Hello everyone! Hope you are surviving in this time of madness. I am a new associate UI designer who joined Tigerspike Tokyo a month and a half ago when the whole world was in the middle of a pandemic.

I became a member of Tigerspike remotely due to the lockdown in Japan, but the Tokyo team has been supporting me to smoothly start working and being part of the team. Although I have never actually met 70% of the whole team members in person, I feel very welcomed for their team-centric culture and hospitality. 

For those of you who are job-hunting, you might be wondering,

“Even if I get a job now, can I really get the support I need to be on-boarded in this pandemic?”

“I won’t get to see my new boss and co-workers in the office. Can I really fit into the new company?”

“Working remotely as a newbie might be so lonely…”

I feel you. I was once in the same position as yours. However, after joining Tigerspike, I realized I needn’t have worried. They made me feel at home even online, and they completely changed my view of “remote-working.” In this article, I would like to share my online onboarding experience with you so I can ease your worries for job hunting a bit 🙂


For onboarding, I went to the office for the first two days, right before the lockdown happened in Tokyo. Our design director, UI lead, and the office manager came to the office to welcome me even in the pandemic, and they shared with me the core values and missions of Tigerspike and current team member/project information.

Grabbing my new partner, a MacBook Pro, I went back home excited about my new remote-work life!

Remote Onboarding, online, team, team-centric, culture, company, pandemic, remote activities, colleagues, slack, welcome

Week One

At Tigerspike, we use Slack for daily communication. When I logged into Slack for the first time, there were lovely welcoming messages from team members!

Honestly, I had never seen that many emoji reactions, so I got very excited and felt welcomed by my new work family.

For online meetings, we mainly use Zoom and Google Hangout. I was shocked when I joined my first meeting with the design team…

I didn’t know we had this technology where you could transport yourself to foreign, fun places like this. ‘And what the…

Is that a frog?

Hey, there is a demon, too!

What a fun party this is!’, I thought.

At Tigerspike, we have a weekly team sync-up meeting where all the UI/UX designers share which projects they are currently working on and any issues they might be facing. It’s a cool opportunity to learn what other projects exist at Tigerspike and how they are dealing with their tasks. We don’t have to be on the same projects to feel we are all one team.

Tigerspike uses multiple online platforms so we can collaborate and work efficiently together. There is no need to be in the office to have effective discussions.

Remote Onboarding, online, team, team-centric, culture, company, pandemic, remote activities, colleagues, tokyo, design

Online Welcome Party

We had an online welcome party due to the lockdown, which turned out to be such a fun, memorable bonding time. With Japanese sake, wine, tequila, juice, etc in hand, we used Zoom this time also and gathered around…

By this time, I had got to learn how to use filters and became an official team member at Tigerspike! Haha

Folks at Tigerspike are such fun people who love using weird filters. In the online welcome party, we had a Q&A session where they could ask me any questions including funny and weird ones, which made me feel the team was trying to make me feel at home, and I felt very thankful for the hospitality.

Remote Onboarding, online, team, team-centric, culture, company, pandemic, remote activities, colleagues, party, zoom, tokyo

Week Two

Now, who is who? Let’s do a one-on-one with every member!

I did a one-on-one chitchat meeting with every member at the Tokyo office. I got to personally speak with the members not only from the same department but across all the departments including Sales, Project Management, Design, Tech, and Back Office, as well as the General Manager. It was a great opportunity for me to learn everyone’s background and personality, and I felt I was able to bond with my team a bit. I felt grateful that all my team members took the time to chat with me, and this truly shows the team-centric culture that Tigerspike has.

Values Tigerspike Tokyo shares:

• We care about each other
◦ We are not just “employees.” We are a “team.”

• We love the diversity in the office
◦ There are some members born and raised in Japan, some with experience living abroad, and some from other countries.

• There is a sense of community
◦ We value time with the team outside of work, too.

• Lastly, we love having fun!
◦ Yep, that’s it!

COVID-19 doesn’t stop us from doing events and activities!

• Japan Weekly Sit Down
◦ Across all the departments, we share each one’s projects and share updates.

• Online Morning Activities
◦ There are casual one-minute speech sessions and yoga sessions twice a week.

• Online Coffee Break
◦ There are casual chit-chat meetings every other day where you can share your weekend activities, hobbies, etc with other fellow co-workers.

• Online Lunch & Learn
◦ Every other Friday, there is a lunch and learn session where you can share your expertise, professional or personal experiences, hobbies, etc with other members. One person gets selected to do a presentation.
◦ Examples of presentation topics: Product Design for Plastic Materials, Behind the Scene of Film Promotion, Start-up Companies and Stock Options.

• Online Otsukare Friday
◦ Every Friday we have a drinking party to casually enjoy drinks and conversations with team members.
◦ We play games and try quizzes, too.

• Buddy Program
◦ A fellow team member will be your “buddy” so you can share any concerns, questions, or anything else during your one-on-one meetings.

I honestly wouldn’t think there are other companies like Tigerspike that do all these fun activities even online. I know many companies in Japan are even having a hard time shifting to having employees work remotely. Tigerspike is beyond that, finding ways to enjoy activities even in the pandemic. My anxiety is completely gone now thanks to this team-centric culture. 

So for those who are looking for a job, just “sit back, relax, and enjoy applying!” We are looking forward to hearing from you!

tokyo, designer, ui, remote onboarding, new starter

Honoka Hamano

Associate UI Designer,Tokyo

tokyo, designer, ui, remote onboarding, new starter

Honoka Hamano

Associate UI Designer,Tokyo