Fleep quarterly review and plans for Q4 of 2017

quarterly review

September is here! We’ve been busy working towards our mission of radically improving how people manage their work conversations, tasks and email.

Most recently, we sat down to plan our product developments for the next 3 months, and we’d love to share them with you. But first, a quarterly review of what we got done in the last couple months:

  • Android push notifications 2.0 – as Android recently made some changes to how push notifications work, we had to make some changes to make sure our push notifications work in a reliable way.
  • Storage limit – we have started calculating how much storage the files you’ve uploaded use up (but we do not enforce any limit just yet).

That’s it?! Well, yes. It was a short 2-month “quarter” (as we switched our quarterly plannings around a bit) and most of our engineering time actually went into making underlying architectural changes in preparation for Tasks feature improvements and My Tasks. Also, one of the 2 months included vacations for all of our team members.

But what do we have planned next? Here are our plans for the next 3 months (Sept, Oct, Nov), that is Q4 of 2017:

  • Tasks API 2.0 & Event Stream API – we’re almost done with the behind-the-scenes improvements to Fleep Tasks, along with some architectural updates to the message flow. We will start testing these in the coming weeks, but even when we release this to live – if all goes well, you will not notice any significant changes. As our CTO said, it’s never a good time to rewrite major parts of your architectural code… But it is necessary once in a while.
  • My Tasks – as soon as we’re done with the new Tasks API, we’ll start working on a view where you’ll be able to see all tasks assigned to you.
  • Other Tasks improvements – Private tasks, Column view, Tasks notifications… You have no idea how great our Tasks will be.
  • Reactions – YES! While reactions were neglected for a while, they’re back in the plans now.
  • Fleep for Business – while the public launch of Business is literally around the corner, we’re going to continue adding some functionality to the subscription. These improvements will make admin controlled conversations and teams even more powerful.
  • Storage limit 2.o – we are taking the next step in storage usage calculation, and now working to calculate used storage based on files accessible to the user.
  • Stats server setup – we’re building our own statistics system, to get better and more reliable insights into how our people use Fleep. This will make it even easier to make Fleep better for you!

We hope you like the direction we’re going in. If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to contact us at support@fleep.io. Let’s also stay in touch through our social media channels. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

5 Communication Tips for Successfully Managing Virtual Teams

managing virtual teams

Working remotely is an employment choice brimming with positives for both the employee and employer. It can noticeably cut down on business expenses by removing the need to pay for office space, it enables us to pool talent from all over the world and it gives us the opportunity to manage our working timetable, within reason, so that childcare, housework and other responsibilities no longer make our lives difficult.

Move towards remote employment

Statistics reflect a general global shift towards remote employment. According to West UC, 1.75 billion people over the world (that’s more than 40% of the globe’s employed workforce) will be working remotely by the end of this decade. One can only begin to imagine what the working world might look like by 2050. There is evidence that working at home boosts productivity. But even so, the virtual workspace is not all cupcakes and party streamers. Managing a team of remote workers can be a particularly challenging role and one that takes some getting used to.

Virtual managers may find the responsibilities of remote project management quite stressful if they’ve not been sufficiently trained to get the best out of their online team. Trying to pull all the people together virtually can be a challenge in itself. The good news is that there are a number of procedures and solutions that can help us become effective virtual managers, most of which are easy to implement and offer relatively speedy results.

1. Stay connected and offer real support

Staying connected and getting to know your team will also help you to gauge when certain members need more support. Not all employees speak up when they’re feeling unsure, unhappy, undervalued, or just plain overwhelmed. As managers, if we’re in constant contact with our members of staff, we’ll be able to pick up on any problem areas before they get out of hand and we end up losing a valuable member of the team to another company.

Also, as a manager, part of our job is to find solutions. There are tools that help manage distributed teams, but team culture is just as important. If our team knows how to contact us and receives relatively timely responses to all needs and concerns, we build a reputation as someone who can be relied on; a golden quality in a manager and one that most employees would be loathe to lose.

2. Choose your communication style wisely

Communication in a remote team is especially important. Conversations that relate to contractual changes, pay or promotions are best not handled via email, for example. As managers, it’s foolish to think that remote employees don’t deserve the opportunity to look us in the eye when discussing certain matters, particularly as there are so many ways in which we can choose to communicate.

There are team chat tools, video calls or even short recorded videos. When providing professional training or implementing a new process, for example, a video might actually be a much more effective way of engaging and communicating with our team, as opposed to a long, convoluted email.

