Google's Top Four Productivity Tricks
When Google bought Picnik, the online photo editor, in 2010, marketing manager Lisa Conquergood and the rest of the project team went to Google with him. They continued to work until the closure of the project in 2012. After that, the team left the company and founded a new PicMonkey photo editing site.
However, Konkergood had a chance to experience the productivity and the working scheme of one of the most successful companies in the world. “Google’s mission is to organize all the information in the world,” she says. “They are doing the same thing inside the company.”
And while a startup is more agile than a corporation, Konkergood and everyone else decided to introduce four tricks to improve the productivity that they learned while working at Google.
1. Use technology to bring remote workers closer to you
Google has a lot of employees, and Konkergood says they need ways to stay effective while scaling up. The company creates its own tools for work, some of which are later released - such as Google Hangout.
“Google’s offices are scattered around the world,” says Konkergood. “It is very important to be able to easily bring together a lot of people. Telephone conferences lack slide show capabilities. Google Hangouts was created specifically for this. "
PicMonkey uses Hangouts to meet partners. “This allows us to have a closer connection than just a soulless voice on the phone. With video calls, people have less opportunity to distract, check their phone, chat with a neighbor. Reading body language and gestures is an important part of communication, and video allows you to do this. ”
2. Remove rubble
According to Konkergood, Google employees should fill out something called Snippets weekly. They write down what they managed to do over the past week, and what they plan to do next.
“The bottom line is transparency. Everyone has access to the snippets of everyone else. If I need to work on a joint project, I can look into the snippets and see if anyone else is working on it. ”
There was no need for such an infrastructure in a small startup. PicMonkey uses the Daily Reporting technique, where employees share their other three main goals for the coming day and talk about the obstacles they face.
“This is our common ground, something like our version of snippets,” says Konkergood. “Transparency helps us work together effectively.”
3. Take control of your inbox
Konkergood had a huge amount of emails while working at Google. Although the company did not have training on the effective use of Gmail, Konkergood says that documentation and other people's advice helped her save time.
One colleague talked about the presence of the mute button, which allows you to exit the exchange of emails between several interlocutors if the topic of the conversation has ceased to concern you. Also a useful tool is Priority Inbox, which takes important emails to the very top of the list. And it’s useful to set up “smart filters” to separate emails that need to be checked no more than once a week.
PicMonkey also uses these tools, but now priorities have shifted from internal to external mail. “I get fewer emails, but the percentage of important emails has increased. External letters often deal with business issues, and I need to look at them first. ”
4. Define goals before meetings
At Google, all meetings made sense and purpose. “Even before we went there, we already knew the purpose of the meeting, and before we left, it was very clear to us what tasks we had and who was responsible for their implementation.”
This approach is even more important in a startup where it is vitally important to pinpoint who will be responsible for the next steps.
“The advantages of a small organization - everyone is able to do different things, and everyone is eager to fulfill their tasks. But this can lead to confusion about exactly who is responsible for what part of the work. In order to avoid both repetitions and imperfections, when discussing a task or project, it is necessary to clearly define the person responsible for the task. ”