Working from home has become popular among companies in Malaysia. The shift toward remote work is happening because more and more companies are accepting the idea of letting their employees work from home.
According to a report by the United Nations Development Programme and Talent Corporation Malaysia, 80% of Malaysian employees prefer to work from home at least once a week, with almost half preferring to do so for three or more days.
A Microsoft survey also revealed that 77% of Malaysian workers surveyed desire continued flexible remote work options. Similarly, a Cisco study showed that 74% of employees in Malaysia preferred hybrid work arrangements.
As of 2022, it has become common for most employees around the world to WFH 2-3 days a week. In fact, 8% of surveyed employees aim to fully WFH.
These tools offer features like chat messaging, video conferencing, document sharing, and task management that help teams stay connected and productive no matter where they are.
Let’s find out how these tools can help those who choose to WFH become more productive.
Remote working offers various benefits for both employers and employees. Employers can have access to a wider pool of talent, cut down on overhead costs, and enhance productivity.
As for the employees, they can enjoy flexible working hours and choose to work from any location.
Employees can focus better on their tasks and get less distracted by their work environment when they work from home. This gives them more time for personal activities and family responsibilities.
However, like everything else, working remotely also comes with certain challenges.
Some of the Main Challenges of Remote Work
1. Communication and Collaboration
Working remotely can be tough. It is hard to stay connected with other team members and work productively at the same time. Moreover, when workers do not see each other face to face, it’s hard to establish emotional connection and trust.
2. Productivity and work-life balance
Working from home can make it difficult to differentiate between work and family life, leading to an unhealthy work-life balance. Unmanaged distractions and a lack of structure can also hinder the productivity of remote employees.
The key is ensuring that remote employees take breaks when necessary.
3. Technology and infrastructure
A high-speed internet connection, a virtual private network (VPN), and effective communication tools are all necessary for productive remote work.
Investing in these necessities is critical because without them, remote employees may have difficulty gaining access to critical files and information, resulting in lower productivity.
4. Management and leadership
Managing employees who aren’t physically present in the workplace requires a different set of skills and approaches.
Managers and leaders need to learn how to effectively communicate with their remote teams in order to set clear goals and provide consistent support and feedback.
5. Cultural and social challenges
Remote workers, particularly those who are new to the business or who live in different time zones or regions, may face social and cultural challenges.
Making a team feel like a family when they aren’t all in the same room at the same time is a challenge.
The Benefits of Google Workspace for Remote Workers and How to Use It
There are difficulties associated with working remotely, including difficulties in communication and collaboration, productivity and work-life balance, technology and infrastructure, management and leadership, and cultural and societal difficulties.
The good news is that collaboration tools like Google Workspace make it easier for remote employees to collaborate and share information, allowing them to get more done in less time.
1# Stay Connected and Collaborate
Gmail, Google Meet, Shared Drive and Google Chat are just some of the tools in Google Workspace that help teams interact and collaborate efficiently and effectively, no matter where they are located. This facilitates cooperative efforts in real time on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
If you’re using Google Workspace with your teams, how do you get everyone on the same page? Here are some useful suggestions:
Tip 1: Create a Google Groups email list
The first step is to create a group and add your team members to the list. Once the group is formed, its email address can be used to instantly communicate with all members and distribute group-specific resources like schedule invites and Google Drive files.
Following this method guarantees that all members of your team are conversant with and have access to the same data.
By doing so, your team can spend less time on pointless one-on-one chats and more time on the duties at hand. In conclusion, a Google Groups email list is a useful tool for improving teamwork and conversation.
Tip 2: Create a Space in Google Chat
By selecting “Create or discover a space” and then “Create space” from the Spaces tab, Google Chat users can set up their own dedicated spaces for specific types of discussions.
Then they can give the group a name, invite people to join, and set permissions. Select “Turn this chat into a space” from the drop-down menu that appears when you select the down arrow next to a group’s name in a space.
By selecting “Spaces” or “Rooms,” followed by “New space” and “Create a space” in the Chat or Gmail app on mobile, users can create new chat rooms. Then they can give it a name, invite people, and set permissions.
Tip 3: Create a Shared Drive
To access your shared drives in Google Drive, start the application and select “Shared drives” from the menu on the left. If your company makes use of shared drives, you can create a new one by selecting “New” and then naming and saving the drive.
You can add directories and files to a shared drive and then make them available to team members.
Tip 4: Start Live Conference
Google Mail and the Google Meet apps both allow you to host and participate in video conferences.
When using Gmail in a web browser, select Meet from the sidebar, and then click New meeting to initiate a conference. Meetings can be joined by selecting Meet from the menu area and then selecting Join Meeting or Join Scheduled Meeting.
Just launch Google Meet, tap “New” meeting, or enter a meeting code to initiate or join a meeting. Selecting ‘Add Others’ and then entering a name, email address, or phone number brings that person into the conference.
Someone from within the group may need to grant you access to the video meeting if you are not a member of the organization.
To share your screen or a window during a Meet video meeting:
Step 1: Click on the Present now button at the bottom of the screen.
Step 2: Choose to present your entire screen or a specific window.
Step 3: Click on the screen or window you want to present.
Step 4: Click on the “Share” button.
Step 5: To attach a presentation or other resources to your Calendar event:
Create a new Calendar event or edit an existing one.
Step 1. Click on “Add conferencing” and choose “Google Meet”.
Step 2. Click on “Add attachment” and select the file you want to share.
Step 3. Click on “Save”.
To use the chat feature during the meeting:
Step 1. Click on the “Chat” icon at the bottom of the screen.
Step 2. Type your message and press “Enter” to send it.
