Start Screen Shares Directly From Slack Using Screenleap’s New Slack Integration

Slack is a popular tool that lets you chat with your team. If you use Slack, you’ll be excited to learn that our new integration will make Slack even more useful by allowing your team members to start a screen share directly from within Slack by simply typing “/leap” into any Slack channel.

How It Works

Slack offers a number of commands that you can type into the input box to enable additional functionality. Our integration adds a “/leap” command that you can use to start a screen share directly from within Slack.

You can configure the command by adding additional keywords after the command. Our “/leap” command supports the following keywords:

  • /leap – Share your browser window to a private URL.
  • /leap screen – Share your entire screen to a private URL.
  • /leap broadcast browser – Share your browser window to your personal URL.
  • /leap broadcast screen – Share your entire screen to your personal URL.

You’ll need to use the Chrome web browser in order to share your screen, but your screen share is viewable by anyone using a device with a web browser, including smartphones and tablets.

Once your screen is shared, the share link will be automatically inserted into your current Slack channel. Your team members will be able to view your screen by simply clicking on the share link.


We have submitted our integration to Slack for inclusion in their list of integrations. Until the integration is officially available on Slack, the administrator for your Slack account will need to configure the integration manually in order to enable it for your team. You can create a custom Slack command by doing the following:

  1. Sign into your Slack account.
  2. Go to your integrations page at Slack ( and scroll down to the “DIY Integrations & Customizations” section at the bottom of the page.
  3. Click on the “View” button for “Slash Commands”.
  4. Enter /leap for the command name and click the “Add Slash Command Integration” button.
  5. Enter for the URL.
  6. Select POST for the method.
  7. Check the “Show this command in the autocomplete list” checkbox, enter Share your screen with team members for the description, and enter [broadcast] [browser/screen] for the usage hint.
  8. Enter Screenleap Integration for the descriptive label
  9. Click the “Save Integration” button.


That’s it! Now everyone on your team will be able to use the “/leap” command to start a new screen share.


The first time you use the Screenleap slash command, you’ll be shown a link that you can click on to install the Screenleap browser share extension (if it’s not already installed).


Click on the link to 1) install the browser extension and 2) create a new account (it’s free!) or sign into your existing Screenleap account. The Free Account gives you 1 hour of free sharing per day (2 hours for people in education). Your screen share will automatically start after the installation completes.


As part of the installation, a green screen icon will be added to your Chrome address bar. When you’re ready to stop your screen share, simply click on the green screen and then click on the “Stop sharing” button.

Get In Touch

We hope you enjoy the new Slack integration. If you have any questions about the integration or want to learn more about Screenleap, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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Remote Work Tips – Interview with Len Markidan from Groove

We are big believers in distributed teams at Screenleap. In our previous posts, we wrote about the lessons we learned and the tools we use to stay connected and productive. To gain more insights about how successful remote companies work, we’re launching a series of interviews which is focused on

  • learning how successful remote workers do their jobs (working styles, tools)
  • how distributed teams build their companies (tools, culture)

This is the first interview of the series.

Remote Work Tips - Interview with Len Markidan from GrooveLen Markidan heads up marketing at Groove, where he focuses on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers. Groove’s entire team works remotely.

In this interview, he elaborates on his remote working style and how Groove’s distributed team works together.


Hi Len, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the Head of Marketing for Groove, where we work on building the best customer service tools for small businesses. Our whole team is remote: I work from my home office in Baltimore, Maryland.

I also write about home office productivity, work/life balance, and happiness on my blog Home Office Hero.

How long have you been working remotely? Why did you choose to work remotely?

For around five years now. In 2010 I was living in San Francisco, doing marketing for a startup, and taking the bus downtown every day to our office on the 19th floor of a soulless corporate skyscraper. I loved the work, but hated the commute. When the company got acquired and I decided to start my own business, working from home was an easy choice.

How does your typical day look like?

