Why does The Man do things like this?!
June 18, 2013 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Work email just moved/regressed/backwards-evoled from Gmail to Outlook. I feel like it's the 90's all over again. Didn't realize how much my day-to-day efficiency was based on Gmail features. Not inviting a Gmail vs. Outlook tug-o-war, just solutions for a.) possibly somehow inserting Gmail back in the loop so that I can benefit from its functionality while keeping my employer happy by "using" Outlook (slim chance, I realize) or, b.) been-there-done-that-and-here's how-I-survived ideas.
posted by TigerMoth to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Use outlook.com? It has very gmail'ish features.
posted by LeanGreen at 7:08 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Why does The Man do things like this?!

I don't know what industry you're in, but you guys may have been switched to outlook for compliance purposes. So keep in mind that the reason The Man wants you on outlook is so that everything can get logged properly. Keeps the company out of hot water for any regulatory bullshit that may arise.

So for that reason, you might really need to suck it up here and try to make outlook work for you.
posted by phunniemee at 7:09 AM on June 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

Outlook is a client app. You can set up Gmail as the client that points at whatever server Outlook is using. You can even set it up so Gmail appears to be sending as Outlook in its outgoing address.

Alas, this doesn't really work with the calendar function. I was using Outlook for the calendar and Gmail for everything else. But Outlook isn't that bad, so I stopped using both apps, settling on Outlook.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:10 AM on June 18, 2013

Which features, specifically, do you feel like you are missing?
posted by sparklemotion at 7:12 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

In any organisation that I have worked in, getting Gmail anywhere near your work email tends to be grounds for instant dismissal. There is a reason why they don't use Gmail and a reason why they don't want company confidential discussions ending up in the hands of an unapproved third party.

On that basis I would suggest that you have no choice but to suck it up with Outlook. Having said that, Outlook is a powerful beast and it may be possible to replicate what you are doing in Gmail.

What exactly is it that you did with Gmail that you want to do with Outlook?
posted by mr_silver at 7:16 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe The Man (company) does this so that The Man (the NSA, the Chinese, competitors, etc) doesn't read his confidential emails. Also, many companies in many places are required to ensure that they store all emails sent and received for a period of time which is rather easier to do when you control the server.
posted by atrazine at 7:21 AM on June 18, 2013

Make outlook behave like GMail

For me, the best change was to view email messages by conversation, which was the one feature I really missed in Outlook.

Also, you can add a GMail-like "Archive" button to Outlook (you create a macro, which might be forbidden by your company, but it looks like a pretty straight-forward thing that tech folks would get behind).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:23 AM on June 18, 2013 [7 favorites]

I use Outlook at work and Gmail in my personal life. One of the things I really like about Gamil is the ability to archive emails. My workaround for this in Outlook is to create a folder called "Archive" and move misc. emails there. I have a lot of folders and try to move messages out of my inbox and into those so that my inbox isn't as overwhelming.
posted by too bad you're not me at 7:35 AM on June 18, 2013

Is it the use of a browser instead of the full client? Your organization might have Outlook Web Access enabled, and it's not too bad.
posted by jquinby at 7:51 AM on June 18, 2013

If it includes Messenger the 'benefit' of Outlook is that it can generate report on activity states, so your boss can see how often you're in idle or away status.

Changing the view to 'by conversation' and using the web client will help you. And here's one silver lining: at least it's not Lotus Notes.
posted by winna at 8:13 AM on June 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I find Outlook as delivered out of the box severely lacking in functionality, but Clearcontext was a lifesaver.
posted by Runes at 10:19 AM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't know if it'll be any better for you, but I've used Thunderbird before at companies where Outlook ess the official email client. It may be more customizable to be more Gmail-like.
posted by at home in my head at 10:39 AM on June 18, 2013

What specifically did you use in GMail that you can't use in Outlook?

You're probably not going to be able to use GMail as a client unless they've turned on POP3/SMTP protocols (unlikely) or you forward all your messages, which the IT department won't like and could get you in trouble.
posted by cnc at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2013

Outlook has a lot of functionality. It will help a lot of you're explicit about what you want to get done with it. I'd also suggest to IT that a cheatsheet for the migration would be awfully helpful.
posted by theora55 at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2013

Using autohotkey, you can have some of the Gmail-Vi shortcuts. (jk for up and down, # to delete, etc) with this script. This was such a productivity boost for me that it's almost embarrassing.

+1 on the Clearcontext. It's awesome. (specifically it's ability to help you navigate folders and how it will set up a reminder for you if you haven't received a reply to an email. It does a bunch else that I don't use.)
posted by Spumante at 12:58 AM on June 19, 2013

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