In an age of remote teams and real-time collaboration, flexible tools have become an essential part of teamwork. Teams of all sizes need to work, talk, share files, and schedule meetings at a moment's notice. Google's online collaboration tools can help with all of these tasks and more.
Of course, having the right collaboration tool is only the beginning. You also need to know how to bring out the best in your team. We'll show you how you can better understand how your team works and communicates to optimize productivity and improve team cohesion. It’s easier than you may think.
Google combines its collaboration tools into a single platform called Google Workspace. The workspace includes a wide range of apps including:
These social business apps align directly with current workplace philosophy trends. In fact, 72% of businesses now use these apps to drive collaboration and productivity1. A McKinsey study found that 92% of employees integrate social collaboration platforms into their daily work2.
Google is seeking to set itself apart from competitors with an intuitive and simple interface. It also benefits businesses through integrations with other tools in the larger Google toolbox. Examples include:
The platform is also optimized for other platforms within the larger Google environment. Apps are easy to use on mobile devices, especially Google Pixel. Data from products such as Google Glass and Google Nest pulls into Google Image Charts and other apps.
The idea is simple. A single Google account and email address lets you tap into the entire Google infrastructure. Little wonder this platform is so popular with teams of all sizes in businesses of all kinds.
Keep in mind that Google Workspace is not a project management tool. Its focus is collaboration and communication rather than larger workload management. It also doesn’t integrate with tools such as Google Search Appliance or Google Developer.
Strong internal communication can be a powerful performance and engagement driver. A recent Gallup study found that engaged employees outperform others by 147%.3
The Google app engine looks to optimize that piece of the larger puzzle. Set up your Workspace account and you can optimize apps including:
You'll need three pieces of information to get started:
Select the Business Starter, Business Standard, or Business Plus edition. Choose your business size and walk through the software's quick-start guide for all the steps you'll need. You can always change your business settings by clicking the gear icon when signed into Google Workspace.
Google Calendar can create shared calendars that global teams can access. We love this feature at F4S! You can use these shared calendars for any number of communications:
Google Calendar also helps improve team cohesion. If everyone on the team uses it to mark down their work and meetings, it's easy to see who is available at any given time.
Google Docs allows multiple team members to collaborate on word-based work in real time. It's as easy as clicking 'create document', but you can make the most of it by setting up defined team roles:
Used correctly, Google Sheets is a great collaborative data management tool. After setting up a spreadsheet, it can be tailored for a range of outcomes:
As part of the Google Docs Editors suite, Google Keep helps you jot down simple notes and reminders. It's a great tool to use in meetings and when setting up a Google Doc document isn't worth the effort.
Google Meet is your hub for all things related to direct communication. It enables the following:
In this way, the platform is following a larger trend within Google Inc. whereby legacy apps are being confined to the Google Graveyard and replaced by more comprehensive, all-in-one communication apps such as Google Meet.
When working within Workspace, you're aware of its cloud-based nature at all times. All Google Docs and Spreadsheets you work on are stored remotely, as are Google Calendars and other files. Two apps can directly help with this cloud storage:
Google Cloud is designed for your data, web, and digital engineers. Google Drive's functionality is more common for everyday business use. Depending on your subscription, Google Drive's limits range from 30GB per user to unlimited storage.
Workspace is specifically designed for communication and collaboration. But a few other related apps can help you increase productivity as well:
And, of course, Google Support is always available. You'll get help with moving data from these tools into Workspace apps.
Google Workplace is one of the core subscription services Fingerprint for Success (F4S) uses for collaboration. It's a flexible and effective tool. But even the best collaboration tools, from Google Forms to Google Cloud, only work well with the right soft skills in place.
With so many teams working remotely or in a hybrid capacity, soft skills are more important than ever. McKinsey found that companies asking for interpersonal skills as part of job listings doubled in 20204. Leadership and management skill requirements jumped by 10%.
Understanding how to leverage the soft skills within your team can turn a team into a community working toward a common goal. That's where F4S comes in.
The F4S platform is built from decades of evidence-based research developed by a team of behavioral data scientists, coaches, and AI engineers.
The layered technology offers a digital and scalable solution for individuals and teams to better understand themselves and each other, and bring out their best. Already embraced by more than 20,000 organizations including teams from Atlassian, Hubspot, Canva, and KPMG, the cutting-edge technology gives users a suite of tools to scale cohesive, high-performing teams and a culture that motivates employees and improves retention rates.
How does it work? The F4S work-style assessment invites each team member to answer a series of questions that measure the 48 distinct work traits that influence the way a person conveys and processes information. The detailed report that follows guides you how to communicate with individual employees to build happier, more productive teams.