I wake up at around 6am and make coffee while my wife gets ready to leave (she just went back to school to study medicine). She heads out at around 7, and that’s when I tackle my biggest task of the day—usually that’s a blog post or other big content piece. It’s still early enough that I don’t get interrupted by emails or Slack notifications. I’ll typically work through lunch, eating at my desk. Because I start early, I typically run out of creative steam around mid-afternoon, so I take a gym break then before coming back and dealing with more mindless administrative stuff like responding to emails and getting things in order for the next day.

I try not to work past 6pm or so, but I’m far from perfect. We have dinner around then, and then I’ll either read or mindlessly goof off on the Internet, depending on how much impulse control I have that day. I like to take a walk before bed, an awesome head-clearing habit I started doing after reading Joel Gascoigne’s post about it.

What apps do you use? What apps can’t you live without?

For work, I spend the overwhelming majority of my time in just four apps: Google Docs for writing and editing, Slack for chatting with the Groove team, Trello for managing projects and to-do’s, and Mailplane for easy switching between my various Gmail accounts. For non-work stuff, I love Headspace for guided meditation and Simplenote for not having to rely on my less-than-stellar memory.

How does Groove’s team overcome the collaboration challenge (like explaining complex concepts or issues such as the steps for reproducing a bug) while working remotely?

As more and more teams have started to work remotely and more and more tools have been developed for them, that challenge has really diminished. There’s very little that you can’t explain or convey to a remote coworker. Screen-sharing apps (like Screenleap) make that really easy.

What is the biggest benefit of working remotely? What’s the biggest challenge?

The biggest benefit for me is flexibility. I get to work the hours that I’m most productive, I don’t have to waste time commuting and I can work from anywhere I’d like to.

The biggest benefit for our team is recruiting. We can hire the best talent, regardless of where they are

Today, the biggest challenge remote work presents is no longer collaboration or communication, but culture. Being in one place together helps culture develop naturally through the connections and conversations you have day in and day out. You have to work hard to recreate that dynamic online.

So how does Groove develop a culture when everyone is remote?

The most important thing that we do to develop culture is try to replace the social element of a physical office with a “virtual water cooler.”

For us, that virtual water cooler is a room in Slack that’s reserved for non-work-related conversations. There’s a lot of back-and-forth banter, folks post photos of their pets, the music they’re listening to, random links from the Internet—things like that.

Every week, we also have a team poker tournament on We take an hour off and do a group call on Skype while we play poker. It’s an awesome way to be social and get to know each other while having fun. And of course, there are prizes for winners :)

That’s interesting. How do you think it will scale as the company gets bigger?

It’s challenging to keep culture intact as you grow, but that’s why it’s so important for us to spend time investing in building a strong cultural foundation now.

When the culture becomes deeply ingrained across a small team, it’s easier for each member of that small early team to help keep the culture alive as the company expands.

We also take cultural really seriously when we hire. And that must continue, whether you’re hiring employee number 10, 100 or 1,000.

That’s great, Len. Coming back to your working style, how do you minimize distractions while working from home?

The most important thing for me is to take my own willpower (or lack of it) completely out of the equation. I use StayFocusd, a Chrome extension that blocks any site I tell it to (e.g., Facebook, etc…) during the hours I want to be working. It’s amazing how much more productive this tool makes me.

Any advice you would give to others who are considering working remotely?

Make sure that you’re self-aware enough to know your shortcomings, and put systems in place to overcome them. If you know that you’re easily distracted, remove the distractions. If you know that you have trouble separating work and life and tend to work long hours if left unchecked, set “off-limits” times for your office and tell whoever you live with to keep you accountable for sticking to them.

Oh, and put on some pants.

That’s a great suggestion :D. We would love to see your remote work setup. Could you share it with us?

Sure, here’s my desk, along with my officemate Zoe:

Remote Work Tips - Interview with Len Markidan from Groove

Awesome :). If there were one thing you could change about current remote work scenario, what would you change?

I’m lucky that I’ve been able to pretty much build my work life as I want it to be, so there isn’t anything I can think of that I’d change. With that said, an espresso machine mounted behind my desk would be nice.