3. Make an effort to understand cultural differences

One of the great advantages to managing remote teams is cultural diversity. If we’re managing a global startup and we want to reach a range of consumers worldwide, our global team can offer essential (and free) insight into the detailed intricacies of each market. At the same time, however, we are challenged as managers, because we must adapt to account for cultural differences within the workforce.

What might seem like acceptable manager behavior in one country, could actually be perceived as quite offensive in another. We need to research, ask questions and follow through with regular staff evaluations in the early stages to get a real grasp of what it means to work with each member of our team, whether they might be from Japan, India, Argentina, Italy or the U.S.

4. Choose your management tools and then actually use them

There’s nothing that can make the administrative side of our jobs easier than the correct selection of communication and management tools. Scheduling tools, audio and video calling, time tracking tools, chat for teams, screensharing, payroll systems and shared document folders and so much more.

We cannot manage the work of others remotely without having the right resources to hand. It’s also vital that, once we have these tools in place, we train our staff to make proper use of them. We must also remain a stickler for the rules by encouraging them to follow company protocol and communicate via the channels made available.

managing virtual team

5. Make time for professional reviews and rewards

A remote team still needs to be motivated and remember, not everyone is motivated by money. Indeed, when professionals choose to make the move to remote employment, many of them are happy to take a pay cut if it means they can have more control over their working day. There are so many ways in which you can reward your team, above and beyond a pay rise or monthly bonus.

Consider the idea of providing all your employees with the cash needed to invest in a decent laptop, offer to install programs for free on their computers, reward with more vacation time (either paid or unpaid) and give them a valuable contract with job security, decent healthcare and the chance to invest in a private pension. Whatever kind of reward you’re able to offer, the most important thing is to schedule regular (at least quarterly) professional reviews to give employees the chance to raise concerns and to give you the chance to tell them how fantastic they are. Everyone thrives on praise, so make time for it.

Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny’s previous experience in business has allowed her to specialize in the sector, although she also enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, leadership and new technology.

Chat for teams

4 Valuable Tips for Holding Successful Team Meetings

holding successful team meetings

Team meetings should be effective collaborative sessions filled with energy and enthusiasm. A team meeting room is a place where members gather around to make decisions and solve problems through creative discussion. Then again, they can be those times during the week when everyone is dying of boredom.

If your meetings are a part of this second group, that means that they are probably too long in duration and too exhaustive. This can result in a mental and an emotional exhaustion of your team, which leads to frustration. Here are some tips for holding successful team meetings.

Don’t be Afraid – You’re the Boss

Managers and team leaders are afraid of team meetings. They believe that the rest of the members hate the them or that they are getting bored. Because of that, they start looking at meetings in such a way themselves.

If you want to achieve significant results, to solve your employees problems and keep them informed, inspired and motivated, you must communicate more often and make them understand what you have to say. Do not remain in the secluded area of your office, just sending out emails. You are the one who makes sure there is effective communication in a team. Confront them with a clear purpose in all your authority.

Look Before You Leap

Although everyone knows how important it is to prepare an agenda, many team leaders hold meetings without it. But if one does not plan their agenda, you will not be focused and able to see what are the priority topics for the meeting are. The preparation may be boring or useless at times, but it is very important for everyone to be on the same page.

You can also invite team members to contribute to agenda items, just ask for their ideas via your team chat a couple of days before the actual meeting, so they could prepare without time pressure. But you should never ask your assistant or some other team member to make the agenda instead of you. You are the leader, and in order to make the meeting important for others first you have to make clear it’s important to you.

team chat

Let Everyone Play the Game

There are a lot of different activities to to choose from when it comes to freshening up your meetings. Such is the roundtable learning strategy, in which team members teach each other new something new. You can also try to change the locations of the meetings, bring an interesting board game, switch chairs – experiment with everything to break the monotony. But remember, you must get everyone involved.

The best way to gather up the whole team is certainly brainstorming. Meetings are never just about sharing information. You should always try to solve the problem by working with the group on the spot and coming to a mutual decision. Every discussion should be tied to your broader strategic goals. The best way to accomplish that is to run through all of these goals at the beginning of the meetings, otherwise people might get lost in the brainstorming process. The most common and most functional glass white boards method is a guarantee that all of your team members will always have a bigger picture in front of them.

