Workplace productivity is a bit of a buzzword. It seems like everyone is looking for a quick solution to make employees more productive at work. But I’ve found that the best way to boost office productivity is by removing barriers to communication.

You need to make it easy for teams to collaborate and focus on the work—not on the frustrations that come with sluggish or outdated software.

Here are some lesser­ known Google Apps features that can get you started on your journey towards a more productive, happy, work environment:

1. Cut down on Inbox bloat
Instead of sending internal emails that might never get read—or get read too late—try using Google Hangouts for internal communications. Hangouts are searchable right in Gmail, so you won’t lose any part of the conversation. You can chat one-on-one with colleagues, or invite more people to a Hangout for a team meeting.

gmail screenshot, under point no. 1     vs. text for point no. 1 (1)    hangouts screenshot, under point no. 1

2. Skip “Previous Versions” conflicts
Use Google Docs instead of emailing or uploading MS Word documents. Google Docs automatically saves your work, and you can also view or revert to previous versions if needed. Say goodbye to sync conflicts and the risk of ever using the wrong version of a document!

3. Oops, sent an email too soon?
Under Settings in Gmail, click on the “Labs” tab to search for a very handy feature: the Undo Send. If you’ve just fired off an email and spotted an error, you can quickly recall it, edit it and then focus on the next task—not on how you just told your boss you made a good “but” instead of “buy”.

undo send screenshot, under point no. 3

4. Say “no” to uploading and “yes” to better security
If you use a file sharing app such as Dropbox, you may want to rethink that. Google Docs functions in much the same way, but gives you more control over who sees your folders and files. You can revoke access to company property on Google Apps almost instantaneously, and put away fears of former employees damaging your brand.

5. Be connected, anywhere and everywhere
Portability is a huge factor in workplace productivity. Some employees do their best work in transit, some are remote workers, and others might have a work­ from­ home emergency, but everyone can access office calendars, email, docs, and hangouts from any computer or mobile device.

Do you have any questions about using Google Apps to boost workplace productivity?

Ask Peter in the comments!