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25 Google Workspace tips and tricks for small business

three people working together on one laptop
(Image credit: Unsplash)

With over a dozen applications and four management tools, Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite) is a favourite cloud suite option for many small businesses, with Gmail in particular proving to be one of the best email providers in a crowded field.

Given its many features, Workspace may seem a little daunting for users to get to grips with. In truth, its ease of use means there’s nothing to be afraid of. To prove it, we’ve put together a list of Google Workspace tips (G Suite tips) that’ll begin to show you what it’s capable of, and why it ranks among the best Microsoft Office alternatives available.

1. Customize your email address

Google Workspace's webpage discussing Gmail's ability to provide custom email domains

Ensure brand consistency across email addresses (Image credit: google)

As part of Google Workspace, businesses can give staff access to their own Gmail accounts. But to retain professionalism and ensure brand consistency, use Gmail’s option to customise all employee email addresses so that they reflect the company domain.

2. Send meeting invitations 

One example of Workplace’s seamless integration between applications is being able to send meeting invitations via Calendar. Simply hit create, input desired dates and attendees, and watch as invitations are automatically sent through Gmail.

3. Have your agenda sent to you

Google Calendar's homepage

Calendar can send you your daily agenda each morning (Image credit: Google)

Reminder prompts will ensure you don’t miss a meeting, but if you want to be even more organized, head to event notifications in your Calendar settings and choose to have your daily agenda emailed to you every morning.

4. Revise revisions

Google Docs allows up to 10 people to edit a file simultaneously, with up to 200 viewing. If you decide that some newer edits haven’t quite worked, version history makes it easy to switch back to previous iterations of the document. You can even name revisions to locate them more easily.

5. Hide your activity

A standard feature on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides is to track all user activity in the activity dashboard. But if you’d rather limit this, you can do so via the activity dashboard privacy settings under tools. There you’ll see settings to switch off your view history—either for a single document or every time you use Workspace—to ensure you’ll no longer be seen in the activity dashboard.

6. Open Microsoft files

Google Workspace's webpage discussing cross platform file access

Workspace can incorporate Microsoft files (Image credit: google)

A great feature of Workspace is that it allows users to work with Microsoft files, even if they don’t have Office installed. So if someone sends you a Word file, simply save it in Drive - Google's cloud service - open it, and click "Save as Google Docs."

7. Hide the guest list

For public events, you might wish to keep your guest list private so that only the admin can see invitation responses. Simply click edit event and untick "See guest list."

8. Use confidential mode

Gmail has a useful setting that can come in handy if you’re sending sensitive information. Simply activate confidential mode from your Google Admin console and you’ll ensure that those receiving the email won't be able to forward, copy, print, or download the message. 

9. Get a read receipt

If an email is time sensitive, it can sometimes be useful to know that your recipient has read it. This is easily done by clicking the more options button on the bottom right, then selecting "Request read receipt."

10. Undo email send

Gmail's notification window showing how to recall an email

You can recall an email within a set time after sending it (Image credit: Gmail)

Listed the wrong recipient or forgotten an attachment? Don’t panic: Gmail allows you to halt sending an email for up to 30 seconds after hitting send. Simply click the undo popup at the bottom of the page. You can adjust the sending cancellation period in settings.

11. Survey the staff

Want to gauge your staff's opinions on new ideas or business directions? Use Google Forms to generate quick and simple surveys, with responses neatly collated.

12. Send large attachments

Gmail may appear to have an attachment restriction of only 25MB, but you can overcome this by using Drive. Simply save the file in Drive, then select it using the Drive button when composing an email: et voila, you can now send attachments of up to 10GB.

13. Dial in to meetings

Google Workspace's Google Meet webpage

Use Google Meet even without an internet connection (Image credit: Google)

Joining a video conference is easy with a shared link on Google Meet. But what if you don’t have an internet connection? Worry not—every Meet will provide a dial-in phone option. Simply click the more button and find the "Use a phone for audio option" for all key information.

14. Save time typing

When composing an email in Gmail, you can be more efficient by using Google’s Smart Compose and Smart Reply, which use algorithms to offer suggestions on words and phrases. The built-in spelling and grammar check will also reduce typos.

15. Get staff usage data

If your business is new to Google Workspace, Insights can provide handy analytics on staff usage. Admin can get crucial oversight on levels of adoption, collaboration, and productivity, and spot areas where more instruction is required. 

16. Mute conversations

It’s common to be copied into an email chain that is no longer relevant to you, yet continues to flood your inbox. With Gmail there’s an easy fix: simply select mute from the more options button, archiving the conversation away from your inbox.

17. Protect your data

Google Workspace's webpage discussing Google Endpoint

Endpoint oversees all staff devices (Image credit: Google)

Google Endpoint offers vital security management for all staff devices. It means that if an employee loses their phone, you can use Endpoint to remotely lock a lost phone or even wipe it completely, securing your company’s data.

18. Use social media

Workspace’s Currents platform is a remnant of Google+, and is essentially a staff social media platform. Employees can share ideas and post about company successes to keep morale high, a feature that’s especially good for remote workers.

19. Create Chat rooms

In addition to direct messages to contacts, Google Chat’s rooms functionality allows users to curate their own channels based on subjects or teams. Admins can send invitations and restrict entry, with up to 8,000 members permitted.

20. Compile audit reports

Data policies are increasingly important for businesses, and with the Vault archiving tool, you can ensure your data policies are adhered to. With Vault, you can dictate data retention timeframes, restrict user access, and even compile audit reports.

21. Use chat in Gmail

a Gmail inbox window loading on a yellow background

Chat can be used within Gmail itself (Image credit: Gmail)

If your company employees use Chat as their main messaging tool, it’s worth noting that users don’t always need to open the app. Instead, you can use Chat within Gmail itself, keeping all communications in one window.

22. Use shortcuts

Enable keyboard shortcuts with Gmail and Calendar to make using shortcuts simpler and quicker. For example, on Calendar, hitting W brings up week view; D brings up day view; and C creates a new event.

23. Create groups

Save time composing mass communication emails by creating a mailing list in Gmail, known as a group. It’ll save you from having to input the same email addresses time and again. Simply head to your contacts list, select those you want to add, and save the group as a label.

24. Create Heatmaps

For more visible context to your data, use Sheets’ heatmaps function by highlighting your chosen range, then selecting "Color Scale" from the conditional formatting options under the format menu.

25. Create shared folders

Google Workspace's webpage discussing shared folder functionality

Tailor who sees what with shared folders (Image credit: Google)

Tailor who will see what with Drive’s shared folders option, which allows you to select exactly which users can access the folder. You can also restrict access to a single created group (see tip 23 above), or open it up to anyone with a link.

Summary

Now that you’ve got 25 new Google Workspace tips and tricks up your sleeve, you and your employees will be able to reap the productivity benefits of using Workspace to its full potential.