Remote work

Unsplash is working remotely and building a service with 1M free photos

This is the 20+ people remote team behind Unsplash – a service behind 500M creative acts made with their 1M amazing and free photos. They are a remote company working from 5 cities across 5 countries.
by Wyn Sutuntivorakoon – Partnerships

What does your remote company do?

Unsplash is an ecosystem of digital products designed to support and enable creation. This means we spend most of our 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.

How to stand out when applying for a remote job?

If you want to work with us, all we want to see is a message from you. Please don’t send a resume. Instead, tell us who you are. Show us relevant things you’ve done that you’re excited about.

What we look for in a teammate is someone who’s thoughtful, skillful, and enjoyable to work with. Every person we hire is someone we see ourselves working with for the long run.

Team Unsplash working out on a team retreat

Where does your remote team work from?

Our environment leads to the things we produce. And a great environment leads to great products.

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.

Though we have an office, we don’t care where you work. Or how. You make your schedule and can work from wherever you want most of the time. We have a few meetings where we need to be together, but you are mostly in charge of how you want to shape your day. We believe you should be able to structure your schedule for what makes you feel the most energetic, creative, and happy.

Working on a team retreat

Does your remote team meet in person?

We try to organize company retreats once a year as it's one of the rare times we get to be with each other in person

Why we do retreats:
πŸ•ΊWe get to know each other better beyond work.
πŸ‘‹ People who don’t work together as often get to spend more time together.
🌲 Change of scenery refreshes mindset and thinking. Slow down to go fast.
πŸ’‘ Makes time to reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Unsplash on a team retreat in Greece

How do you communicate in your remote team?

We prefer digital communication to in-person. If you decide something in-person, you also should write it down somewhere company-accessible.

The expectation for responses when you are tagged in a message is within 24 hours. There will always be exceptions to this but a good rule of thumb is to aim to reply to messages you're tagged in within 24 hours at most. Something as simple as a short message saying you'll get back to them at another time works.

We also strive for over-communication. 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.

Lastly, openness is key. Nothing is private to a person or a team. We're all morons sometimes, we all have faults, we all make mistakes, so don't be afraid. Throw it all out on the table and good things will happen.

Some of the Unsplash Team fam working together 🀘

What are your most used tools in your remote team?

We use Slack and Trello for most of our communication.

Slack is great for time sensitive stuff: like quick opinions and coordinating things happening right now. Slack has a few advantages, but it's major drawback 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.

Trello, on the other hand, is for everything else (processes, what you're working on, getting non-trivial feedback, documenting a discussion, etc.). It's major advantage is that it provides a permanent, easy to search, organized grouping of information. By default all boards are public and join-able β€” so you can dip into anything that interests you and see the discussions going on, or the discussions that have happened.

Learn more about Unsplash

Unsplash's remote team is currently working from 5 cities across 5 countries covering 5 timezones. This makes them #87 on RemoteHub with employees coming from most countries.

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