September 17, 2020

Google Calendar: Tips to get the best out of your day

Working from home can put extra strain on trying to optimise the way you use your time. So it’s vitally important you use the tools at your disposal to ensure you’re maximising each day’s potential. Google Calendar could be the answer to your prayers, here’s some tips on how to harness its power to get the most out of your day.

Find meeting times that suit everyone.

My first of many Google Calendar tips may seem glaringly obvious, but it’s worth noting that it can actually be very difficult. People are busy with other meetings, busy with day-to-day life and that’s fine. With Calendar, the heavy lifting can be done for you. Here’s how:

Click on search for people on the left, type in the name of someone you’d like to meet with. If they’re from the same organisation as yourself, you’re able to select their name and see their calendar overlaid on yours. This increased visibility of your colleagues’ availability makes it far easier to find an open time slot, fill in the meeting details and click save.

Operating on multiple time zones? With Google Calendar, that's no problem.

With technology, the world is becoming smaller and smaller with people becoming increasingly connected. This being said, time zones still exist, complications can still happen with regards to scheduling meetings and it can become a barrier to effective communication. That’s why this tip is so useful. One of Google Calendar's great features is being able to display multiple time zones. 

It’s very simple to begin to display secondary time zones on Calendar, simply go to ‘Settings’. Scroll to Time Zone and click the box to display a secondary time zone and select the appropriate time zone. Need to add even more other time zones? Scroll to World clock and click Show world clock. By doing this, the time zones you’ve selected will show on the left side of your calendar below the month view. You are only able to display two time zones side by side on your calendar view, however you can have multiple world clocks.

This is a huge saver of time in your day, making the process of working out suitable times to arrange meetings with people over multiple time zones.

Want to make the most of your working hours? Share them with Google Calendar.

Being able to set your working hours makes setting up meetings so much easier. Not everyone has the same working hours, and it would be unfair to expect your colleagues to know your working pattern if it’s different to theirs.

With Google Calendar, users can easily add their working hours by exploring their settings section. One of the key benefits of this is that upon adding your working hours to Calendar, whenever any subsequent event invitation is sent to you, the invitee will automatically be notified if the event is outside your working pattern. This saves time, and takes any potential hassle out of creating events and allows you to focus on other parts of your working day.

Sharing is caring!

Let other users see your availability by sharing your calendar. Do this by adjusting your default settings in order to let others in your team or organisation view the full details of events on your calendar.

The benefits of this are plentiful but are best explained by looking towards a hypothetical example. 

I’m busy, in and out of meetings all day, it’s hard to divide your attention when you’re on a video call with someone. Due to this, I can’t get any free time within the parameters of my working day to do some deep work, like writing blogs. But there, in the near future on my calendar, I see it. 1.5hrs of free time. A beacon of light. I can finally churn out a blog about the benefits of Google Calendar and how it can help you make the most out of your day.

But alas, I check my inbox. I’ve been invited to a 1 hour call to workshop future hypothetical examples in my blog content during what should have been my free time. 

I can’t blame my colleague for this, they weren’t to know.

Fast forward a day and I’ve made my calendar available to be viewed by my colleagues. They’re able to see I have a slither of free time during my busy schedule and choose not to invite me to another crisis call about my lack of imagination - I am spared. They can instead look further on in my week to see a day where I’m less busy.

Give yourself breaks.

As is mentioned above, back-to-back meetings - although often necessary - can make your day more difficult than it needs to be. That’s why we strongly encourage you to leave yourself gaps between events in your Google Calendar. 

Often, when in back-to-back meetings, you either feel overwhelmed by having constant calls and no time to work independently, or you feel that the lack of respite between calls has left you unable to prepare for the forthcoming call. 

Giving yourself breathers between meetings can really allow for you to recharge, refresh and get your mind in the right place for your next meeting!


Hopefully by making use of these Google Calendar tips, you’ll be able to get the absolute most of your working day, ensuring that your workload has a nice even spread.

If you’d like to find out more about Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and how it could help make your organisation work smarter, book a discovery call!

March 17, 2020

7 Tips for Effective Remote Working

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (in a hermetically-sealed bunker), you’ll be aware of the increased instances of Coronavirus worldwide and the demand for remote working that this has created.

