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This post was originally posted on the Minds On Design Lab Blog

As a small and distributed “lean” team we place a lot of value in our ability to communicate effectively internally as well as with our clients. Like many other small companies and nonprofits we have yet to find an affordable “silver bullet” solution that meets all of our internal communication needs and so are constantly evaluating our current tools and if new solutions might be better.

 

The Experiment

We recently decided to give Google+ a 3 month run as our primary tool for internal communication. At the end of this time we will decide if it is worth continuing it’s use or continue testing out additional tools. Some of the main elements that appealed to us for use as our core internal communication platform were the following:

  • We were already using Google Apps
  • Google Hangouts for Chat/Video Chat (including small groups)
  • Google+ Private Communities

 

Lessons Learned

So far we are only a little over a month into our experiment but there are a few observations we can already make.

 

Tight Integration

Enjoy that emails, Google+ posts and chat history can all be searched from right within email, assuming you have notifications turned on so you get an email update for posts in the private community. Previously, searching these three types of communications meant going to three different tools with varying level of search capability.

 

More Human Collaboration

The use of Hangouts has made collaborating both easier and more engaging. The ease with which we can video chat while working on documents or screen sharing with multiple people on the fly has been a welcome surprise. In general, it has made many of these tasks previously done in other tools feel more “human”.  We have even started using Hangouts with some of our clients for regular weekly check-ins.

 

Internal Curation

Posts shared in the internal private community have the ability to be grouped into topics as well as include hashtags in a way not accessible outside our group. No more losing track of all the great resources we share with each other. So far, we have yet to find a case where a message meant to be private somehow ended up public. I wish I could say the same for my photos on Facebook.

Mobile

Whether it’s that one of our team members is out of the “office” or just personal convenience we have enjoyed how accessible the various aspects of the platform are via mobile.

We will be sure to report back as our experiment continues.

Would love to hear about any experiences you have had using Google+, or parts of it, for internal communication efforts. Share any thoughts in the comments below.

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