🎉 Reclaim is free through 2021 Learn More

ReclaimAI Blog

Productivity tips, calendar hacks, and product updates from the Reclaim team.

5 ways to help your remote teams
March 31, 2020

If you're like most leaders at most companies, an all-remote environment is brand new to you.

Maybe you had a few remote employees before, but now you have hundreds or thousands of people all working from home. Many of these people are flexing their WFH muscles for the first time, and they're having a lot of trouble making the transition.

Something we've heard consistently from our users -- managers and individual contributors alike -- is that they're finding themselves working longer days, forgetting to do simple things like eating lunch, and generally feeling more burnt out without an office to keep their days structured.

You are at the forefront of this challenge. As the people in the org who kept an eye on employee burnout in the past, those signals are now hidden from view. You need new solutions for remote employees to keep them from sliding off the rails.

The calendar sets the rules

We've always believed that your calendar should reflect your priorities, and that it should be a record of what you intend to get done every day. As teams move to working from home, this concept is more essential than ever.

Calendars need to move from loose approximations of our days to a more exact record of how our days are structured. In other words, if it's not on the calendar, it's not going to happen.

Before, we all ate lunch because we saw everyone leave the office at noon. Now, that signal is gone. We also left at 5 or 6pm when we saw others leaving. Again, that isn't happening anymore.

To that end, here are a few tips on making sure your employees are keeping their calendars and workdays under control.

#1: Everybody eats

Taking a break to eat is essential to employee sanity and health. Spending lots more time at home is a strange silver lining within this crisis: we now get moments with our families to do things like eat lunch, making it an even more important thing to make time for.

Yet, as the transition to WFH has begun, we keep seeing tweets like these:

The solution most folks have implemented is to keep a single block recurring on their calendar for lunch. This is a great start, but it has a major flaw: what happens when someone books a meeting at that time?

If you're really diligent about managing your calendar, maybe you'll move your lunch time to the next free slot before it fills up -- but if you forget to do that, you'll be having meetings for lunch that day.

This is exactly why we built LunchBuddy. It looks for time on your calendar between 11:30am and 2pm, plops down a time block, and then automatically reschedules and defends itself as your day fills up.

This is a great way to help your team remember to do the basic thing: eat lunch, every day, even if their schedules are nuts.

#2: Bookend your days

Another thing we're seeing among remote workers is a tendency to stay working much, much later than usual. Some of this is driven by meetings, but a lot of it is driven by a newfound lack of structure. How do you make sure that people tear themselves away from their desks at a reasonable hour?

One tactic we've been using for years is to "bookend" days: that is, have an event at the beginning of your day that you use to catch up on email and pull yourself out of the snowdrift, and another at the end of the day that allows you to knock off your tasks before signing off for the evening.

We've built something that helps a lot with this. We call it Catch-Up Time. It creates couple of anchoring events every day to keep your schedule balanced, both of which flexibly reschedule as interruptions occur. These events give your team focus time throughout the day to prevent emails and Slacks from leaking over into their evenings.

#3: Keep the work-life balance alive

Even as we're not doing many errands these days, the need for work-life balance remains imperative. And, because the schedule is setting the stage for how our days will go, a lack of personal time blocked out on the calendar will inevitably start infringing on that balance.

Months ago, we built a feature called LifeWork that defends events from your personal calendar on your work calendar so that others don't book over them. So if your family has an event on your personal calendar that reminds everyone to take a walk together in the neighborhood or eat dinner together at a certain time, you need to make sure that event is blocked on your work calendar so that you don't neglect it.

Encourage people to book time on their personal calendars for taking breaks, for taking time with their families, and for getting the space they need to be effective and happy.

Remember: they're at home, so their work and personal lives have never been more commingled.

#4: It's ok to take a day

Even as people are canceling vacations, taking PTO / FTO for a day to relax and unplug remains essential to our mental health. Encouraging people to take the time they need, to not shy away from a short vacation away from work, will go a long way.

Reclaim offers stats that track how much personal and PTO time you're getting each week, and can be a helpful aid to making sure people take a breather now and then. While we're at it...

#5: Be intentional

As the calendar becomes the record for where time goes, it's all the more necessary that we analyze and track it regularly. Unfortunately, this is really hard to do manually. In our research, most people don't do it at all, and those that do end up doing it so infrequently that it's hard to make changes in real time.

We're building a lot of new features to help people track where their time is going, but we have some basic stats that help people keep an eye on these numbers so they don't let their calendars get out of control. Your team can use these to measure their own schedules and make changes when things don't look right.

There are a few big questions that even these simple stats answer:

  • Are people getting enough downtime for focused work and breaks?
  • Are people in way too many meetings every day?
  • Are people getting enough personal time to maintain their work-life balance?
  • Are people getting time off regularly enough to get a break from work?

Encourage people to track these metrics and pay attention to them. They can be the difference between someone who burns out and someone who doesn't.

Maintain normalcy in abnormal times

It's imperative that we maintain our routines right now. We need to have WFH schedules that still feel regular, even if the circumstances outside of our homes aren't. We need time with our families and with ourselves, even as we continue virtually going to work each day.

