Remote Work Best Practices
At Wursta, we've been using G Suite tools to optimize remote work for years!
Hear from some of the team with their best "work from home" advice:
Set Up Your Workspace
[Charles Kramer: Director, Support]
Do what you can to minimize distractions and noises from others in your household, but also be patient with each other (and yourself) as we all adjust to the new normal of members of households being home together 24/7.
Use a pair of noise-canceling headphones to block out sounds. It helps more than you think to keep your train of thought from derailing.
On conference calls, mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.
Have your video on whenever you can. It makes people know that you are paying attention and present.
When videoconferencing, be mindful of what the camera is picking up behind you. Nice clean backgrounds, like a corner or a wall, look much better and are less distracting than a hallway or entryway that may have lots of activity.
If you have to change locations, or take care of something, disabling your camera temporarily will avoid others in the meeting being distracted.
Try to minimize clutter, if possible. When things are messy around you, it can make it more difficult to focus and keep organized digitally.
Things may be a little hectic right now. Take advantage of tools like Tasks, and Keep so you can quickly reference the items that are most important to accomplish next.
Talk Face to Face with Google Meet
[Matt Wursta: CEO]
At Wursta, we have always had a culture of face to face meetings, even when the majority of our people were remote. Meeting face to face really does maximize the use of digital collaboration tools to communicate with your colleagues. One thing we have set up is a recurring all day event every day called the Virtual Office Daily. This is so remote employees can join others and work together as if we were in the office and also gives us a place to jump on with each other quickly to ask questions and/or collaborate on something we are working on. For more on Hangouts Meet go here.
Collaborate in Real Time
[Natalie Sorrells: VP, Services]
In my opinion the biggest game changer in the G Suite toolset is the ability to real time collaborate. Literally that means you can be working in the same document with a number of your colleagues, clients, etc... at the same time. To take full advantage of the real time collaboration, it is a best practice for my team and I to collaborate from the start. This, I know, is a lot easier said than done... we come from a culture where we embrace "collaboration," but historically, not until we have done our "part". My advice to all of you is try collaborating from the very beginning of an idea. It will foster opportunities of real innovation and creativity... and also, in most cases, get you over the finish line much quicker. Find out more about the real time editors here.
Keep your Calendar Updated
[Preston Ferguson: Director, Sales]
When working remote, it is really important to keep your calendars up to date, even for non meeting time. Your colleagues will have less insight on your availability and what you are working on so quickly your calendar could fill up with back to back meetings all day long, making it impossible to get work done. I make an effort to also include working time (ie finalizing order forms and sows, prospecting, preparing for meetings, etc...) so others know when I am really available for that next meeting.
Set Up Offline Access for Unstable Internet
[Briana Brown: Change Management]
Working remote can sometimes come with connectivity issues. When work in G Suite is all browser based, you probably think you must have a stable internet connection... well, of course that always helps (especially for video meetings) but you can set up offline access to Gmail and Drive. Make sure you do so, so if you loose connection or just are working with an unstable connection you can work without too much disruption.
Use Workspaces in Drive to Organize Collections
[Natalie Willis: Sr. Account Manager]
I love using Workspaces where it makes sense over creating a Folder. For example, I use a workspace to gather documents related to certain projects, initiatives, clients, etc... Especially if something is temporary or a top priority. It is just a great way to prioritize and organize what you are working on. The biggest difference is a Workspace is an area that I can prioritize certain related documents, but you can't share it with a colleague. So if you are trying to create a shared space you will definitely need to use a folder or Shared Drive. To create a workspace:
1.) In Google Drive click on Priority.
2.) Under "Workspaces", click Create Workspace.
3.) Enter a name for the Workspace and click Create.
4.) Start dropping files into your created Workspace.
Create Group Chats
[Colleen Dougherty: Director, Operations]
Chat is great for connecting with individuals, but have you heard of using Rooms for group conversations? Located within chat, here you can post questions, share information or ideas with a a specific group of people. #getaroom
BEST USE CASE: Sharing cat memes with fellow feline lovers throughout the day. Everyone needs their daily dose of Vitamin C(at)!
