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Preparing for your Relaunch: Workplace Basics

What are the "basics" now?

By Nikki Steingold

Nikki Steingold joined the iRelaunch team in 2011 as Director of Marketing and retired in 2020 as Chief Marketing Officer. During her nearly 10-year tenure at iRelaunch she built the iRelaunch Return to Work Roadmap based on Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin's bestselling book, "Back on the Career Track" (affiliate link) and conceived and lead the development of the award-winning "3, 2, 1 iRelaunch" podcast series. Nikki currently provides pro bono marketing experience for non-profits through Catchafire and is founder of the popular blog "Not Yet Dead."

Depending on the amount of time you’ve been out of the professional workforce, you may feel your familiarity with common office project management tools and other office-related applications is lacking. First, don't be hard on yourself! Keeping up with these technologies can be like shoveling a driveway when it's snowing ... there's always more in the way. Technology is changing every day, and newer (and better?) applications seem to be released every five minutes. Thankfully, with free and accessible online courses, you’ll be up to speed in no time.

Here are some of the basic office management tools you’ll want to re-familiarize yourself with (or get to know now).

Common productivity suites - which will you use?

Right now, the two most common productivity suites for businesses are Microsoft 365 and G-Suite (including Google Apps). These tools allow users to perform common business tasks “in the cloud.” Both suites include apps for document creation, presentations, spreadsheets, team collaboration, video conferencing and cloud storage (your work is saved remotely on Google or Microsoft servers – not on your personal computer.)

Google's G Suite – a productivity suite including Google Apps

Many offices are switching to “G Suite” because of its customization for businesses and office integration. However, most of the popular applications are also accessible from Google Apps. You can be a G Suite expert by learning to use those apps now.

  • Go to the “Learn by Product” section of this page for Google’s free courses on Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Hangouts Chat and Meet, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, and Groups.
  • You could even become “G Suite Certified” for $75.
  • Coursera offers a “Specialization” in G Suite." With enrollment, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate upon completion. While this is not a free certification, you can audit the course for free if you only want to read and view the course content.
  • Udemy – be sure to filter for free classes.

Microsoft Office

Various versions of the Microsoft Office provide different apps (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access) and their online subscription integrates all aspects of the apps with the cloud. The following links are just a sampling of tutorials and/or classes on each of the applications in the Microsoft Office 365 suite.

Product Management Software

Basecamp, Teamwork, Hive, Wrike, Asana, Podio – If these names are new to you, it’s time to get up to speed on the popular project management tools out there. Managing and keeping track of the many projects a team might be working on at any one time, project management software provides a way for teams to keep track of who’s doing what. As remote work opportunities increase, teams rely on project management software to ensure team communication and productivity.

Take a look at these popular project management tools to become familiar with their capabilities and jargon before your next interview.

Getting back to the basics is an important step for relaunchers – not just to build your knowledge base, but to improve your confidence. Feeling mastery over this common office software will help build a foundation for your overall confidence to return to work. Don't be afraid to search for "free classes" and "free tutorials" on any software that you need to learn. There's a good chance you'll find more help than you'd expect.