How To Be Your Company’s Most Annoying Google Drive Collaborator

If your colleagues want to be all “modern”, they can upload your Word document to their Google thingy on their own

Photo by Pedro Santos on Unsplash

In case you missed it, technology is “in” and Google Drive is all the rage lately. Gone are the days of using Microsoft Word; your company uses Google Drive now. Say goodbye to email; you can Slack your colleagues instead. Skype? What’s that? You’ll be using Google Meets and Zoom going forward. (Now is probably a good time to stop typing with only your pointer fingers, but I digress.)

Although we’re changing the way we work, we’re not changing the amount of pointless documents we produce. Although nobody will ever read them again, we’ll spend weeks making them, and dozens of people will collaborate on them. So, hit ALT+F4 on Microsoft Word, open up a browser window, and prepare to earn the title of “Most Annoying Google Drive Collaborator”.

1: Refer to Google Docs as “Word”, Google Slides as “PowerPoint”, and Google Sheets as “Excel”.

Even better: use them interchangeably, and say “email” instead of “share”. For example, say “I’m going to email you a PowerPoint!” when you really mean you’re going to share a presentation in Google Slides.

2: Better yet, actually email a Word document. If your colleagues want to be all “modern”, they can upload it to their Google thingy on their own.

When someone invites you to collaborate on something in Google Docs, download the document to your computer, open it in Microsoft Word, make changes, save it, and email it back to them as a .docx file. They’ll appreciate the time you took to go through all these steps.

3: Offer to make the presentation for your company’s next big meeting. Do it in PowerPoint, and then copy and paste to Google Slides.

This way, you don’t have to do it twice. You simply make the presentation in PowerPoint, highlight all of it, and copy+paste. If you really want to get fancy, you can copy and paste it all into the first slide and ask IT to help you organize it. They won’t mind. After all, they’re here to help you learn about technology!

4: Forget to share the document before a long vacation.

Instead of actually collaborating with people, make the document on your own in a veil of secrecy. Pat yourself on the shoulder as you finish it up on the Friday before your vacation begins. Then, sign off without sharing it and turn off your email and Slack notifications.

5: Forget how to share documents at all.

When you return from your vacation (after you spend 2–3 days catching up on emails, of course), assure your colleagues that you’ll share the document. Click the “Share” button on the top left and wait for the page to time out. Then, contact IT and ask them if they can share the document for you. (It’s okay if you don’t tell the truth; instead of telling them you don’t know how to share the document, just tell them you’re too busy to do it.)

6: Learn how to share documents, but share them as “View Only”.

This is important. You do NOT want other people typing inside of your document, especially if they try to type at the same time as you. It could cause you to get the blue screen of death on your computer. Worse, you could get viruses and spyware from your colleagues, making it so that they can see you through your webcam.

Image by Akhristov at English Wikipedia. Public Domain.

7: Use comments and action items.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of the Google Drive interface, be sure to use comments and action items as often as possible. Simply highlight a passage, click “Comment”, and type something like “What do you think???”. Type the + or @ symbol to tag colleagues — even ones who don’t have access to the document. Then, repeat step 4 when they say they can’t see your comments.

8: Re-open closed comments to reply to them. It’s the polite thing to do.

The best part is that your whole team will receive an email notification when you do it. For example, comment “done!” after you address an action item. Someone else will comment “thanks!” and close out the comment. You can re-open the comment to type “you’re welcome!” (Everyone will get another email notification.) Someone will close the comment again. Re-open it to type, “Good work, team!” This is what good collaboration looks like.

9: Use suggestion mode.

Suggestion mode is great for making suggestions that collaborators can either accept or reject. It creates a pop-up-style comment for each suggestion you make so your colleagues don’t forget to approve them. Pro tip: if you notice that someone put 2 spaces after each period instead of 1, you can fix them all in suggestion mode so that your team sees a different pop-up for each and every sentence.

10: Duplicate the document each time you make changes so you can save your previous versions.

It’s like the new way to do “Save As”. Click “File” → “Make a copy”, and then give your new document a name, such as 2020-10-16-proposal-v3-final-UPDATED2. This way, you don’t confuse your colleagues and they know exactly which version of the document to open. (Don’t forget to repeat step 4 after you make the new version.) By making 10 versions of the same document, you’ll show everyone that you’re a quick adopter of new technologies and that you understand the importance of version control.

Learning new things can be difficult sometimes, so it’s okay to annoy people in the process.

Once you’ve mastered the art of using Google Drive, you can move on to more advanced technological concepts, such as using formulas in your spreadsheets and hitting “reply” instead of “reply all” in your email correspondence.

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