Remote team is a competitive advantage for Kinsta
Started in the office
Kinsta was started by a group of founders in London and Budapest. Initially, new team members were hired in Budapest, but by the time the company had reached the 10th member they had made their first remote hire. Today, most of the team works remotely from more than 20 countries across the world covering 40+ locations and 7 timezones!
Around the clock expert support is one of the most important aspects of Kinsta’s service, they found their competitive advantage by building a distributed team.
“We are able to provide 24/7 support without asking anyone to work overnight.”
About half of Kinsta’s team works remotely and other half from their offices in Los Angeles, London and Budapest.
Exceptional support is one of the cornerstones of Kinsta’s business and using a remote workforce better allows them to deliver on this promise. By hiring a remote team they have access to a much larger pool of qualified candidates and they can easily locate talent to cover every time zone needed.
“The remote model is a core part of our operational strategy.”
Remote work has many challenges
The accounting and legal systems of the world were not designed to make remote work easy and so the contractual and financial frameworks that Kinsta uses to enable remote work require ongoing attention.
The challenge is not unique to Kinsta – all remote companies struggle with this! But with the rise of remote work, it gets easier with services like Remote.com that let companies employ anyone, regardless where they live by doing all the hard work like payroll, benefits, compliance and taxes. The remote company will just receive a simple invoice to pay.
Some of the team relaxing on an evening cruise down the Danube river during Kinsta week. CEO at the bow. ⠀
Planning a yearly team retreat, keeping documentation updated, figuring out timezones, etc., can seem challenging and take effort, but keep in mind that even traditional workplaces face the same challenges without the benefits of going remote.
“The problems aren’t harder or more plentiful, they’re just different.”
Half of the team is able to set their own schedule
Remote work is not only about working from home (or anywhere else in the world). It’s also about making the boundaries between work and life more transparent. When the nature of the work allows, people can often set their own working hours or even better — work without a strict schedule.
About half of Kinsta’s remote team is able to set their own working hours, but the other half needs to work fixed schedules because they’re doing things like providing customer support and monitoring our infrastructure.
“For those folks, we fix their schedules to UTC to ensure we have consistent coverage across time zones and changes.”
It’s always fun to connect with team members in person, who you’ve only previously met on Slack. Putting names to faces during Kinsta week. ⠀
The right tools are important
Kinsta, like many other remote-first companies, live in Slack. It’s their virtual office. They also use Google Meet and Zoom on an ad hoc basis as well as for regularly scheduled team meetings, weekly check-ins, and a monthly companywide AMA.
“Team members don’t have to watch Slack constantly while working. They are able to set themselves away if they need some time for focused work.”
Writing and managing documentation will become the lifeblood of your company as you go remote. Kinsta documents every process and workflow in their Confluence knowledge base. While it takes effort to build and maintain a documentation, a remote company can’t do without it.
“If you have an office, make sure the folks who work in the office are just as active and invested in the communication tools you select as the team members who are working remotely.”
Some of the team enjoying some fresh air during our annual Kinsta meetup week! ⠀
Remote team members must be dependable
While skills and experience are certainly important for Kinsta, it’s just as important to them that candidates display some personality, are communicative and dependable, and show that they are reliable professionals.
“We’re a fun-loving bunch, but we take ourselves seriously (but not too seriously). If someone isn’t ready to show up and deliver the goods they aren’t going to be a long-term fit for our team.”
As most of the communication in a remote team happens through text, the ability to communicate clearly in writing is a required skill for every single Kinsta’s team member.
WordCamp in San José
Put effort on your cover letter
It’s hard to get a remote job. In 2019, Doist – a fully remote team behind productivity apps Todoist and Twist – received 9,249 applications across all their openings and added 9 people (or 0.1%) to their team.
While there are a lot of candidates for each remote role, the suggestion to stand out is often simple – write a meaningful cover letter.
“One of the biggest things candidates can do to stand out is to write a concise and professional cover letter that clearly communicates how they meet the requirements we’ve included in the job listing (or how they don’t meet them and why that’s ok).”
This demonstrates that you’re a strong writer, it allows you to convey some personality, it shows that you pay attention to detail, it shows that you cared enough about the job to write a custom cover letter, and it allows a remote company to quickly identify whether or not you’re qualified for the role.
Kinsta reviews all applicants and creates a list of all who meet the requirements. Then, they hold a short calls with the most competitive candidates to go over the requirements and provide a little more information about what it’s like to work for Kinsta. This also gives a chance to interact with each candidate to see if they meet our standards for professionalism and communication.
Then, after creating a shortlist of the most promising candidates, they hold video interviews over Zoom. While turning on the camera isn’t strictly required, it certainly helps to get a feel for who you are and whether or not you’ll be a good fit for the team.