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Working from home comes with a host of advantages, including being able to work without any supervision or micro-management. However, as most remote workers will agree, working away from the office for extended periods can leave one feeling irrelevant with little to no motivation. However, to remain productive and effective while working from home, you’ll need to learn how to stay relevant and motivated.

To stay relevant and motivated while working from home, you’ll need to actively communicate with colleagues, participate in work projects online, remain active on social media, keep up with industry news, and look for ways to further your career. You can also change your work environment.

If you’re still reading, chances are you’re looking for ways to improve your work-from-home environment and become more effective. Read on to learn more about how you can stay relevant and motivated while working from home.

Embrace Your Virtual Office

Most people working from home are usually linked to the office through apps like Skype, Slack, ClickUp, Asana, and other project management software, which allow employees to receive work-related tasks, collaborate with other team members and make inquiries.

If you want to feel more involved at work despite working from home, becoming competent with these tools might come in handy. The more you use work-related apps and platforms, the more likely you’ll feel like part of the larger team.

By using project management apps and other social apps approved by your employers, you’ll get the chance to interact with team members, ask questions, and even make suggestions to senior personnel.

Make the most of these apps by ensuring you are an active participant. Being active means communicating with team members and providing feedback whenever required. Remember, the more active you are on such platforms, the more you’ll feel relevant and valuable while working from home.

Collaborate With Other Team Members

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should shut out your colleagues and operate as a loner. As revealed in a study by Harvard Business Review, employees working together to achieve their goals are usually more motivated and committed to the cause.

Similarly, you should partner with your work colleagues and help each other out. Instead of working on solo projects, try as much as you can to involve a colleague or two. You’ll soon notice that working as a team gives you more drive to complete your tasks by performing at a higher level.

By collaborating with other team members, you’ll naturally start to feel important, especially if you decide to outsource tasks within the group. Although the team will be working remotely from home, regular communication and updates will allow each team member to feel relevant and useful.

You should make a habit of involving your colleagues in various work projects. Try consulting with in-house experts in case you’re experiencing difficulties and be available for any colleagues who might need your assistance.

Set Up and Attend Physical Meetings

Granted, working from home can be fun, especially during the first few months. However, over time, you’ll soon start to miss the work environment and the noise (and banter) that come with working from a central place.

The good thing is that you can set up physical meetings with colleagues despite working from home. For instance, if your unit is working on an intense, highly demanding project, you can organize a physical meeting to interact with team members and discuss issues better.

Try creating a schedule for physical meetings

You can start by meeting once or twice a month and edit the schedule along the way to suit your time and needs. Attending physical meetings will not only make you feel relevant and part of a functional group, but it will also boost your overall motivation levels.

Avoid skipping work-related meetings, especially those that aren’t deemed as mandatory. To feel relevant and motivated, you should always make an appearance to remind people that you’re still there and actively committed to the cause.

Although you might be unable to attend all physical work meetings, attending the most important ones should make you feel relevant and part of the team.

Have a Work From Home Schedule

While it might be challenging to set up a work-from-home schedule, creating a clear and concise one will make you feel relevant while maintaining your motivation levels. A lack of schedule or a definite work pattern means you’re likely to lag behind and miss crucial work milestones.

Remember, although you’re working from home, you’ll still need to meet goals in a timely fashion. The more you delay or procrastinate the more demanding tasks, the more likely you’ll become unmotivated and disinterested in completing the tasks.

If possible, try setting up an official work schedule that keeps you active during the official working hours. You can even create a schedule with another friend or colleague who works from home to motivate each other.

A schedule is important in ensuring you stay motivated since it reduces the chances of missing critical deadlines. A schedule helps to make you feel organized, focused, and important. Instead of feeling like an isolated employee working remotely, you’ll feel like a dedicated team member looking to achieve set goals.

Focus on Your Goals

It’s easy to lose motivation when working without a clear goal in mind, which explains the importance of setting up both personal and professional goals, especially when working from home.

Setting up professional goals helps you to remain relevant in the workplace since you’ll be aligning your goals to what is expected of you. In fact, understanding (and attending to) your professional obligations allows you to create a good professional rapport with your bosses, which is vital in your bid for a raise or promotion.

Personal goals help to maintain your motivation levels. It’s normal to feel unmotivated once in a while, especially when working from home without changing the environment. However, by understanding your goals and individual targets, it will be possible to overcome hurdles and refocus on your job.

