The COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world, has forced many organizations across the globe to consider how best to keep their employees connected when they cant be in the same location. This is a major issue many businesses and employees are facing, as such, With the power of G Suite here are some best practices for fostering collaboration with your colleagues while working from home.
Set up your team for remote work
Working from home can prove to quite a challenge, thus make sure your team has the right tools and processes set up before they transition from working at the office to working from home. Once they’re set up, here are a few extra steps you can take in advance:
1. Create a team alias to easily stay in touch.
An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions.
2. Continue Real-time Conversations with Coworkers
While working from home employees can leverage on Google Hangouts Chat to continue conversing with other colleagues in real-time. Before, employees were required to work to a colleague’s desk for a quick conversation, but Hangouts Chat will help you get someone’s attention quickly. It also allows you to create Group Chats for small group communications as well as virtual rooms for team projects that require ongoing, long-term chats. Learn how to get started with Chat here.
3. Schedule meetings now
so you can stay in contact later. Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time, and attach relevant docs to the invite. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone is familiar with video conferencing.
4. Hold daily meetings
Working at home can be isolating for some, and video conferencing via Hangouts meets which can support a maximum of 250 people is a great way to keep people engaged. Try to be visible on camera when appropriate, present relevant content, and ask questions to spark conversations. When time zones prevent everyone from joining a meeting, record it—after making sure that participants feel comfortable being recorded!
5. Maximize Document Collaboration in Real-Time.
Google Drive and the Docs, Sheets and Slides apps make collaborating on documents, spreadsheets and presentations easy. Team members can edit files simultaneously with other colleagues and view those edits in real-time, with the peace of mind that changes are saved automatically so no one misses an update. Embrace the comment function to “plus” your colleagues into content to make them aware of it, as well as assign tasks and request approvals. Also, team members can leverage on Google Sheets to create a project plan where they can provide updates, change deadlines, and add tasks in a centralized document so everyone stays up-to-date on initiatives and can track progress.
6. Share goals and updates regularly.
Whether it’s through a chat group or in a shared document that everyone updates, a record of what’s being accomplished is a great way to feel connected, keep everyone up to date, and follow-up on action items. You can also set up an internal site to consolidate important information and resources into a central hub for your team, or to share information with your organization more broadly.
7. Continue to practice good workplace etiquette.
Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. Check calendars before scheduling meetings, and when you reach out via chat, start by asking if it’s a good time to talk. You can also proactively inform your co-workers of your own availability by setting up working hours in Calendar. That way, if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification.
8 Leveraging Virtual Whiteboard Capabilities
Most organizations are used to whiteboards during planning and brainstorming, But with G Suite, your team members can take advantage of Google Jamboard, a collaboration tool with virtual whiteboard capabilities that can increase productivity during video meetings.
In an office environment, Jamboard is most often used with its associated 55-inch digital whiteboard device, but the good news is, remote workers can leverage the same collaboration software via the Jamboard app on a tablet or phone.
That’s it. You are all set!