Building remote

Building Unsplash

This is the 20+ people remote team behind Unsplash – a service behind 500M creative acts made with their 1M amazing and free photos.

Unsplash is an ecosystem of digital products designed to support and enable creation. They spend most of their time building the highest quality library of usable images, figuring out how to spread the impact of photography further than ever before, and connecting that impact to new opportunity.

Please, don’t send your CV

If you want to get a remote job at Unsplash, don’t send them your resume. Start with a message.

“Instead, tell us who you are. Show us relevant things you’ve done that you’re excited about.”

Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships, Unsplash

They are looking for a thoughtful, skillful, and enjoyable people to work with. Every person they hire is someone they see themselves working with for the long run.

Don’t care where you work

You make your schedule and can work from wherever you want most of the time. Unsplash has a few meetings where the whole team needs to be together, but people are mostly in charge of how they want to shape their day.

“We believe you should be able to structure your schedule for what makes you feel the most energetic, creative, and happy.”

Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships, Unsplash

They know that it’s not about the time you put in or how often you come into the office. It’s about what you do in that time that matters.

Strive for over-communication

Communication is very important in a remote team, and especially a written communication. Unsplash prefers digital to in-person communication. If you decide someting on a video call, you should also write it down somewhere for the whole company to access.

“Think you’re asking too many questions? You probably aren’t. Think you’re writing too many updates on a Trello card for a simple task? You probably aren’t writing enough.”

Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships, Unsplash

They’ve also learned that openness is a key to a successful remote team. If you made a mistake, don’t hold it to yourself. Be open about it and share it with the team.

“Nothing is private to a person or a team.”

Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships, Unsplash

Using mostly Slack and Trello for remote work

Like many other remote companies, Unsplash is using Slack, which is the most used remote tool among companies on RemoteHub, as their virtual office.

Slack is great for a time-sensitive and almost real-time chat – like coordinating things happening right now or asking for quick opinions. Slack’s major problem for Unsplash, and really for all remote companies, is that information can get lost very quickly across dozens of rooms, timezones, and quick conversations.

“Think about it this way: if what you’re talking about is okay to be lost deep in Slack search, where no one will likely think to look for it (or assume that it’s even been discussed), then it’s cool to discuss in Slack.”

Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships, Unsplash

While Slack is great for quick chats, it needs something more organized on it’s side. Unsplash is using Trello, other remote companies also use some other project managements tools like Jira or Asana. For example, Unsplash is using Trello for process descriptions, getting non-trivial feedback, documenting a discussion etc.

Trello’s major advantage for Unsplash is that it provides a permanent, easy to search, organized grouping of information. They keep all their boards public so that the whole team can see the discussions going on and join anything that interests them.

Learn more about Unsplash

Unsplash's remote team is currently working from 5 cities across 5 countries covering 5 timezones. This makes them #85 on RemoteHub with employees coming from most countries.

You can learn more about Unsplash from their 6 answered questions about remote work from their full interview.

Rauno Metsa
Founder of RemoteHub
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