Changing Your Outlook on Gmail for Work: Five Actions Returners Can Take Today

A common question we hear from returning women is around using Gmail and Google Drive for work. Before taking a career break, many women used Outlook as their primary email, calendar and collaboration tool. The possibility of returning to a completely different system is understandably daunting. That’s why at reacHIRE, we are passionate about making sure our candidates are confident, comfortable, and ready to go on day one.

As a millennial, I grew up using Gmail. There has never been another other platform for me, and I’m not alone. Since Gmail was introduced to the market in 2004, more than 5 million businesses have made the switch to Google, with the majority converting in the last 5-10 years. Chances are, if you’re re-entering the workforce, you may get hired by a company that uses Google’s G Suite for business.

Outlook customers are constantly switching to Gmail because it’s an efficient interface for collaboration. While they may experience a few hiccups along the way as they get accustomed to a different way of working and collaborating, ultimately, the choice to switch should not be feared, as users will eventually grow to appreciate the simplicity of Gmail as well as the wide array of features.

Here are just a few things to love:

The Cloud – The flexibility that comes with Google’s easy-to-use platform contributes to increased productivity. Backing up important files to an online storage system helps prevent loss of data, and allows multiple people within a company to manage documents at once.

Better Organization – Filters, sorting, labels and folders let you categorize emails and store information in personalized ways that work best for you.

Instant Messaging – Chatting back and forth with other team members makes collaboration easy and gets questions answered quickly for greater efficiency. No more awkwardly knocking on someone’s door to ask if they have a second to discuss a quick question — just send a chat message and they’ll respond if they can.

Google Drive – This is where the G Suite really struts its stuff. Connected to your email, you can easily create, edit and share documents (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) in real time. No longer do you have to email large documents and wait for others to make changes and send them back. You simply invite them to view or edit your work. You can see who’s editing and what changes they are making. There’s also an integrated chat function to live message others from within the document. I’ve found this very useful for communicating background and context while someone is in editing mode. The Google Drive mobile app also lets me review and edit documents on my phone when I’m away from desk.

While Outlook does have these capabilities in some form or another, they are not as user friendly or developed as Gmail.

But don’t take my word for it – try it yourself! Set up your own personal Gmail account and play around with the email capabilities and Drive offerings.

Here are 5 simple actions you can do today to change your outlook and prepare for a new way of working:

  1. Get a Gmail account and start sending emails. Play around with customized email settings and practice embedding links and attaching images. Try adding labels for sorting and classifying emails.
  2. Add events to your Google calendar and send invites to friends. Utilize the Google live video features to have a face to face conversation.
  3. Upload pictures to Google Drive and create folders to organize them.
  4. Create a slides document and make a presentation with a theme and different layouts.
  5. Create a sheets document and invite several friends to edit and collaborate.


Have a question or comment? Email us from your new Gmail account at and connect with us on social to tell us what you think about making Gmail work for you.