In Google Chat, at the top left, click Find people, rooms, bots.
Click Create room.
Enter a name and then click Create.
Click Add people & bots.
Enter names of people, email addresses, and bots, or select from the suggestions. Suggestions include everyone in your organization, even if they don't have Hangouts Chat. Repeat for each invitee.
Click New thread in room name to start a new conversation in the room.
Happy Chatting! 😸
Troubleshoot like an IT Expert
[Nilesh Thakker: Deployments]
When in doubt using the Google tools, you have three really helpful links built into each G Suite application. In the top left corner of Gmail, Calendar or Drive look for the circled question mark. When you click on it you have three options: Help, Training, Updates. All of these will actually be specific to the application you are in at the moment. The Help allows you to search Google's Help Pages. The Training will link you directly to Google's Training Materials, and Updates will actually show you published recent changes for the tool (which is super helpful as Google is constantly updating and rolling out new features). I really like the Updates option. I try to click there every couple weeks just to stay on top of the new features that have come available.
And finally, quite honestly, a lot of times when I get a question I am not sure of, my first instinct is to literally "Google it." There is a lot of content published out there (from help pages, to user discussion forums, etc...) that will likely give you some insight to the question/ issue you may be experiencing.
Know How to Quickly Troubleshoot Your Video Call
[David Moore: Director, Marketing]
If I am experiencing any video or audio issues in a Hangouts Meet, first I turn off my video. If that doesn't help I go into Settings >> Video >> and then turn down my Send and Receive Video Resolution . From Settings, I can also adjust my Audio Input and Output to make sure my microphone and speakers are connected to the right device. As a last resort sometimes the old drop off and rejoin will do the trick or I will call in on a landline/cell phone.
Take a look at our handy help guide for more troubleshooting tips.
Use Keep to Manage Tasks (even as a team)
[Joe Wilson: Technology Delivery Manager]
Google Keep is a great way to stay organized and on top of the task list you are working on. I can make notes, take pictures and copy email into labels within my keep workbook. There are a number of things I can do with keep:
• Create notes and lists, set time and place reminders, and check off your completed tasks.
• Add photos and drawings, or just draw on your photos.
• Dictate your thoughts, Keep will transcribe them for you.
• Color notes for easy scanability.
• Access your notes on any device.
I have a label for each customer, my team and of course my leadership. I take notes within these labels as and I can share the notes with other collaborators. I only have to share the notes relevant to the individuals and the rest stay private.
Working remote for me is all about staying organized and on top of the things that need my attention. I will not lie, there are so many distractions. The kids, spouses, animals, and even parents. They often forget that we are "working" from home, because we are so accessible. It is important to keep track of what you are doing so you can jump right back in, once you either solve their problem or gently remind them that you are actually working.
For more information on Keep visit this page.
Collect Quick Feedback Using Google Forms
[Austin Leone: Change Management]
Google Forms is a great way to quickly gather feedback and/or collect data. We have used Forms at Wursta to manage event registrations, create a quick opinion polls, gather training feedback, client feedback, collect project closeout data and much more. With Google Forms, you can creating online forms and are able to analyze the results right in your mobile or web browser—no special software required. You get instant results as they come in and you can summarize survey results at a glance with charts and graphs.
Here is some more information about using Google Forms!
Use "Explore" to Maximize Your Docs, Sheets, and Slides Experience
[Vinay Thakker: CTO]
Do you remember Clippy, the Microsoft Assistant? Well the Google editors has its own powerful assistant built into Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It's called Explore. When you click on the Explore button at the bottom right of your document, it will automatically suggest things to add it. Explore in Docs will read your document and reference other items in your G Suite account you can reference. It also is a quick way to search Google for other items or images of reference. Explore in Slides will do the same, but also make it easy to insert images and suggest different ways to design your slide so you don't have to worry about it. Finally, Explore in Sheets will help you analyze your data. It can quickly make suggestions of charts for important parts of data, answer questions you might ask about data, and suggest logical formatting of the data.