TL; DR: Sneek, developed by Analog Republic, is a hosted platform designed to open the door for friendly and effective communication among remote teammates. The technology allows users to initiate instant meetings, group videos, and take photos of employees throughout the day.
Less than a year ago, remote work was enviable — a hip benefit reserved only for those with the most progressive employers.
Today, the pandemic has pushed working from home into the realm of possibility for even the most conventional businesses. And, according to Gartner, many plan to make it a permanent reality.
“COVID-19 forced companies to let go of their fears and give remote work a go,” said Del Currie, Head of Solutions at Analog Republic. “Now, employees are loving it, and even big corporations are selling their office space.”
Del told us Analog Republic is proud to be a part of this paradigm shift in workplace culture through its hosted communications platform, Sneek. The innovative technology is gaining international attention for its ability to facilitate streamlined communication and foster a sense of human connection.
“Until now, a lot of our customers were similar to us — close-knit agencies or small groups inside larger businesses that had modern work-from-home policies,” he said. “The pandemic introduced us to customers in the business world. Still, we don’t take ourselves too seriously — it’s meant to be a bit of a fun tool in a lot of ways.”
With Sneek, working from home doesn’t have to mean sinking into loneliness and isolation. In fact, employees can see each other all day, initiating instant meetings, group videos, and chats with a single click. There’s even a Wall of Faces feature that displays photos taken of teammates at regular intervals.
In addition to community-building, Sneek is a good choice in terms of the bottom line — packed with features designed to prevent productivity loss. Stay tuned for additional functionality in this domain, including team structures and conference rooms.
Analog Republic: Long-Time Advocates for Remote Work
Analog Republic is a renowned design company that has earned the trust of some well-known clients, including Pearl Jam, Stanford, and RedBull. The company’s multiskilled team boasts experience developing everything from high-traffic sites to APIs centered on the user experience.
As a distributed company with employees spanning the globe, the team is also quite familiar with remote work.
“We decided to be a remote team from the start,” Del said. “At the time, 14 years ago, I was living in California, and Chris, my business partner, lived in Brighton, south of England. After being introduced through a mutual client, we teamed up, hired a couple of guys in the U.S., and all worked remotely.”
Analog Republic maintained that approach as Del moved back to London, and the company continued to grow. The team loved working remotely, especially with the help of Sqwiggle’s hosted video collaboration software. When Sqwiggle folded a few years later, the team knew they needed a similar solution.
“Our team has always been close-knit — we have hired through friends and then friends of friends, so getting together remotely was a bit like having a Zoom hangout on a Friday night,” Del said. “That’s what we liked about Sqwiggle, so we set out to build our own version, Sneek.”
Used internally, Sneek fulfilled the team’s need for streamlined communication and a sense of human connection.
“We loved it and realized other people would probably dig it, too,” Del told us. “So we spun up a beta version, got about 25 companies to sign up, and by 2016, we released it to the public.”
Instant Meetings, Group Video, and Regular Photo Records
Aside from a few social media posts, Analog Republic hasn’t invested heavily in marketing Sneek. As it turns out, the company didn’t need to: Word-of-mouth during the pandemic led to a 300% increase in users.
These microbusinesses use Sneek’s vast feature set (which includes everything from group and instant videos to availability toggles and integrations with platforms like Slack) to host streamlined online communication with each other and the rest of the team.
“The aspect of Sneek that we like the most — where much of the value lies — is in the speed of communication,” Del told us. “Sure, we have loads of technological advances on the video side of things; it’s been incredible watching brilliant products like Zoom succeed (we use it for conference calls and so on). But there’s still that problem where you have to call and wait for someone to answer.”
In a physical office, employees don’t have to waste time listening to a ring tone before engaging in conversation — all they have to do is walk over to someone’s desk and start talking. Sneaks aims to emulate that experience with its visual availability features.
“You can just click on somebody’s picture, and it instantly turns into a video,” Del said. “The beauty of Sneek is you have a picture of them, so you know if they’re at their desk or not and whether you should call them. It’s pretty simple.”
Recoup Productivity Loss, Boost Spirits
In many ways, working remotely boosts productivity naturally — cutting out long commute times and workplace distractions. But if you tally up the time it takes to plan and initiate a conversation online, it’s easy to see how working from home has its downsides.
“You have to message someone in Slack, ask if you can have a quick chat, schedule a time for a call, and then you call them, and they don’t answer,” Del said. “They say, ‘Sorry, just went to go make a cup of coffee.’”
Sneek’s hosted communications platform removes the need for such pleasantries, allowing users to visually assess availability and simply click on a coworkers’ image to start a conversation. That doesn’t mean employees are stripped of their privacy: The system allows users to indicate when they’re too busy to talk or away from their desks.
“In some cases, you don’t want that immediate contact,” Del told us. “Maybe you’re at home, the kids are running around, and you need to be notified first. That’s an option as well.”
In addition to expedited communication, Sneek users also benefit from the ability to connect with coworkers on a meaningful, regular basis. Del said many of us still see our isolation with rose-colored glasses; unfortunately, the feeling rarely lasts.
“If you’re four months into it and you still don’t want to see your workmates, I get that,” he said. “Give it a couple of years, stuck in your spare room, just clicking away. Trust me; you’re going to want that human connection, where you just click on the Sneek window and see everybody there.”
Coming Up: Screen Shots, Admin Controls, Team-Based Features
The developers behind Sneek are hard at work developing new features for the highly relevant platform.
“Now that we’ve had more corporations coming in, there’s a need to communicate in a team structure, almost similar to Slack,” Del said. “We are working on features that allow companies more flexibility across teams.”
Analog Republic also plans to introduce extended conference calling options. “Every team will have a conference room and the ability to accept external conference calls,” he said.