In this unprecedented reality of COVID-19, many companies have had to instantaneously send their employees home to work remotely. Whether or not your company has a work-from-home structure or not, the stress is real. One of the biggest concerns that employers face is making sure their employees are staying on task and maintaining productivity. On the other hand, employees may feel like they aren't treated with enough trust to get their work done on their own time, without physically being present at their office.
Using digital tools wisely can benefit both companies and their employees, to ensure productivity and company culture is maintained, while giving autonomy to everyone involved. Here are 5 uses of Google Suite tools that I have seen mitigate these concerns. I should preface this by saying that I am NOT sponsored by Google - I just love their products and I've used them for over 8 years.
1. Google Hangouts - make a team thread (or two or three!)
Providing a medium to keep employees engaged with each other is a must! Chats can allow people to receive immediate feedback on questions and is often much faster and more streamlined than an email thread. It's up to your team's discretion if you use the chat for work only, or if you'll be comfortable with side conversations, too. I'm always a proponent of humor and fun in the workplace!
2. Google Meets - faster than face-to-face!
The business version of Google Hangouts provides a handy-dandy Google Meets button that allows you to send a Google Meets link with one click! In my experience, getting a hold of someone and asking a complex question in this way is easier than tracking someone down throughout an office building. If your license doesn't include this button, you could make a Google Meets link and paste it into a Hangouts conversation or an email. These links can be reused, so keep one handy whenever you need to have a quick chat with someone. And of course, there's always the Conferencing option in Google Calendar!
3. Google Sheets - make a project management spreadsheet
If your team doesn't have a project management tool, consider using a Google Sheet to manage your team's projects. It's really easy to create a template. Google even has a resource to help you create one here. This can give you the opportunity to check in on everyone's projects so you can track progress and offer support.
4. Google Forms - reflection forms
Another way to track progress is by having people fill out a reflection form for the day. You can ask questions like:
5. Giphy Bot - the life of the party
While you're using Google Hangouts, might as well add the Giphy Bot to your team thread! It adds gifs right into the chat, and all you need to do is type @Giphy before typing a word. So, if you wanted to see a gif about grumpy cat, you can type in @Giphy grumpy cat followed by the ENTER key and Giphy will bring up a gif about grumpy cat. You can cycle through gifs in the interface of the gif. While Giphy doesn't have everything you search for, it never disappoints!
There are of course hundreds of other ways to use Google Suite tools to keep a team engaged. What are your best practices that work to keep your team connected while working remotely? Tell us below!