapt our approach to make it even more effective.

What else is going on out there?

It would be awesome to hear what other organisations are doing, and hopefully spark some debate and interaction from others about what is working (and maybe not working) in other places. After all, this is not a competitive endeavor – we should all be sharing how we are helping our employees during this time. Feel free to post some comments, or chat with me at

Stay safe everyone!

About JustPark

JustPark is reinventing parking for the digital age. Our popular app helps over 3.5 million drivers reserve and pay for a space in seconds, with 50,000+ locations available to reserve and pay for in advance. JustPark’s app is being used to park a car every 3 seconds, with 150,000+ customers joining the platform each month.

At JustPark, we’re dedicated to transforming mobility by building the largest decentralised network of space in the UK and cracking both sides of the market. We aim to give drivers more confidence and peace of mind by allowing them to pre-book and pay for parking without using cash. But we also allow asset owners and parking operators to earn more money from underutilised space with our data-led approach to occupancy optimisation – creating more room and supporting developments in mobility.

The JustPark platform aims to ensure that more people can make smarter, seamless and sustainable transport decisions.

About the author

Lewis Tasker is the Chief Operating Officer at JustPark. After joining JustPark as part of the executive team in 2018, Lewis has led a number of departments including Engineering Product & Design, Customer Support and People & Talent.

After studying Astrophysics and graduating with an MSc in Space Physics, Lewis made the obvious transition into a career in HR and has over 14 years’ experience leading People and Talent functions. Before joining JustPark, he was the Director of People and Culture at KelliDeli and Head of Human Resources, Europe with Samsung Electronics.

This post has previously been published on LinkedIn.

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