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Building connection in the era of hybrid work

In response to the pandemic, an overwhelming 92% of the U.S. workforce is now interested in working in a hybrid or fully remote capacity1. All employers, including government leaders, are now critically focused on finding the right tools and techniques to foster engagement, improve productivity, and strengthen relationships – in-person and virtually – or risk losing and/or retaining top talent.

Creating a positive work environment starts with having the right technology that can provide a variety of meeting tools to make work easier and more productive from any location. Google Workspace enables agency leaders to support their workforce with capabilities to address a variety of needs, from virtual training and learning, to mobilizing emergency response and critical service delivery. Below we’ve highlighted some of our top tips for getting the most out of Google Workspace to make hybrid work more efficient and effective. 

Capture meeting agendas in a Google Doc

Create more effective, engaging meetings by attaching an agenda doc to your Google Calendar event and invite your attendees in to comment and review ahead of time. Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets allow collaborators to leave color-coded comments that can be incorporated into a live video meeting or a face-to-face roundtable meeting.

Capture meeting agendas in a Google Doc

Create more effective, engaging meetings by attaching an agenda doc to your Google Calendar event and invite your attendees in to comment and review ahead of time. Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets allow collaborators to leave color-coded comments that can be incorporated into a live video meeting or a face-to-face roundtable meeting.

Engage attendees with interactive features in Google Meet

We’ve added new features to make meetings more interactive and inclusive throughout 2022. New in-meeting reactions, livestream Q&A and polls, and streaming meetings directly to YouTube, and client-side encryption are all coming to Google Meet soon. We’re incorporating Meet directly into Docs, Sheets, and Slides to make it easier to coordinate on projects.  

Knowing how to include everyone into a meeting, even while some folks are remote and some are in the office, will be critical to bringing cohesion to the work experience. Government leaders can foster a culture that helps workers be more productive, satisfied, and perhaps even happier with their work lives.

Add focus time to your calendar and see how time is spent

Google Workspace has also introduced product features to promote wellness. This includes focus time on Google Calendar, out of office and do not disturb statuses on Google Chat, or even backgrounds and noise cancellation on Google Meet that allow individuals to separate their home from work. Allowing employees to set boundaries or notify others of working times can help combat work fatigue.  Time Insights in Calendar provide individuals with personalized analytics to see how time is spent across meetings and collaborators throughout a week. A secure cloud environment further brings these tools together to create systems of collaboration.

Calendar week view with Time Insights

Creating positive outcomes with a culture focused on integrated work environments

The shift to hybrid work has already started leading to more meaningful engagements among all employees. Video calls have connected the new, tech savvy generation of workers with more experienced workers. In a Fedscoop Radio podcast on embracing hybrid-work strategies and tools, Gary Dannoff, Global Google Workspace Strategic Alliance Leader, noted that multigenerational teams with a 25-year age gap between team members are 75% more likely to have positive outcomes than teams with a smaller age span or none. As we return to the office, let’s engage with and support this new culture of cross-cultural, cross-generational, and cross-geographic collaborative environments created by the challenges we all adapted to during the pandemic.

Google Workspace supports a shift toward future-ready workplace cultures while providing the empathy and confidence needed for returning employees. Danoff also explains that to create a “future-proof” culture, you need to shift your mindset towards building a workplace that is future-ready. Using modern technology to foster collaboration in an evolving work environment helps organizations transform how work is done. 

Collaborative technology facilitates productivity and constituent engagement

Agencies around the country are embracing the new era of hybrid work. The State of Arizona migrated 36,000 employees to Google Workspace with little disruption to the way people did their jobs. Now, Arizona is planning to expand their platform to support even more departments that require highly regulated data. 

To help constituents get back to work, states like Rhode Island and Wisconsin have created Virtual Career Centers that leverage Google Cloud solutions, which includes Google Workspace, where constituents can schedule meetings and video conferences with career coaches, develop and collaborate on resumes using cloud-based document storage, communicate directly with job recruiters, attend virtual job fairs, and apply to open positions.

For more ideas on how to bring a collaborative, innovative culture into the workplace, catch up on content from the Google Workspace Summit.

1 Source:  https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html#content-free-1-0f39

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