Since Pragli is free, you can just sign up and get started with your team if you'd like. Some people understand it best when they poke around (note that Pragli doesn't have a useful "single-player" mode - it needs a whole team of people to be effective).
However, if you want a pitch first, or your teammates want a pitch before they join you, here's what we'd tell you in a demo call.
In this post, I explain the problem Pragli solves and Pragli's core features. I also explain how Pragli handles privacy / intrusiveness.
This is a long post (~5 min) - if you want a shorter version, scroll through our homepage. However, if you read this whole article, you'll have a much better understanding of the product. We definitely recommend it if you're seriously considering trying Pragli.
The two big issues of remote work
Pragli exists because Vivek and I experienced two big problems when working remotely ourselves: communication friction and loneliness.
As it turns out, these two problems are also the biggest problems that most remote workers feel. Here's a graphic from Buffer and AngelList's State of Remote Work 2020.
Let's look at how Pragli solves these two main issues.
Pragli reduces communication friction
Pragli helps reduce communication friction by solving the Slack / Teams "back-and-forth" problem.
You've probably experienced it before.
- You message someone
- After 2 minutes, they get back to you
- You ask for clarification
- They reply
Before you know it, 15 minutes have gone by typing away to figure something out that could've been done in person in 2 minutes. 50+ messages later, you decide to schedule a time to talk it out for the next day. You context switch onto some other work in the interim.
This is a communication disaster.
Instead, in Pragli, you can see if someone's available and, if so, immediately talk it out.
Individuals users have the power to configure whether or not they show availability by choosing whether to open or close their door.
When the door is open, Pragli provides donuts to automatically show presence. Donuts get thinner when teammates haven't interacted with their computer via keyboard/mouse interaction for a while. It marks you as idle after 10 minutes of inactivity.
When the door is closed, Pragli does not show presence.
Note that opening / closing the door also has communication implications - see below.
Second, Pragli has quick, manual status updates.
Third, Pragli integrates with your calendar(s) to automatically show your availability.
Once you know that someone is available, Pragli provides rooms for speaking with teammates.
Think of rooms like virtual conference rooms or private offices. You can make channels like #team-infra, #stand-up, #water-cooler, or #office-doug.
You can also make a temporary room by just clicking on someone who's showing availability.
If their door is open, you'll immediately be able to speak to them, like a walkie-talkie. To protect their privacy, they will join with audio and video off by default.
If their door is closed, you will instead send them a "request," which will ring them (like a phone call). They will need to accept this, and then the two of you will be placed into a temporary room.
Pragli helps teammates build closeness / culture and feel less lonely
People who work remotely get lonely. When Vivek and I did our initial survey, we found that the remote software engineers on average have less than one unscheduled audio/video conversation with teammates per week. Compare that to the number of conversations you'd have in a day in an office!
Pragli helps remote teammates build closeness in four main ways.
First, via expressive avatars. Avatars give teammates a way of expressing themselves, building a sense of presence and camaraderie. We've heard many times from managers that normally reserved, distant teammates create awesome, unique avatars to display themselves to their team. Avatars allow teammates to present their best, most quirky selves.
Second, by encouraging audio & video communication. By speaking rather than typing, teammates naturally build closeness. Typing is impersonal and leaves room for ambiguity. Speaking is higher fidelity and more personal.
Third, with spaces for remote teammates to have non-work fun. This includes via dedicated channels like the #water-cooler, as well as via our built-in trivia game.
Fourth, with fun celebrations in-app so that your team can celebrate success.
Privacy / intrusiveness
The biggest pushback we get from people considering Pragli is they are scared of intrusiveness. However, once we explain how we protect against intrusion, people tend to get a lot more comfortable. Here's what we provide and how you can configure Pragli to match your level of comfort.
Open door vs closed door
If you're not comfortable with presence detection or walkie-talkie style communication, you can still hangout with your team with maximum privacy by closing your door. When you door is closed, Pragli does not detect presence, and anyone who wants to reach you will need to request you (like a phone call).
Open door: join / pull defaults
If you'd prefer to leave your door open, one of the key things to understand in Pragli is the idea of join and pull defaults. These are the default states of your audio and video when intentionally choosing to join a conversation / channel vs when someone pulls you into a conversation / channel.
Pull - by default, when someone starts a conversation with you, or pulls you into a channel, your audio is off and your video is off. This is to protect your privacy.
Join - by default, when you start a conversation with someone or click to join a channel, your audio is on and your video is off.
Here's what starting a conversation looks like by default:
Both can be configured under preferences.
Both manual and automatic (calendar) statuses can be used to prevent people from starting conversations with you manually. For example, if you want to focus for 2 hours without interruption, you can set a manual status with either "warn" or "block" behavior.
Here's how to configure a manual status:
Here's how to configure a calendar:
Here's what happens when someone tries to "pull" you while you have a "warn" status:
Here's what happens when someone tries to "pull" you while you have a "block" status:
Let's say you work in HR, and need to have a very private conversation with a teammate. You don't want anyone to drop in.
Rooms can be locked to prevent drop ins. Instead, teammates will have to knock to get in.
Here's what locking a room and receiving a knock looks like:
Also, Pragli is free! Pragli will be entirely free until at least June 1, and we plan to have a free offering forever. Sign up and try it out with your team here.