We don’t want to add to the number of fear-mongering articles that are already online. However, with the increased focus on remote working as a solution to prevent the spread of the virus, we thought we’d chip in.

If you feel the need to take precautions against the virus, here are our 7 top tips on remote working.

In the UK alone, more than 1.54 million people work from home. This increase is largely due to the benefits of remote working. In fact, if your business offers remote working opportunities you can expect:

And that’s before considering the benefits gained by doing your part to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus (if it comes to that). So without further ado here are our 7 top tips for working remotely: 

Working Space

To get anything done and be as productive as possible you need to feel comfortable in your surroundings. Get plenty of natural light if possible, and if not consider investing in a daylight lamp, as this will help with keeping your alert and therefore productive. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch -- spaces that are associated with leisure time -- dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.

Ensure that you are not hunched over and that your laptop is at a good height and if possible use a second monitor to maximise your productivity. If possible consider a stand-up desk so you can switch between sitting and standing.

Dependent on your personality get storage so your desk is uncluttered and use touches such as a low maintenance plant and some personal mementoes such as a photo frame will help inspire you. Make it your own space where you can shut the door and focus.

And make sure you choose the right music to fir the task you are trying to accomplish.

If you are working remotely on a temporary basis due to isolation then you will want to keep any costs to a minimum using the kitchen table is fine especially if you will not experience to many distractions (Tip: Use headphones and play music to help keep you focused)

Desk Chair

As you will be spending some considerable time at your desk it makes sense to invest in a good, ergonomically-correct and comfortable chair. If you are comfortable you will be more effective at your work. When you're uncomfortable it's hard to stay focused and productive.

Feel free to economise on other things. You don’t have to own a desk; you can move from the dining room table to den to the patio. But see your chair as an investment, not an expense.

Use the Correct Tools 

As with the chair ensure you get the possible tools to work. This includes a laptop, noise-cancelling headphones with a decent mic (we use a Jabra headset) and a good webcam (the ones built into laptops are generally only OK at a push) alongside a good phone be it mobile or a desk version.

But don’t forget none of the above is of any use if you do not have good broadband either at home or in the local co-working space or coffee shop!

And finally chose your software of choice carefully. We believe G Suite is the best for collaboration and fits in perfectly with a remote workers scenario as within its portfolio is Meet, Chat and Voice alongside its granular document sharing capabilities.

Plan Your Day & Create a Routine

Generally speaking, we can focus on any given task for 90 to 120 minutes. After that, we need a 15 to 20 minute break so we can recharge and get ready to achieve high performance on our next task.

So do this: Split your day into 90-minute windows. Instead of thinking about an 8-, 6-, or 10-hour workday, split your day into four or five 90-minute windows. That way, you will have, say, four tasks you will get done a lot more efficiently.

It might help to create a morning and nighttime routine.

The first thing you do in the morning is the most important thing you will do that day because it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

So prepare for that first thing the night before.

Make a list. Make a few notes. Review information. Prime yourself to hit the ground running for the next day.

Communicate!

Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off the larger operation happening in the office. 

Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools (as mentioned under tools) can make it easy to check in with coworkers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.

Working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn't necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself.

Exercise & Eat

Get up and move around every so often. If you are so inclined even go for a jog, whatever works for you but make sure you take a break from the screen.

Ensure that you drink water and eat healthily and at regular times as you would if you were based in an office.

See remote working as an advantage

The flexibility that working from home or remotely gives you means no lost time commuting, easy for you to get work done at odd hours -- hours you choose to work.

On your terms.

Contact

If you would like more information on how to set up your business for remote working with G Suite, please don't hesitate to get in touch, we would be delighted to have a chat about how we can help you transition to G Suite and make the most of the cloud.

info@cobry.co.uk / 0333 789 0102

June 5, 2019

Mobile Device Management & G Suite

Enterprise IT has come a long way in recent years, and the days running businesses solely from desktop computers have certainly passed. Laptops are of course still incredibly popular and are arguably the dominant device for most organisations. However, mobile devices are still on the rise, and thanks to advancements in technology, certain users can now achieve most of their work on their mobile phones.