When setting personal goals, ensure you always aim higher. If you achieved a certain target or level last month, set the goal slightly higher in the new month to challenge yourself. Remember to set realistic goals as aiming too high might leave you disappointed, especially when you fail to hit your targets.

Go the Extra Mile

It’s easy to feel irrelevant and easily dispensable when working from home. However, despite work performance, your job security also depends on the value you bring to the team. As a result, you should always give more than is expected of you.

How can you do more while working at home? Overworking yourself isn’t advisable, but if you can take one or two extra tasks to supplement your pre-existing workload, you’ll know that your bosses will be pleased with you.

Volunteer to work as part of the counseling committee, organize a virtual meeting among employees, or even send some pending email responses.

There’s always something more that your team members can do, and the best part is that your bosses or supervisors will soon notice your efforts, which can go a long way in boosting your profile in the organization.

Going the extra mile also means checking up on your colleagues and assisting them when stuck. Being involved in several work activities and projects can certainly make you a standout employee within the organization. However, while you might want to do more than expected, avoid taking too much responsibility than you can handle.

Invest in Your Career

Working from home doesn’t mean you abandon all your career objectives. You might start to feel irrelevant and stuck in a rut when you stay in the same place for months or years without any form of growth. But by taking a new course to further your skills, you’ll feel motivated and eager to continue delivering at work.

Luckily, there are several ways to invest in your career. You can take short courses online at the comfort of your home, or you can even attend virtual (or physical) seminars to polish up on some of your skills.

The trick is to work on being a better professional, which will allow you to add more value to your team.

Linking with industry experts and learning from mentors will also help you stay relevant and focused at work. Therefore, even though you’re working from home, make regular conversations with experts a habit, and you’ll be shocked at how important you’ll become at work despite working remotely.

Stay Informed About Trends and Industry News

It’s easy to get lost in your routine when working from home. Unlike working in offices where colleagues can discuss industry trends and developments, working from home translates to spending several hours in isolation, which means you can easily get left behind, especially when it comes to trending news and industry regulations.

However, by joining online forums and participating in online discussions about your industry, you’ll become more confident about your role and relevance to your organization. You can even attend trade fairs and conferences to interact with like-minded individuals.

The whole idea is to remain in touch with your career by seeking to interact more with colleagues, competitors, and regulators. Knowing more about your job and the industry trends will help you stay relevant and motivated.

Change the Work Environment

Working from the same place all the time, without a change in environment, can significantly reduce your enthusiasm towards work. Your motivation levels gradually reduce as you spend more time enclosed in your home office. But to avoid this, you can create a healthy pattern of working in another place besides your home once in a while.

One advantage of working from home is that you don’t have to report to work or leave the office at specified times. This allows you to head out and work from your preferred location, which might be the coffee shop, local library, or even a co-shared workspace.

Switching the work environment every now and then allows you to detach from working from home and develop a positive attitude towards work.  And although not mandatory, you should try linking up with like-minded people who also need a change in their work environments.

By changing the work environment every now and then, you’ll be well-positioned to maintain your motivation levels and ultimately improve your overall performance at work.

Dress Up for Work

Dressing up while working from home is a proven way to increase motivation and enthusiasm towards work. While working in your pajamas might be fun at first, it can get boring (and draining) over time, which can negatively affect your attitude towards work.

To increase your motivation while working from home, try to dress up as if you were reporting to the office. Put on your best set of clothes and dress the part. Dressing up will make you more comfortable, especially when attending video meetings.

You can even plan your outfit a day in advance, similar to someone going to the office. Preplanning your outfit will help maintain your enthusiasm towards work, especially on days you intend to wear your favorite outfits.

According to a Forbes article, dressing up plays a huge role in boosting confidence, which significantly increases an individual’s chances of achieving career goals. Therefore, as you continue to dress up for work (despite working from home), your motivation levels are likely to rise. You’re also likely to feel a lot relevant and invested in your work when you regularly dress up in the right, confidence-boosting attire.

Organize Your Workspace

Working in a disorganized space is among the leading causes of work-related stress. You might waste time, become anxious, and also less productive when you spend hours working in a messy home office.

If you want to remain motivated while working from home, having a neat, well-organized office is highly recommended. Besides being able to locate items and files faster, neat desks and offices also allow you to comfortably participate in video calls without the fear of appearing disorganized.

Since you’ll be working in your own space while at home, try customizing the office to suit your taste and preferences. It could be painting the wall, hanging your favorite pieces of art, or adding a tasteful piece of furniture. The trick is to make the space vibrant and exciting, which can make you excited about working every day.