And the last question: What app for remote work you’d love to have but doesn’t exist?

I’d pay any amount of money for an app that blasted Nickelback (at an uncomfortably high volume) at Comcast HQ every time the Internet at my house goes down. I suspect connectivity would start looking a bit better around here fast.

It was awesome talking to you, Len. Thank you so much for all the remote work tips and your time. We really appreciate it!

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6 Tools that Screenleap’s Distributed Team Uses to Stay Connected and Productive

At Screenleap, we have a distributed team that is spread across three continents (North America, Europe, and Asia). While we love the benefits of working in a distributed team, it isn’t without its challenges—the biggest of which is being able to communicate effectively. In an office, it’s really easy to walk over to team members to ask questions and get everyone together for discussions. It is more challenging to do the same, however, when your team members are spread around the world across different time zones.

We have come to rely on a number of online tools to help us overcome the challenges of working in a distributed team. Below we highlight our favorite tools that help us to stay connected and productive.

SlackOur Virtual Office

Slack is our virtual office. We use Slack to have discussions, brainstorm ideas, share files, and keep everyone on the same page.

You can organize your discussions in Slack using channels. Messages posted to a channel are viewable and searchable by all channel members. In addition to the public channels that you can create, each team member also has a personal channel that can be used for private one-on-one conversations.

Screenleap Slack Channels Time Zone Friendly

What we love about Slack is that is has all its little touches that help a distributed team to be more productive. We work in different time zones so it’s important to keep track of everyone’s time zone, and this is where Slack helps. Slack automatically shows you the local time for each of your team members so you don’t have to manually calculate it yourself. This makes it really easy to figure out if team members are likely to be available when they are not currently online on Slack.

Screenleap Communication Slack - Time zones


Slack supports a large number of integrations. Some integrations allow you to pull in updates from the other tools that you use. We use Slack’s integrations to pull the following information from our other tools:

  • Task updates from Trello (our project management tool)
  • Mentions and updates from Twitter
  • Issues and comments from GitHub (our code repository)

Other Slack integrations allow you to add additional functionality. For example, allows you to start video chats from Slack. We will be adding a Screenleap integration soon that will allow you to start screen shares directly from Slack. Stay tuned for more details!

Screenleap – Hassle-Free Screen Sharing

Screenleap is a screen-sharing tool that we built. We use it internally to streamline the onboarding of new team members, explain complex ideas (such as reproduction of steps for bugs), and demo features for our users.

We find Screenleap to be invaluable when onboarding new team members remotely. It is much easier to teach a team member how to use a new tool by sharing your screen with them and giving them a quick demo than by trying to explain it to them over the phone or using chat.

A lot of times text chats and even video calls become ineffective when explaining something complex, such as the steps for reproducing a bug. Screenleap is our go-to tool in such scenarios. Explaining complex processes becomes easy when you can see someone’s screen so you can guide them step-by-step through it.

Screen Sharing using Screenleap

The biggest advantage of using Screenleap is that your viewers do not have to install anything in order to view your screen. They just have to paste the share code or the link that you send to them, and they can see your screen.

Trello – Task and Project Management

Trello is a simple yet a powerful tool that we use to manage our projects. Trello allows you to organize your tasks into boards and lists. You can set up different boards for each department and create private boards for tracking your own tasks. 

Like other project management tools, Trello allows you to add standard information to your tasks, such as team members, due dates, checklists, and attachments.

How Screenleap's distributed team uses Trello

Its polished and responsive drag-and-drop interface is what sets Trello apart from the other project management tools. The interface makes it easy to create workflows and manage tasks that need to go through multiple stages (such as hiring or fundraising). With Trello, updating a task doesn’t seem like a chore.

Google Docs – Document Collaboration

We use Google Docs when we need to collaborate on writing anything, from blog articles to contracts. Google Docs allows you to easily invite other people to view your documents, provide feedback, and even make changes directly to them.