These devices, whether they belong to the company or to the user, bring their own security risks and must be managed appropriately. Therefore, it’s important for organisations to enforce strong policies in how these devices are used in the workplace, as well as having contingencies in place if these devices are lost or stolen while storing sensitive company data.

Thankfully, G Suite comes with Mobile Device Management (MDM) built in, allowing organisations to easily manage all devices, ensure all users have access to the right apps and keep company data secure.

G Suite Mobile Device Management

Some of the stand-out policies and features available within G Suite’s MDM include;

  • Enforce password policies
  • Enforce 2 factor authentication
  • Require screen locks
  • Remotely wipe corporate data
  • Automatically roll out work apps
  • Track mobile usage and trends

Simple Rollout

You can roll out the applications your organisations require from Google Play or Apple’s App Store. As soon as your employee’s device has been enrolled, all Wi-Fi and email configurations including server-side certificates are pushed to the device instantly.

Bring your own device (BYOD)

More and more employees are deciding to bring their own personal devices to work. G Suite MDM makes it easy to keep your organisation’s data safe while letting employees use their favourite devices.

Android phones can separate your business applications from users’ personal apps, allowing employees to use their favourite device at work and home. You can also set up company-owned devices with some additional security settings. Cobry is, of course, happy to assist organisations with any elements of Mobile Device Management.

Basic Mobile Management

To start using Basic MDM, users can simply sign into their business account on their mobile device - no additional installations or configurations required.

Basic mobile management can be used for simple policies like enforcing passwords to keep data safe. Admins can also remote wipe any corporate data from registered devices if they were to be lost or stolen. You can also keep track of all the devices that have access to corporate data from the Admin console in G Suite.

Advanced Mobile Management

For organisations looking to utilise Advanced Mobile Management for more in-depth controls, you must first get in touch with your G Suite admin or Google Cloud Partner (if you do not have a Google Cloud Partner, Cobry would be happy to assist) to activate the advanced options. Depending on the types of devices, admins will have to turn on Android App Management and also install an Apple Push Certificate.

Once this is complete, users can sign in to their G Suite account from their mobile device. Android users can access and install your company pre-approved apps from the Work Apps tab in the Google Play Store.

Device approvals can also be set up so that an administrator has to approve user requests to access corporate data. This is only required once per device.

With Advanced Management, you can:

  • Separate work and personal data on Android devices
  • Control the apps that are installed on devices
  • Apply policy settings
  • Get reports
  • Approve/block devices
  • Wipe entire devices
    • If you choose this option, your users will have to enroll their devices.
  • For Android devices, users must download the Google Apps Device Policy app.
  • For iOS devices, users must download the Google Device Policy app so you can manage the device.

Apple Push Certificate

To use advanced mobile management with iOS® devices, admins must use an Apple Push Certificate. This certificate creates a trusted connection between the devices and your G Suite domain, which must be renewed annually.

If you have iOS devices that are already signed into your account and are synchronizing data, they will receive a notification to install the Google Device Policy profile. This ensures that the device is following all of the custom policies that have been created. Devices that aren’t will lose the ability to sync with your organisation’s account until they become compliant.

For every new device to be enrolled for advanced mobile management, you will need to install the Device Policy profile to ensure compliance and gain access.

Mobile Device Management Tips

  • Let your team know the mobile device policies that have been put in place.
  • Communicate that enrollment is required for devices to be active.
  • Set up advanced mobile management for a wider range of device settings and policies.
  • Encourage users to create work profiles in Android so they can keep their personal data separate from work data.
  • Encourage iOS users to download the Google Device Policy.
  • Choose the option to approve devices before users can download data and sync to G Suite.
  • Set up alerts for events like device-setting changes or suspicious activity.
  • Whitelist apps that your users will find useful for work.

Help with Mobile Device Management

As official Google Cloud Partners, Cobry has deployed G Suite and configured Mobile Device Management for organisations of all shapes and sizes throughout Scotland and across Europe. If your organisation is considering making the move to G Suite, or has already set up their account but would like some help with Mobile Device Management or other aspects of G Suite, get in touch via the details below.

Contact

We are always happy to have a chat about how we could help.

✉️ - info@cobry.co.uk 📞 - 0333 789 0102

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