H/T to Brent Coley for introducing me to this awesome idea! You can check out Brent’s info about his online staff handbook by clicking here.
If you are not a search Google Drive search wizard it can be hard to quickly find important documents. On this page you will learn how you can create a Google Doc that acts as a hub to other documents. This simple tool has transformed the way my teachers access important information in our Google Drive.
Why You Should Use A Hub
1. Many workers spend as much as 20% of their work week looking for internal information that they need to accomplish tasks, whether that’s digging through folders of documents or tracking down a colleague to answer their questions. (source)
2. Think of this doc as a table of contents for your staff. You do not have to include every bit of information like you would a handbook. You just need to link to important docs.
3. Using a Google Doc ensures that your staff always has the current version. No need to publish before staff can see changes!
4. Google Docs are mobile friendly. Most of us do not carry our laptops all day long. We do however have our phones.
5. Categorizing your documents makes it easy to find information.
Examples of Google Doc Hubs
How to make a Google Doc Hub
1. Create a list of documents that you want your staff/students/parents to have access to. If you are struggling with creating this list think about the documents that your staff/students/parents request the most.
2. Organize your documents into different categories. You can organize your docs by departments, type, point person, or any other way that will help your staff quickly find the information.
Creating the Google Doc from Scratch
1. Create a new Google Doc by clicking here.
2. Insert a table. The number of categories you have will determine how many rows and columns you need. I would recommend not making more than three columns. If you make more than three columns the document may become hard to read on a phone.
3. Label each column with a category name.
4. Under each category name create a list of documents. You may want use bullet points to keep everything visually organized.
5. Link the documents in your list to the correct Google Doc. Make sure to double-check sharing settings!
6. If you want to make your hub more visually appealing you can add a logo, change the background color of the page/table, or use multiple fonts etc. Keep in mind that this does not need to be a visually complex document. It is all about making sure that people can quickly find information!
If you do not want to start from scratch I have created several templates that you can use. To use a template click on the links below. You will then be forced to make a copy.
3 Column Template with Primary Documents Section
3×3 Table Template with Primary Documents Section
10 Quick Suggestions
1. Brand your hub! Come up with a fun name so people immediately know what you are talking about when you talk about it. This can be done by the person creating the hub or by polling the staff.
2. Don’t be afraid to say “That’s on the hub.” When you first implement this idea you need to give people a reason to check out the hub. Forcing them to go to the hub to retrieve information will expose them to the larger hub.
3. Make sure that you make your document view only for a majority of the staff. This will prevent information from accidentally disappearing.
4. Give editing access to key people. I gave editing access to my administrative peers, the office manager, and our assistants. You do not want to have to manage this all on your own.
5. Use Incognito mode in Chrome or another account to test all of your links prior to sharing the document.
6. Take suggestions for documents to add. Also, look for trends. If multiple are requesting something then add it!
7. Use this concept for other groups that you work with! If you need help organizing documents in Google Drive create a hub!
8. Use red colored text to identify any updates or new information. A staff member of mine suggested that we do this so viewers of the hub could quickly and easily identify any new or updated information.
9. Create a customized short link and/or a QR code to access the hub. The Google Docs URL is too long to ask someone to type in. Bit.ly allows you to create custom short links.
10. Remember the hub is also for you. Make use of it and let people know you are using it! Modeling is a great way to get buy-in.