Unity: Where ‘fun’ is not just a description of the product

This feature is part of our “Well-Distributed” series where we highlight some of the companies whose people-centricity and approach to remote work we admire. Unity was one of our premier sponsors at last years Oyster Bridges event.

We talked to Elisa Pineda, Recruiter for Unity, on Peloton exercises, hunted (virtual tours) of Prague and how Unity supported the transition to remote work.


Elisa is used to hybrid work, as a recruiter, much of her job including screening candidates and conducting interviews has been done virtually. It was not until she joined Unity, the 2D and 3D game development platform, in May of 2020, that she realized how easy it could be to work remotely.

“Simply because everything’s reachable, Unity provides the tools, and luckily we are able to do everything remotely,”

Elisa Pineda, on her experience at Unity

Elisa first understood, Unity does remote work differently as soon as she started. “Onboarding is usually extremely difficult to do, past experience has been it doesn’t work. So, you finish in person, simply because you can do parts here and there.” Unity was a different story all-together, paperwork came through via online tools, she met her colleagues using video calls, and overall raved of her experience noting that this is the standard remote companies should strive for.

As we chatted, Elisa shared very relatable tales of working remotely – from her virtual background “to hide the books and the mess my son has likely made behind me,” to colleagues’ challenges of learning how to collaborate remotely “especially with VR … maybe they require another teammate in front of them doing the same exact thing,” to the fun she has working with international communities, being able to use Spanish for work purposes since she comes from a LatinX background

Through our conversation, Elisa’s excitement for Unity was contagious. It is clear why they are quickly standing out as a “Well-Distributed” company, read on for some examples on how Unity makes their workforce remote friendly.


Benefits

Unity made the shift from having a global office and hybrid presence to fully remote in part due to the COVID pandemic and quickly implemented small but meaningful remote work policies and benefits to support the team such as Home Office Allowance of 1,000 USD per employee (including new desks, monitors, and chairs). They also offer benefits such as Mental Health Benefits (the amount and type varies by country) and Fitness Benefits, 125 USD, which Elisa uses for Peloton, “I’m obsessed, I mean even just looking at the app makes me happy … that’s an extremely exciting perk.”

Meetings and Trainings

Unity leads company-wide Town Halls to discuss how the pandemic is impacting people at work, and rolled out company-wide training including training on leadership skills, and effective communication, including business writing for remote work.

“Unity has done a lot to be able to train remotely and give feedback and provide like a safe place to be able to practice some of these things.”

Elisa Pineda

As it relates to meetings and time zones, she mentioned a company best practice that is simple enough: just ask! We talked about the importance, from both a scheduling perspective and also cross-culturally to plan ahead. It is as easy as adding in the extra step to say “hey, does this time actually work for you?” in order to be respectful of people living in different areas of the world.

Tools

“Unity loves Slack” Elisa mentioned, and while the stack of tools is what you would expect, leaning heavily on Slack and Zoom, “it all kind of melts together to create a total type of World of Communication, a complete circle.” She shared.

On Having Fun

Elisa talked about Unity’s approach to having fun together is to be creative, celebrating holidays in different ways as a way to share different cultures and to connect with one another was a common theme. She shared an example of a Halloween tour of Prague, “{An employee} gave a tour of Prague, the scariest things about Prague and real history, about like the last plague, for example.” The tour was conducted virtually, by having pictures of Prague at night and an avatar to walk through the pictures of the screen, in true Unity fashion resembling a video game of sorts. This was something available to the whole company, but creative fun happens on the team level as well. Elisa, on her part, planned a “Name that Tune” competition with 42 songs, including video game songs and of course a remote buzzer. I caught up with Elisa shortly after the interview, to learn her guess for first place came in third, but that “it was epic” all around.

Between making sure employees are taken care of from both a benefit to training perspective, to a creative approach to having fun – Unity is definitely leading the way in creating a supportive remote work atmosphere.


Want to join a remote team like Unity? You need 3 things according to Elisa:

  1. Ability to focus autonomously.
  2. Ability to maintain your own schedule and be self-guided in getting work done.
  3. Self- awareness: Know when and how to ask for help

To learn more about Unity please visit: https://unity.com/


Know of another “Well-Distributed” company that should be featured? Leave us a comment below!

Published by Ali Greene

Head of Culture and Community at Oyster. Ali has ten years of startup experience and four years leading remote teams and implementing frameworks for organizations while traveling full-time. From rolling out benefits for U.S. based teams while slurping ramen in Tokyo, to managing an organization re-structure from beaches in Spain, her unique point of view and solution-oriented mindset is focused on supporting the success of distributed organizations. At Oyster, Ali is the liaison between internal culture and best practices and external education of the wider Oyster community.

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