Screenleap--Google DocsYou can check who made which changes and keep track of all the changes. You can even revert to a previous version if you need to.

Streak – CRM and Support

Streak is a CRM tool built on top of Gmail. While Streak is marketed as a CRM tool, you can use it for a bunch of other things as well. We use Streak to provide better support, to manage our hiring pipeline, to schedule demos, and to track potential customers.

Streak has a feature called snippets that we use extensively when we’re providing support. Snippets are email templates that can be inserted into emails. We create snippets for our most common support questions and are religious about creating new snippets when we encounter a support question that we have not seen before and refining existing ones to make them clearer.

Screenleap--Usage of Streak for CRM

We use Streak’s pipeline feature to manage our hiring. The nice thing about using Streak is that it organizes all our discussions with a candidate together so that all relevant information about a candidate is easily accessible (including email, resumes, and comments). Candidates in our hiring pipeline start out at the “Resume” stage and progress through other stages that include “Scheduling Calls”, “Interview”, “Hired”, “Passed”, and “Lost”.

We use Streak’s API to integrate our sign-up system with Gmail. If you request a demo when signing up for a Screenleap account, Streak will automatically create a box for you in our “Demo Requests” pipeline in our Gmail support inbox. Your name will show up at the top of our support box until after we have contacted you and changed your stage to “Contacted”.

Streak does too many other things to list completely. Needless to say, we are pretty big fans!

Dropbox – File Sharing

We use Dropbox to store our company documents. It synchronizes all the files in our shared folder across all of our computers. Dropbox ensures that we always have access to the latest files no matter what computer we are on. Dropbox also removes the problem of forgetting to copy the document you are working on from your work computer to your home computer and not being able to work on the document because of it.

You can add team members, share folders and files with team members, or create a simple link to share a particular file or folder for collaboration.

Screenleap--Dropbox File Sharing

What are your must-have tools?

Having the right online tools is essential to collaborating effectively with a distributed team. They help us to communicate, stay organized, and move the company forward.  I hope this post has given you some insights into the various communication and collaboration tools that we use with our team. We would love to hear more about what tools you find to be most useful for your team.

Share your favorites in the comments!

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6 Tips for Working Remotely That I Wish I Knew When I Started

It has been almost a year since I started working remotely. I started out as a freelancer and currently work at Screenleap, which has a mostly distributed team.

Before I jumped into remote work, I had no idea what it would be like. I just dove in and started doing it full time. Unfortunately, reality hit me in less than a month: the transition from working in an office to working remotely wasn’t as smooth as I expected. Some aspects of remote working that I was really excited about (like not having to commute to the office and being able to choose when I worked) made me feel good, but the unexpected negatives were wearing on me.

I found that I was less productive working remotely than when I was in the office. This is despite the fact that I was saving time from not having to commute. I’d often procrastinate and get distracted. When a deadline approached, I would rush to get the work done. Not only did the quantity of work that I produced decrease, but the quality suffered as well.

I wasn’t going in the right direction, and I was frustrated. I took a break from my work and tried to figure out if there were things that I could be doing to be more productive working remotely. I went through how successful remote workers from companies like Buffer, Automattic, GitHub, and Basecamp work. I noticed common practices that successful remote workers shared and I started working them into my own practice.

Below are six tips about remote working that I learned and wished that I had known when I was getting started. Maybe you can relate to some of them?

Test the waters and build up the necessary skills before committing full time

When you’re working remotely, you’re your own boss.

Even though you’ll still have someone that you report to, you are ultimately responsible for getting the work done and in a timely manner. There is no one around to make sure that you are working or to check that you are on track.

If you need someone to watch over you or to push you to get your work done, you should probably test the waters with a few projects before committing to it full time. Starting with a few projects will also allow you time to learn how to pick up the necessary skills to work effectively remotely and to adapt to your new work environment.