Step 3. You can also click on the “People” icon to see a list of participants and chat with them individually.
2. Time Management to Work Remotely
You can organise your personal and work schedules with the assistance of Google Workspace’s many time-saving features, such as Google Hangouts, Calendar, and Sheets.
When used in together, they make it easy and convenient to manage both personal and work schedules.
Tip 1: Job Hours Should Be Established
Use Google Calendar to keep track of when you have meetings and when you’re free to focus on business or personal matters while working from home.
If you designate your working hours in Calendar, people who invite you to events outside of those times will be alerted that you’re not available.
Steps to setting up working hours in Google Calendar on your computer:
Step 1: Open Google Calendar and click Settings, then Settings again.
Step 2: Under “General,” click Working hours (or Working hours & location if your admin has turned on working location).
Step 3: Click Enable working hours and select the days and times you work.
Your calendar might recommend working hours based on your location and your own personal schedule. These recommendations are open to your approval, rejection, or modification.
As soon as your availability is known, others will be able to schedule meetings and other activities around your schedule. Anyone trying to schedule an appointment with you outside of normal business hours will be informed that it falls outside of that time frame.
Tip 2: Let People Know When You’re Free
There are a few ways you can let your team know that you will be taking a break from work.
Talk with your team in a dedicated space, send a quick email, or activate the “Out of Office” feature in Gmail. Team members’ absences from the workplace can be tracked via a group calendar.
When using Google Calendar on a PC, select “Add other calendars” > “Create new calendar” to make a shared calendar. Select “Create calendar” after giving your calendar a name and description.
The left-hand menu contains a link to your schedule, which you can use to invite others to join your events. Alarms can be set on Android devices to remind users to log out and power down before bed.
Tips & Tricks for Managing Remote Team Members
1# Collect a team mailing list
It can be difficult to share information with team members across the world. A Groups email list, on the other hand, can streamline communication.
This method of communication enables you to save time by not having to send individual emails to everyone.
Using the group’s email address, you can easily exchange resources like team calendars and Drive documents. The resulting streamlined communication and collaboration benefit everyone involved.
Tools: Groups, Drives, Calendar
2# Team visibility
When people on your team are in different time zones, it can be hard to figure out when to meet. However, with Google Calendar, you can see everyone’s schedules in one spot and determine if and when it’s convenient for everyone to get together.
Even better, you can create individual schedules for things like team meetings, trainings, and vacations. Once you have a grasp on when individuals are available, planning events is a breeze.
3# Effective communication
Create a Chat space or use Gmail’s in-built Chat feature to keep your remote team members in the loop.
This will facilitate communication, idea and information sharing, and establish a sense of community.
4# Remote access to shared files (edit anywhere)
You can ensure the security and easy access of your team’s data by placing them all in the same Google Drive or Shared Drives folder.
If you give your team access to this folder, they’ll be able to view the most up-to-date data whenever they want, from wherever they are.
In addition, you will be alerted any time a file is modified, ensuring that everyone is always using the most recent version.
Tools: Drive, Drives, Sheet
5# Project planning and schedules
It can be difficult to manage team tasks and schedules across multiple time zones. Setting up a project plan in Google Sheets to monitor progress and completion is a simple way to streamline the process.
Rather than using email and having everyone in the loop, team members can simply update one another on their work whenever necessary.
Task delegation and time management are simplified when everyone has access to the most recent version of the plan. As an added bonus, you can see these changes in real time.
6# Video meetings and online events
Looking for a way to stay connected with team members who work from various locations across the world?
Meetings, brainstorming meetings, and online events can all be attended from any location with an internet connection and a video conferencing service like Meet or Gmail.
This method of communication allows you to stay connected with your team without incurring the high costs of physical travel, while still reaping the benefits of face-to-face interaction.
7# File edit in real-time
Dealing with different file versions and attachments while collaborating with a remote team can be a pain. The difference is that in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can collaborate in real time, chat while you work, and provide specific input in the comments section. In addition, any time a change is made, it is immediately reflected for everyone to see. Using Chat or Chat in Gmail, your team can easily exchange and edit files in a team space.
Tools: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Chat
8# Remote presentation
Instead of holding an in-person meeting, you can use Meet to hold a video conference and share documents, presentations, and other files with everyone involved.
Recording video conferences allows participants in different time zones to watch the recordings at their convenience. Moreover, with captioning turned on, team members can still watch the recordings without sound.
9# Create surveys and questionnaires online
Use Google Forms to efficiently collect data from large groups of people, from both internal teams and clients.
You can use your mobile device or computer to create and carry out surveys and then evaluate the results. Collect feedback on documents, conduct opinion polls, or create a customer satisfaction survey.
Then, you can examine survey findings, summarize data using charts and graphs, and get notified as responses come in, all within Google Forms or Sheets.
Tools: Forms, Sheets
- Tell me how to access Google Workplace remotely.
You can access your files through a web browser on any mobile device or download the apps to use them on the go. With this, staying in touch with your team members will be fast and hassle free.
- When working remotely with Google Workspace, how do I safeguard my files and data?
To keep your papers and data safe, Google Workspace has top-notch security features like two-factor authentication and data encryption. You can also set access permissions for files and folders to control who has access to your information.
Google Workspace is a comprehensive suite of productivity tools that facilitates seamless collaboration between remote teams. Regardless of their location, team members can connect, share ideas, and collaborate on projects through a centralized platform.
It is especially useful for overcoming common obstacles associated with remote work, including communication gaps, time zone differences, and a lack of access to resources.
By utilizing Google Workspace, businesses can streamline their workflow, increase their productivity, and keep their remote teams engaged and connected.