In the same year that G Suite hit the mark of 2 billion users, they announced a big update. A new “home for work” to help users centralize their processes in just one place. In other words, they are bringing all the apps necessary to manage workflows in just one tool: Gmail.
2020 has also been marked by a pandemic outbreak that made businesses from all over the world go remote literally overnight. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time after the COVID-19 outbreak dies down. Notwithstanding, they estimate that around 30% of the workforce will be working in this model multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
This explains why it’s so important to focus on improving cloud software useful and flexible for both remote and teamwork. And G Suite saw an opportunity to take their product to a whole new level and grabbed it real hard.
In this article, you are going to understand how the new home for work in G Suite works, and a complete analysis of how you can take advantage of it to enhance your teamwork.
What is G Suite Home for Work?
A new approach to work was necessary, to handle the crisis the pandemic brought on to the whole world. Companies and organizations of all sizes and industries had to choose tools that provide basic collaboration features. Too many tools, if you stop to think for a second: for video meetings, chat, document editing, email, CRM, help desk, and so on. And all the information that gets to us, plus switching between tabs and windows all day long can be a lot distractive for a worker.
Besides, on top of work, people need to handle the most challenging activities at the same time — children and household chores, for instance. With an environment like this, more tools would only add stress and decrease focus and productivity. That’s why G Suite decided to unite their collaboration tools, providing a unique and flexible way of handling the new way of working.
“An integrated workspace that helps team stay connected, no matter where they are working from. What you see here is a better home for work that intelligently brings together the people, content, and tasks you need to make the most of your time.”
– Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite
The main goal of making G Suite a “home for work” is to keep teams productive and engaged by allowing them to access essential tools in flexible ways. In short, this overhaul brings to Gmail some crucial G Suite apps for remote work: Google Chat, Google Meet, and Google Docs. Besides, there’s a new feature for task management, a powerful search resource —to search emails and chats—, and security enhancements in Meet and Chat.
This solution eliminates the back and forth between the many tools teams need to use, and according to G Suite, working better together. As a result, you are going to save time and will be able to collaborate on work projects more effectively.
By the way, all the changes will be available on both the web and mobile versions.
How does it impact users?
G Suite is keeping email the same. The same, yet improved experience in Gmail everybody already knows and loves. The changes are how Chat, Rooms, and Meet come to the picture as a whole workplace.
Source: Google Cloud
Chat integration with Gmail was only just a small section on the bottom left corner of the window, with the names of the people you most talk to. But with the new improvements, Chat plays a big role in the new home for work.
Now you have two tabs, right below the search bar: Email and Chat. Email is where your regular inbox is, while the Chat tab allows you to start threads with individuals or groups. This will give more context to your projects since you can exchange information and details about them with your team right on your inbox.
Besides, it’s possible to set some other features, so you can focus and be more productive while using Chat:
- Pin important rooms, so you can access them easily
- Set the “Do Not Disturb” mode
- Set personalized status such as “Lunchtime”
Inside the Chat tab, you can start direct messages with individuals, or create rooms with teammates.
The Rooms section in Chat is the perfect place for teams to work on their projects, without needing to leave their inboxes. Inside the rooms, it’s possible to share files and tasks.
Moreover, Chat lets you create rooms with people outside your organization, such as clients, providers, or consultants,
The new layout allows users to messages using Chat on the left half of the screen while they edit a document on the right. And at the same time, they are all participating in a video conference.
Besides, you can associate rooms with a certain event on Google Calendar, and have access to a dashboard with upcoming meetings, and the respective participants.
Source: Google Cloud
One of the greatest needs of remote teams is to have daily and weekly meetings using video conference apps. This is why this new integrated workspace also makes it easier to quickly join a video call right from a chat thread.
Instead of opening Meet on a new tab or window, the video meeting will pop out in a short-sized window right in the inbox. This pop-out window can follow the user from tool to tool, so they can navigate showing things, or working on them together with the team.
So while you are in a meeting about a specific project, for instance, the participants can check files, co-edit documents, and manage tasks together while it happens. You can concentrate on work in just one place, making the meetings more productive.
Source: Google Cloud
Taking the real-time collaboration inside Gmail to a whole new level, the users can also open and co-edit documents with the team without opening them on a second tab. This gives the context the users need right where they are doing the work at the moment.
Imagine this: you are making some changes to a document with some teammates in real-time. You can assign a new task, and chat with them about the changes, without switching between tabs.
Task management is another essential asset for work projects It’s possible to create tasks and checkboxes from the chat messages in the Chat tab. Then it’s possible to assign people and add due dates to it. You can use the add-ons menu—on the right side of the screen—to open your Google Calendar and check dates and events, so you can pick the best due date.
The task setting connects all teams need to manage their workflow and get things done on time.
Google Chat users may be familiar with the advanced search particular to the messaging app. In the new home for work, the Search bar is similar, allowing the users to search for people, files, and any message content.
This feature allows teams to find everything they need in just one place, in a much easier way.
Alongside all these improvements, G Suite also announced new security features for Meet and Chat. After all, millions of businesses trust their most sensitive data to the platform.
For Google Meet, there is a new functionality that allows hosts to have more control over meetings. First, they can select who can join or collaborate within the video meetings. Second, when a participant is ejected, it won’t be possible to join the same meeting again by knocking. Google calls it “knocking controls”. And third, the feature “safety locks” lets the host decide which participants can chat or present in the meeting.
In addition, G Suite is extending Gmail’s phishing protections to Google Chat. This means that Google scans any potential content inside Chat, a link, for instance, in real-time. Google flags it if something malicious is detected.
Google expects that this new home for work provides a flexible remote teamwork experience, enhancing everything teams need for seamless integration. It’s a change that comes to compete directly with top collaboration tools, such as Slack.
One important thing to highlight is that teams don’t need much time to understand the functionalities, because they are very straightforward. And since they are included in existing Google Workspace (former G Suite) plans, users should definitely give it a go.
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