Google Docs Saves Money And Time


And why you will never use it

Think about how many meetings happen in your business / organisation. Here’s a guaranteed social solution to save both time and money :

Lets say that one person spends about 2 hours a week writing minutes / notes relating to meetings they attended (that’s outside of actually attending the meeting in the first instance).

We will be generous and say this person gets 4 weeks off a year and therefore that’s 48 weeks x 2 hours = 96 hours spent per year on the taking of notes and minutes related to meetings.

This equates to £1,632 (the average wage in the UK is about £24,000 a year / £17 an hour approx).

Now, here’s the solution—at every meeting someone just creates a Google Doc, adds the attendees in as contributors and writes the notes / minutes there and then.

The impact this would have is :

  • no need to go back to the desk and write the minutes up
  • no need to send emails out with the attached minutes as the participants already have access to them
  • no need to print the minutes out for distribution (saving more time / money / trees)
  • no need to send emails out if someone makes an edit as people will be able to see on the document itself

(If you don’t know what Google Docs is then check out the helpful video below) :

Totally realise the above calculation is rougher than a badgers undercarriage (numbers are really not my strong point) but you get the idea.

Do a quick number crunch and see how much time you could save yourself if you switched to using google docs and eliminated the accumulative time currently spent on the original method. Then multiply that by the people in your company who do similar things to you. What figure did you come up with?

I’ve been using the simple example above for ages in all our masterclasses / training sessions and yet, hardly any businesses / organisations I know have adopted it.


Well maybe I didn’t communicate it well enough could be one factor. But I think the issue is institutional or cultural.

There is a deeper barrier to adoption for these ideas and the others we share in our sessions, however, the habitat for the innovation habit does not exist.

To cultivate a culture of progression and openness to new ideas is about aligning the motivational factors of the individuals to the purpose of the organisation. If the people are all for new ideas and the company is not, then there is no adoption (and vice versa as well).

This is the biggest challenge to seeing social media being explored and then used.

Inspiring individuals is easy. We’ve been doing that for over five years. But organisations and company wide, now there’s a challenge, one which I’m going to be taking on in my secondment as the Social Media Manager for CORE in Christchurch, NZ.

6 thoughts on “Google Docs Saves Money And Time”

  1. While I agree almost entirely, there’s another factor that you need to consider; the perceptions of data security. The organisation that I work for has acknowledged that there are benefits to collaborative social media solutions, however, they are unwilling to allow access to GoogleDocs and Evernote because it would create loopholes in our networks security systems.

    I don’t know what the solution to this is, but I hope someone sorts it soon.

    1. What specifically are the security issues? Would you be able to provide examples of their perceptions (only because we hear a lot of people saying that and upon enquiring further it’s no more secure than their systems / processes).

  2. A little thing I only just realised recently was that if you create a copy of last week’s minutes it asks you “Do you want to copy the collaboraters” and then you don’t even have to add in the individuals names each week.

    Another £364 a year saved.

  3. I enquired about installing Evernote last week and was told that while it was a useful tool, it breached our network security rules because it would allow data to pass in and out of the network unrestricted. I don’t have enough knowledge to challenge this (which is massively frustrating). I would question the difference between this and email – I could (but don’t) email business sensitive docs to people really easily, but I’m sure that they would have a response to this.

    Does that help at all?

  4. Allanah – another great tip and calculation there. Thanks for sharing.

    Rob – appreciate the follow up and extra information. You’re right in your thinking about the comparison with email. Would be my argument as well. Would also make the point that any employee ever leaves the place of work with a laptop then the same thing is happening. One of two things is happening : either there is an archaic policy in place which doesn’t take into account the social world we’re now in OR your IT department don’t get the funky new platforms available which enable you to do your job better / more efficiently (if so check this blog post).

    It also illustrates my point that the habitat is the biggest barrier…

  5. I completely agree. To be honest, Googledocs has probably saved me more time over the last few years than any other tool I have adopted. It means collaboration is so much easier and there are no more millions of versions of documents floating around. It means information is centrally stored between you and clients and it’s in an easily recognised format. All it needs is a Project equivalent and my life will be complete.

    I agree with Rob however that some large security conscious clients do struggle with it – some organisations have access to it entirely blocked and there are concerns over data safety.

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