Giving your team a sense of balance, and giving them tools to maintain that balance, is one of the most important things you can do to lead them in this moment.

If you want to learn more about Reclaim, or if you want to look into bringing it onboard for your team, give us a shout.

Top Posts

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Time management experts and real-world data both suggest that making time to read isn’t about forcing it into the nooks and crannies of your schedule. It requires sustainable systems and habits. Here are five practical strategies you can implement immediately to reach your reading goals.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

In this edition of Calendar Heroes, we talk to Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, to learn about her style, tools, and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the leading digital payment companies in the world. Follow Rohini at @rohinip on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

We talk to Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge, to learn about his style, tools, and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet. Follow Connor at @couuor on Twitter and on LinkedIn. 
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day - what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space (and are awesome tools to help make more time in your calendar), there are some key differences to consider in these two calendar automation tools.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

How to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues, and incoming schedulers. Establishing workplace calendar communication is simple, yet it starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had
May 11, 2021

10 Google Calendar Issues You Didn’t Know You Had

Google Calendar is great, but sometimes it's not enough. Here are 10 problems you're probably experiencing, and how to use Reclaim.ai to make them 10 times better.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

If you struggle to do one thing at a time, you're not alone. Here's how to switch to single-tasking to improve your focus.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Blocking time in your calendar is one of the most proactive ways to manage your schedule. Here’s the most popular time blocking approaches. Plus: learn how to use Google Calendars and Reclaim to easily practice time blocking.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track
March 8, 2021

Why You Can’t Focus at Work, and How to Get Back on Track

It's not always easy to achieve deep focus in the modern workplace. Here are evidence-based strategies you can use to improve your focus during the workday.
Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar
March 1, 2021

Time Management for Managers: How to Tame Your Busy Calendar

Battling to find time for your most important priorities? Here are time management techniques for regaining control of your calendar.
Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar
September 1, 2020

Introducing Tasks: your to-do list finally meets your calendar

We just launched Tasks. It's like your backlog and your calendar decided to make it official and get hitched.
Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines
June 26, 2020

Introducing Habits: smart, automatic time blocking for your routines

Struggling to make time for the things that matter in these crazy times? Never fear, Habits are here.
Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix
May 27, 2020

Calendar Heroes: a Q&A with Zachary Smith, Managing Director at Equinix

We had a chance to sit down virtually with Zachary Smith, who founded Packet before it was acquired by Equinix, where he now serves as Managing Director for their bare metal and edge computing business.
Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts
May 11, 2020

Introducing Reclaim Assistant: more flexibility, more smarts

We just launched Reclaim Assistant, a smarter way to get your calendar under control.
The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need
April 23, 2020

The only Google Calendar hacks you'll ever need

Tired of reading posts about Google Calendar hacks and tips that just aren't useful? This is the one for you.
4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home
April 16, 2020

4 new features from Reclaim to help you work from home

If you're new to working from home or working remotely, these new features from Reclaim will help you to keep your sanity intact.
5 ways to help your remote teams
March 31, 2020

5 ways to help your remote teams

Now that your teams are remote, how do you make sure they don't burn out? Here are 5 ways to help your remote teams keep things balanced.
How good is your work-life balance?
February 7, 2020

How good is your work-life balance?

How defended is your work calendar? Here are some numbers that might make you wonder.
Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!
January 24, 2020

Announcing Reclaim LifeWork: sync all the calendars!

We're excited to announce the launch of Reclaim LifeWork. Automatically block time on your work calendar for personal events, and never miss out on life again.
8 tips for running a great product demo meeting
October 15, 2019

8 tips for running a great product demo meeting

Are your weekly demos getting stale? Here are 8 easy ways to make them better.
Google Calendar's working hours feature just got stronger
October 2, 2019

Google Calendar's working hours feature just got stronger

In September, Google made some changes to its Working Hours feature that hint at how it's trying to defend your work-life balance.
Here's how your coworkers manage their calendars
September 18, 2019

Here's how your coworkers manage their calendars

We surveyed 37 workers across different roles to find out more about their calendar management and meeting habits.
How to have fewer (and better) meetings: a sitdown with David Grady
August 21, 2019

How to have fewer (and better) meetings: a sitdown with David Grady

We sat down (virtually) with David Grady of TedTalk fame to chat about his perspectives on meeting hell, how to gracefully decline bad meetings, and where he sees the future of this whole affair going.
How to fix your broken work calendar
August 6, 2019

How to fix your broken work calendar

This handy template and tool gives you a way to take back your time by focusing on what matters.
Time blocking makes your calendar busy (in a good way)
July 16, 2019

Time blocking makes your calendar busy (in a good way)

Want to have a great workweek? Start by blocking time on your calendar.
Why does my calendar suck?
July 8, 2019

Why does my calendar suck?

You're a smart person. You're good at focusing on the right stuff. So why does your schedule still suck?
See more posts

Ready to Reclaim?

Try it out