2020 will be remembered for many things. COVID-19 has shaken up almost everything, and flooded day-to-day life with trepidation, confusion, and ‘new normals’.

One change likely to hang around longer than the year itself? Remote working. From 2010 to now, the number of people working remotely has grown by 400%. In Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least partially. So, it is likely we will see a big increase in employees going freelance over the next year.

But how will they cope? It is one thing to set up a website and another to actually find clients and thrive when working from home. But if you are new to this home working thing, you do not have to struggle. You can find ways to supercharge your productivity and stay motivated and engaged from your sofa.

Whether you are a manager or a junior worker, part of a sprawling team, or a lone freelancer; here are some tips that will help you stay on top of your home-working game. 

Make a schedule

This may not sound like the most creative suggestion, but you need to keep some semblance of normality, and for a lot of us, that is best achieved by maintaining a simple schedule. But it is how you fill your schedule that is creative.

Now that your ‘morning commute’ is just a walk from your bedroom to your lounge, you can use your usual commuting time for something else.

By waking at the same time as you would if you were going into the office, you can retain a sense of your pre-pandemic routine but gain so much more free time. You could use that time to meditate, journal, exercise, or just take a moment with your family.

Claiming the day for yourself as soon as you wake up will help to keep you feeling focused, relaxed, and motivated throughout the day. That’s a damn sight better than rolling from your bed to your laptop with half-open eyes.

Reward yourself at little milestones

Back in your office days, when you finished a task you would probably go for a break. You would get up to make a drink or visit a coffee shop to treat yourself with a nice mochaccino with cinnamon sprinkles.

But, unless you have a snazzy home espresso machine, that isn’t going to happen in your kitchen. Even so, you should try to keep up a rewarding habit. With no colleagues to celebrate the little wins with, you need to find other ways to get those boosts.

Whether it is taking fifteen minutes to read an article online, watch a cat squeeze itself into an obscenely small box on YouTube, or going for a short walk, make sure you reward yourself for work-based milestones. Your achievements still mean as much as they would in the office, even without the fanfare of others to celebrate them with.

Keep up traditions, like after-work drinks

It is easy to feel disengaged from your team when you are separated by so much distance. Weekly perks or socials like after-work drinks seem like a distant memory and make even the most socially-awkward office mixers seem appealing. 

Using remote video platforms, you can keep up these traditions. Not only will it give you a motivation boost to get to the end of the week and be rewarded with a glass of something other than water, but it will also make room for that all-important ‘watercooler’ chat between colleagues, essential for team building and letting off steam.

It should come as no surprise that remote workers have weaker relationships with colleagues than those who work face-to-face – and when we are presented with a pandemic that has stopped all but essential contact, this means entire teams can rapidly fragment.

Treat working weeks, birthdays, and end of projects the same way you would if you were working together in the same space. It is not only important for motivation, but it will also boost employee morale and help to strengthen relationships.

The wildcard

It might feel like you have little time or motivation to do much ‘outside of work’. But, indulging in your own creativity can improve your mental wellbeing – and when you feel good, you do better work. 

Start that blog, online diary, or satirical film review site you have been thinking about. All you need is a simple and cheap website builder, a good web host, a domain name, and your unique ideas.

Once set up, you can add to your new online empire whenever the mood strikes you. Just make sure you do not pressure yourself to do spectacular things with it. You do not want your pet project turning into another source of worry.

To sum things up 

Keeping motivated while working away from your colleagues can be hard - especially with all the distractions that can be thrown up while working from home. But by employing some of these methods, you can help center your mind before work, keep focused on your work during the day, and celebrate the big and little wins with your now virtual teammates.