Good Leader, Bad Leader

Although you have to be friendly and in a good mood during the meetings, you cannot let yourself go completely and be a buddy with your team members. You have to keep the standards high by not allowing off-color jokes, cynicism, sarcasm, picking on team members, other departments or management.

On the other hand, do not show your authority too much and never abuse the power you have. People are not supposed to be afraid of you, they have to love and respect you and, above all, to trust you. Think about what are the must-have skills to be good at management. It is important to build a discipline and run the meetings that people will motivate your team members and push their initiatives further.

tony solomon

Tony Solomon
is an an editor and a writer with several years of experience in creating web content. He currently writes for Media Gurus.

Chat for teams

Fleep User Story: ESTCube-2

Fleep User Stories is a series of blogposts that highlights the cool people, teams and companies that use Fleep in their daily business.

Fleep user story

ESTCube-2 is an Estonian space technology demonstration mission to test a “plasma brake” for deorbiting satellites and to test electric sail propulsion technology.

The people behind the mission are mostly students who are united by the shared passion of space exploration. And there’s many of them!

When the first Estonian satellite ESTCube-1 united more than 100 students, ESTCube-2 satellite has already brought together about 200 students from many different fields of study. And they collaborate on Fleep!

We spoke to Kadri from the ESTCube-2 team about how and why they use Fleep for their project communication. So, here’s the ESTCube-2 Fleep user story!

How did you find out about Fleep?

We were using Skype as our main communications tool prior to Fleep. As Skype lacked quite a few necessary features, we decided to move away from it and adopt something else. Specifically, Skype lacked consistent conversation history with search functionality and an Atlassian JIRA integration.

project communication

What are you using Fleep for?

We are using Fleep for teamwork. It’s a comfortable tool for quick interaction between team members who are far away from each other. It is easy to create conversations around specific topics for discussion. During the ESTCube-1 satellite project, we mainly used Skype chats for different teams. While we also considered IRC, Slack and HipChat, we eventually chose Fleep because of its live support.

How do you use Fleep?

We have a dedicated chat with links to all of our Fleep conversations. So anyone can use the conversation links posted in the chat to join the conversations relevant to them. In addition to each team having their own conversation, we have the following common chatrooms: General, IT Services, Social Events, Random. Occasionally, 1:1 conversations are created to share links, code snippets or any other personal messages.


What do you like about Fleep?

I like the fact that Fleep has mobile, web browser and desktop applications (including Windows, macOS, Linux). This means that I can be connected and receive information on the go, or even when I do not have any personal smart devices with me (using someone else’s computer, for example).

Pinned messages and file sharing are also a very convenient features. Not to mention the possibility of creating conversations around different topics to discuss specific agendas.

Fleep maintains a long-term chat history with a search function that works wonderfully. This is perfect for finding that specific link that was shared last year.

What are your Fleep tips?

We use a channel list approach, so all the different conversations our team members might be interested in are located in one specific conversation and no other messages are posted in that chat. This means that people can join and leave conversations freely, and choose which ones they wish to participate in. Having all of our team members in one conversation also means that they are easily discoverable for getting in touch and creating new conversations.

Who would you recommend Fleep to?

Fleep is extremely handy and useful for distributed teams. We work in different countries and continents, and don’t lose touch with each other while focusing on various challenges.

Yay, thanks for sharing the ESTCube-2 Fleep User Story! You can find all featured user stories under the Fleep User Stories category. Make sure you also follow Fleep on Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye on our news and updates!

Chat for teams

Fleep for Linux is here!

Fleep for Linux

We know our Linux users have been waiting for this… So, we’re thrilled to announce the public release of our Linux app! Fleep for Linux brings all the features you find in your browser right to your Linux desktop.

Download and install Fleep for Linux

At the moment, we support the Ubuntu distribution.

To install Fleep for Linux, open up a system terminal and copy and paste the following commands.

  $ curl https://fleep.io/software/linux/fleep.asc | sudo apt-key add -
  $ sudo add-apt-repository -u "deb https://builds.fleep.ee/linux/ `lsb_release -cs` fleep"
  $ sudo apt-get install fleep

To run the app, search your computer for Fleep, then double click the Fleep icon.

Anything else?

This is the first version of our Linux app, so bear with us. Some functionality was out of scope for this version. As such, Sign in with Google, Sign in with Microsoft and Multiple Accounts support are missing for now.

All feedback is welcome (really!). Report all your bugs, request all other distributions, send all the kudos to us at support@fleep.io. You can also share the love on our social media channels – we’re on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.