We all get them, you know, the email attachment. “Oh, wait, that is an older version of the template. Let me email you the latest version.” Agg.ra.vat.ing.

People! Have you heard of Google Drive or One Drive? This isn’t even a generational problem. It’s an indiscriminate pandemic. My experience has been that from my teenage kids working on their English paper to my Baby Boomer boss sending the latest draft of the new policy proposal, all ages and walks of life have their head in the sand regarding this great technology called “collaborative documents.”

You see, when you have a Google or Microsoft account you can open up Google Drive (often just referred to as Google Docs) or One Drive (Microsoft’s equivalent to Google Docs) and start writing on a document in your web browser of choice. You can then “share” that document with anyone and they can begin to contribute to that same document at the same time you are writing on that same document. Crazy right? Then we get out of the business of “which version is the latest” or “what is the name of that version you have?”

Many companies now have an enterprise license to GSuite (Google) or Office365 (Microsoft), which again, are just fancy ways of saying “collaborative documents” for those of us that might not use anything beyond the basics of those softwares. But, even if your company doesn’t have a site license for those programs you and your colleagues and still create free accounts and utilize the basic features like creating an online document and working together on it simultaneously instead of sending out version after version of attached documents.

And here’s a pro tip for you. When your boss gives you a deadline for that memo that needs to go to the executive team, send him a link to the document on the deadline day even if the draft isn’t complete. You met your boss’s deadline and you can still work on the draft even though the link is in his or her email inbox since they aren’t going to look at it for another two days anyway.

Published by Jerrod Guddat

I love learning, collaboration, and improving workplace performance. You can usually find me reading a book or opposing points of view on the internet. I typically assume my ideas are flawed until proven otherwise. :-)

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