Managing remote teams can be tough. With Barry in Boston, Sally in Seattle, and Hank in Houston, department heads have to juggle different time zones and schedules while also making sure these employees have the tools they need to connect securely and collaborate. 

Enter Google Workspace. Ideal for remote and hybrid working, this cloud-based suite contains a whole ecosystem of office applications that can be accessed from anywhere and on any device. Secure, reliable, and cost-effective, it's a must for keeping teams in touch and facilitating more efficient workflows wherever they are in the world.

Cybersecurity and remote working

With cyber-attacks on the rise, one of the top concerns for remote workplaces is security. Companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks across dozens of entry points as employees jump in and out of the cloud, accessing office applications from their home offices and personal devices. 

Robust defenses are crucial to reducing an organization's exposure and risk. Recognizing this, Google recently announced several security-focused partnerships, designed to make Workspace even more secure for hybrid teams. 

The new security alliances strengthen Workspace defenses with solutions from industry leaders Okta and VMWare. Okta's software, Workforce Identity Cloud, protects access from different devices and locations, giving employees entry to the office when needed and setting customized rules around what applications they can access and use. Okta verifies user credentials across over 7,000 apps and is fully integrated, so remote employees don't have to store and remember multiple passwords.

VMWare Workspace ONE brings cutting-edge endpoint management and zero-trust access to Workspace, eliminating the need for vulnerable third-party systems. Instead, your IT department will be able to manage all Workspace apps through VMWare's secure platform, enabling easy access to business tools. It also ensures IT staff can seamlessly add extra devices as new hires come on board, change configurations, and roll out security updates as needed.

Announcing the new partnerships, Sunil Potti, VP and GM of cloud security at Google Cloud, commented: "Global enterprises want to provide their workforces with more effective and secure ways of collaborating, with tools that increase productivity and avoid the vulnerabilities of legacy productivity solutions. 

"Through its growing ecosystem of security partners, Google Workspace offers the most enterprise-ready platform for hybrid work, providing organizations with confidence and flexibility to work securely."

Google Workspace communication tools

Your teams need to be able to talk, and Google makes that easy. From Meet to Gmail, there are plenty of tools in Workspace that facilitate constant communication, but there are also several next-level hacks in these applications to further empower remote and hybrid employees.

Google Meet recordings and breakout rooms.

When you can't meet in person or juggling a team that's partly in-office and partly remote, Google Meet offers an online video conferencing space where everyone can be seen and heard. 

Google Meet recordings allow managers to save and store important discussions, while the captions feature makes the meeting accessible to everyone. You can use Meet for any kind of get-together - sharing documents, Sheets, or Slides to create a presentation or hosting a large virtual event or live stream.

If you are organizing an event, you'll also want to explore Google Meet breakout rooms. These are controlled by the meeting host, who can invite selected participants into each room. While breakout rooms can't currently be recorded, all other meetings can be for up to 8 hours.

Gmail groups

Instead of typing out the same email to your employees around the country, save yourself precious time by combining their addresses into a single group. Creating a group in Gmail is an often overlooked timesaver for busy teams who are frequently sending messages back and forth.

Use this team mailing list to share files, project updates, and company notifications - keeping everyone in the know simultaneously.

Team spaces in Chat

There are times when communication needs to be short and sweet. Email isn't always the best option when all you're sending is a quick sentence or just checking in, so Chat instead. 

Google Chat is an online forum where team members can communicate in real-time to share the latest on what they're working on, brainstorm, or just take a break and hang out. Users can create a specific space for their teams as well as invite guests from outside their organization or department. 

When you create a space, you automatically become that space's manager, responsible for adding or removing participants, giving it a name/description, and deleting messages.

Google Sites app

If you're looking for more of a message board than a forum to keep your remote team connected, check out Google Sites. This feature allows managers to create their own business websites to share information with large audiences. It's easy to build internal project hubs without developer-level tech know-how. In fact, it takes just 10 minutes to create a site, and it can be populated simply by clicking and dragging content.

Once you've made your site, you choose who can view it and what they can do. You can designate some viewers' editors' so they can also add, modify or delete content or restrict them to just viewers. 

Google Workspace collaboration tools

From communication to collaboration. Remote employees inevitably have to work together, and that means giving them the tools to share files efficiently, edit documents, coordinate schedules, and more.

Collaborative editing in Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the best editing programs on the market, not least because it's tailor-made for teams. 

With Docs, everyone in your project can get involved in your document - jumping in to edit, leave a comment, or make a suggestion. Doc creators can invite collaborators to their files via email, set their permissions to 'viewer' or 'editor' and make it either 'general access' so the whole organization can view it or 'restricted' so only invited collaborators can see it.

These privileges can be revoked at any time, switching someone's status from editor to viewer or removing them from the document entirely. Users can also view changes so they can track the entire history of the document, seeing who's added or erased from it. If something goes wrong, you can simply go back and reload a previous version.

Got a huge team? Google Docs can be edited on up to 100 open tabs, so you can share your work with 99 coworkers!

Shared Drives

In order to collaborate on a file, organizations first need to set up shared drives for employees. These are folders that belong to teams rather than individuals, so anyone from that team can store, view, create, and access files within that drive.

Shared drives ensure that if someone from the team leaves, they won't take their work with them, leaving their colleagues in the lurch.

Users can create different shared drives for different teams, ensuring that projects don't get lost in a lot of cloud clutter. Think of shared drives as office rooms in the cloud - your sales team can work in one area while your accounting department is in another. 

How to share Google Calendar

Shared calendars in Google help remote and hybrid teams coordinate their schedules without a lot of time-consuming back and forth. Instead of sending messages to check everyone's availability, employees can just log into their group calendar and see who's working when.

You can share your Google calendar with others by navigating through your settings, clicking 'Add people' and entering their email addresses. At this stage, you can also customize their access using the drop-down menu to adjust their permissions. Once someone has full access to your calendar, they can respond to invites, create and edit events, and get notified any time there's a change to your calendar.

You also can share your calendar with your entire organization or just your specific team by adjusting your sharing preferences in Settings.

Workspace users can create multiple calendars to keep track of not just their schedule but any groups they're a part of. This allows managers to organize their team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and other group get-togethers in one central location so nothing slips under the radar. 

The future of work

Google's push towards a more dislocated but more connected workforce is very much in line with the times. Remote and hybrid working has exploded in recent years, fueled by advances in tech tools, artificial intelligence, and a growing desire for more flexible work options, and economic factors. 

Over 85% of the US workforce wants to work remotely, and given the ongoing labor shortage, employers are having to find a way to meet this demand. Adopting Google Workspace allows organizations to give their staff the flexibility they want without sacrificing security, connectivity, or productivity. 

A Google Cloud Premier Partner, UpCurve Cloud has helped hundreds of businesses leverage Google Workspace to empower their remote and hybrid teams. Our expert consultants and technicians can assess your organization's needs, identify efficiency gaps, and help you decide the best Google tools to transform your workflows. We'll work with you to ensure every application is fully integrated with your existing architecture and that your employees are fully up to speed on each tool's use and capabilities. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and say goodbye to unproductive silos!

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