Best-Loved Gmail Features for Our Virtual Teams
It’s not necessarily uncommon for our team to discuss technologies that make our lives easier, but it is rather uncommon for us all to love any particular tool as much as we love our Gmail! Our team members work primarily on different sites, so our team functions online most of the time. We love a good tool that makes it easier for us to work together across physical boundaries. Our hands-down favorite features run the gamut of convenient add-ons to “Cool, I didn’t know that!” all-star elements. Whether its managing mail messages, bookmarks and passwords, or collaborating with the team, we get it all done with these cool Gmail features:
1. Boomerang: This Gmail plugin allows you to schedule messages to be sent at a later date and time, keep track of responses, and also helps you to remember to follow up within a certain period of time by prioritizing the message if the recipient doesn’t respond. Get it here.
2. Advanced Search: Google’s superior search methodology makes it easy and intuitive to search for messages by sender, keyword, and location. Using only a few keystrokes, I can quickly locate a message that I sent to my boss about an upcoming deadline: “from:me to:Jamil in:sent deadline.” This is right from my inbox – no looking for a separate advanced search page.
3. Services Integration: Like most teams, we have a lot of online tools for accomplishing different tasks, which means we have a lot of bookmarks and passwords to remember. So, we love the Google Apps Marketplace, where we can search for the tools we use most often and integrate them with Gmail. Once integrated, our tools are available right from our Gmail inbox and we’re already signed in. There’s tons of tools to choose from – think CRM tools, expense reporting, contacts managers, project management, and more – all available in the Google Apps Marketplace.
4. Google Docs: As a tech company with different folks on different work sites, our team often works online to complete internal projects and tasks. Our favored methodology for programming is Agile, which normally would require us to meet on a daily basis to share information with the team. The Google Documents feature actually allows us to work virtually to create a document that we can all read and edit at the same time, updated in real time. Google Documents carry the same features as documents created in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others. You’re already familiar with the tools, and converting documents between the two is a snap. And since it’s all happening in real time, we can use Docs to share scrum information, even when we can’t all be available to meet.
5. Google Voice: When collaborating on one document isn’t enough, we can instant message and even call each other. Right from our inboxes, we can place phone calls using Google Voice. The call is alarmingly clear, allowing us to free our hands for other tasks without the far-away tone of most speakerphones. We can even customize Google Voice with our own local phone numbers, direct calls to ring our mobile phones, send and receive texts, and save our voicemails online.