As our CEO Tuyen aptly puts it:

“Working remotely is a skill that, like every other skill, takes practice and time to learn to do effectively.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Create a dedicated workspace

I used to work from everywhere around the house. This went well for first couple of weeks. But soon I noticed its disadvantages:

  • I often write notes and other important things either in my notebook, on stickies, and on whatever I find lying around the house. As a result, I frequently lost track of important notes as they were distributed all over the place.
  • I had hard time handling the distractions that came from other people in the house. It wasn’t their fault though. I didn’t specifically set boundaries and let them know when I was working and when I wasn’t.

I learned that it is really important to create a dedicated space to be used exclusively for your work. The aim is to

  1. keep your work and personal stuff separate
  2. let others (spouse, kids, parents, pets…) know that you’re working so that you aren’t disturbed.

Stick to a schedule

Belle Beth Cooper, a longtime remote worker, explains neatly about creating schedules for remote work. She writes:

What time do you work best?

Depending on your natural body clock, you may work well at 2am, 6pm, or 9am. You might have a natural dip in energy in the early afternoon (many of us do), or you might find your energy tanks after dinner (mine does).

Everyone’s body clock is different, but most of us fall into one of three categories, known as chronotypes:

Morning larks: Also known as early birds, these people prefer to get up early and go to bed early. New Scientist reports about 10% of people fit into this category.

Night owls: At the other extreme, these people like to sleep in and go to bed late, usually after midnight. Around 20% of us are night owls.

In-between: The rest of us (the vast majority) fit somewhere in-between these two ends of the spectrum.

I’ve found that when I work in 2 hours slots (i.e. 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm, 6pm-8pm, and 9pm-11pm), I can manage my energy better and I’m more productive. I do my creative work during the slots when I have the most energy.

Experiment and choose the time of the day when you tend to have the most energy (according to your body clock) to maximise your productivity. This might not be feasible depending upon the type of remote work that you are doing, but it has a lot of advantages if your work allows for it.

Take regular breaks

Breaks are really important. By working continuously without any breaks, you’ll start to lose focus and become unproductive. This is especially true when you’re working alone—scheduling breaks in advance can help you a lot.

Decide on lunch time. Take breaks for coffee or for any other small activity like walking the dog. It’s important to step out of the work once in a while.

Design your schedule in such a way that you can work when you’re most energetic and take breaks during your low energy periods.

Learn to communicate effectively using written communication

Since most communication in a remote team happens via text (emails, chat, etc.), it is important to learn how to communicate effectively using written communication. There’s a balance between saying too much and not saying enough.

I used to write things that weren’t necessary because I thought that the extra info might help my clients or coworkers to understand things better. I also used to write things in an ambiguously clever way in failed attempts to make conversations more interesting. But when I started getting replies like “From what I understand, I think you’re trying to say ….” and “Oh, you meant to say… Is that so?” more often, I understood that it wasn’t a good practice. I started applying what I learned about writing content (which by the way, I’m still learning) to my communication with my team:

  • Be clear: Clarity is essential and key to effective communication. Leave no room for ambiguity in your writing. Reiterate what others ask you to do to you to make sure that you understand correctly. Ask clearly what you need from others.
  • Use numbered lists when you are discussing more than one thing at a time. It will be less cluttered, easier to understand, and easier for the other person to reference when responding.

For example, here is a small conversation we recently had on Slack:

Written Communication at Screenleap

Works well, right?

  • Sometimes it’s not easy to explain something using text. It can be helpful to elaborate using screenshots. Or better yet, jump on a quick screen share when you need to explain something. We use Screenleap a lot for this.

Find social outlets to prevent loneliness

Isolation is inevitable part of working remotely. Feeling isolated is not.

Even people who aren’t social need to be around others every so often. To combat loneliness, you can:

  • Join a coworking space.
  • Work from coffee shops.
  • Chat with your coworkers more often. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about work. Most of the remote companies have rooms in Slack or HipChat for water cooler/general conversations. Use them.

Over to you

What advice do you wish you had heard when you first started working remotely?

I’d love to hear your experience and what you’ve found helpful along the way. Please share them in the comments. :)

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