Once you understand each team member’s work-style motivations, blind spots and communications preferences, F4S provides personalized guidance on how to leverage individual affinities and differences in complementary ways. You’ll also learn how to optimize team dynamics for standout performance and greater team harmony. And that means results!
Understanding every team member also means being able to resolve inner-team conflicts before they escalate. The more you learn about the communication preferences of each person, the more effectively you can evolve your leadership style. That might be as simple as changing the tenor in email conversations or as complex as managing an entire team in ways that resonate and motivate.
Motivated by macro big picture thinking, these teammates value moving quickly to connect dots between abstract ideas to 'get the gist' of things.
These teammates value being concrete and specific, getting into details to understand the steps or tasks required.
Whether you use Google Workspace or another online collaboration tool, F4S can enhance your efforts in just a few simple steps:
Having an in-depth understanding of your team enables you to level up your internal communication. Our Insights platform makes the process easy with comparison charts, intel on your team’s preferred communication and leadership styles, and suggestions for improvement.
The result is a more engaged and satisfied team, and improved business performance – optimized teams are more likely to reach KPIs and successfully complete projects in a far shorter timeframe.
Google Workspace is always free for individual usage, regardless of the subscription term. For businesses, the subscription service has four pricing tiers:
Those prices are firm, regardless of the subscription term. In other words, changing the subscription term from annual to monthly does not change the monthly charge.
Some add-ons are never included in the package. For example, Google Voice and Google Chrome Enterprise are always paid add-ons in the Google store.
Other apps are always free. Businesses can always leverage tools such as Google Search, Google Earth, Google Street View, Google Trends, Google My Business, and more without paying anything extra.
The platform offers significant discounts for nonprofit organizations. For example, Google Workspace for Nonprofits is free at the Business Starter equivalent, then has a 75% discount at the higher pricing tiers.
The same is true when using Google Workspace for education. For example, Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals is free with 100TB of storage for an unlimited number of users in the school community. More advanced tiers beyond Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals have a custom-quoted rate, depending on the size of school-wide Google groups.
Of course, school communities can also leverage many of the free apps in the larger environment. For example, many schools use Google Books for research or Google Directory for organizing alumni events.
Google Workspace is not the only comprehensive collaboration platform out there. Other solutions in the same space each come with their own options and opportunities to improve internal communication.
Perhaps the closest equivalent to Workspace, Office 365 includes cloud-based versions of its most popular apps. Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and others all include real-time collaboration versions.
The similarities don't end there. The functions performed by Google Chat and Google Meet can be done using Microsoft Teams. The Google Chrome equivalent is Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Azure is the direct competitor to Google Cloud.
Office 365 tends to be best for organizations used to the equivalent legacy apps from Microsoft. But the collaboration features are a bit more clunky, such as not including user roles as intuitively as Google Docs editors. Microsoft customer service also doesn't tend to be as responsive as Google support.
Another comprehensive collaboration tool, Zoho is free for up to 50 users. Apps include a word processor, email list and hosting platform, web conferencing, chat functionality similar to Google Chat, and more.
The minimalist interface combined with a streamlined user experience makes Zoho great for smaller businesses. Larger enterprises will benefit from the more in-depth features of Google Workspace and integrations such as Google Groups.
Slack can directly replace Google Chat but otherwise complements Workspace. It shines with an intuitive interface and direct messaging system that makes SMS messages unnecessary.
Slack also integrates directly with many Workspace apps. For example, you can share a doc with your team in Slack and allow real-time editing in the interface. That integration pays off for experienced teams already used to communicating in Slack.
Businesses looking for alternatives to the Google cloud solution Drive might appreciate Dropbox. Its intuitive file and folder structure makes onboarding easy. So does a Desktop app that automatically syncs documents into the cloud. Dropbox users can share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly in the interface.
Meta, the home of Facebook, also offers an internal communication solution. As might be expected from a social networking service, its features largely focus on an internal social network-type interface. Within that interface, you can create groups akin to school-wide Google groups, set up meetings that rival the legacy Google Hangouts, and more. A direct messaging platform similar to Google Chat is also part of the platform.
Meta Workplace also includes an automatic translation service that rivals and, in some ways, surpasses Google Translate. It's ideal for large, multinational teams that need to build culture and collaborate.
eXo is an open-source platform that can optimize internal communications. Features include:
eXo doesn't include workspace collaboration tools such as Docs. Instead, it focuses on the communication side of work culture.
Turn your internal communications up to 11. Take our assessment and invite your team to do the same. Compare your results with your team using our real-time, app-based dashboard. Then, use those insights to make the most out of collaboration tools such as Google Workspace.
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