Embrace New Styles of Working

It’s very easy to get caught up in a work-from-home routine, meaning that you might struggle to adjust to early morning or late night work calls (due to time differences). But the truth is, the more work-related meetings you skip, the less relevant you’ll feel.

So you’ll need to keep your guard up, especially when it comes to adjusting to new company policies.

People working from the office are always under supervision, making it easier to adjust to various types of changes. However, as a remote worker, it’s critical to take time to learn and adapt to the new styles of work that might be introduced at work.

For instance, if the senior management elects to change from one project management software to another, it’s your duty to learn more about the new software. Failing to transition with the entire workforce might make you feel irrelevant and easily replaceable.

Instead of avoiding change, try to accept new recommendations and policies and adjust as soon as possible. The faster you adjust to corporate changes, the better your chances of learning and increasing your efficiency.

Make Suggestions and Recommendations

People working from home are usually at increased risks of becoming passive employees, which can greatly affect work performance and motivation. Instead of sitting back and allowing other staff members to dominate in work-related discussions, try to participate actively, relaying your suggestions and recommendations.

The best way to approach work-related passiveness is by participating in meetings and forums. If you feel that senior management made an error somewhere, take it upon yourself to raise your concerns, albeit in a respectful and professional manner.

A great way to stay relevant at work is by participating in company policies and issues as frequently as you can. Provide feedback whenever needed, and never shy from raising any complaints that you might have.

Reflect on Your Performance

Conducting regular assessments and reflections will help improve your overall work performance. According to a Harvard Business School study, conducting regular assessments on job performance helps staff improve and develop a deeper connection to their tasks.

After how long should you assess your performance? Ideally, you should assess your performance as frequently as you can. But since daily reflection can prove problematic, setting aside a couple of hours every week for personal reflection can help you understand the areas that need improvement.

As you continue to reflect, you’ll naturally become more in sync with your goals and work-related responsibilities, making you a more valuable staff member in the long run. Regular reflections will also help you to stay motivated, especially once you start improving gradually.

Take Pride in Your Achievements

Working from home comes with a lot of isolation. Unlike the office environment where a team member’s achievements can be posted on the noticeboard or talked about for weeks, it’s easy to forget or undermine crucial achievements when working from home.

To feel relevant despite working from home, make a habit of talking about your achievements. Keep your awards close to your home desk and post every single achievement on social media (if you don’t mind). You can also host lunches or dinners as a way of celebrating your work achievements.

Ensuring your friends and family are aware of your success will help create a feeling of relevance and importance.

Your motivation levels might start to decrease if you don’t appreciate even the tiniest of achievements. But if you constantly talk about your achievements and take pride in them, you’ll naturally become determined to achieve more success.

Befriend Some Colleagues

Although this tip might not work for everyone, it can go a long way in making you feel relevant and important. Having a friend or two at the workplace might help reduce work-related stress and pressures.

You’ll mostly be working alone from home, which might make you feel isolated and even stressed out when working under pressure. Sharing your plights, worries, and issues with trusted colleagues will almost certainly lift your moods, especially if they share the same sentiments.

Together with your friends, you can plan for work meetings, take hikes, strategize and even mobilize other co-workers to push a positive work agenda. You’ll also feel like you belong more when you have colleagues checking up on you regularly.

Don’t Avoid Your Immediate Supervisors

It’s only natural to avoid unnecessary conversations or meetings with your bosses. But if you want to stay relevant in your organization despite working from home, then you might need to face your fears and interact with your bosses every once in a while, especially when it’s necessary.

Granted, you shouldn’t talk to your bosses or superiors if you don’t have any burning issues. Instead of targeting the senior-most managers, establish a good rapport with your immediate supervisor. The best way to do so is by asking questions or contributing with relevant suggestions.

The more you establish a professional relationship with your immediate superiors, the more you’ll feel important to the greater cause. Remember to consult with your bosses only when necessary so that you don’t end up coming off as a nag.

Competition Is Important

One of the best ways to stay motivated while working from home is to try keeping up with your competitors, which might be one of your high-performing colleagues or even a standout employee from a rival organization.

Healthy competition keeps you on your toes, which in turn can improve your work performance and relevance to your organization. Observe your competitors and look at some of their positive traits, which will allow you to work on your weaknesses and develop your skills even further.

Competing with others also keeps your motivation levels high as you constantly want to keep up with your rivals (in a positive way). However, when competing with others, remember to stay true to yourself instead of mimicking or copying what others do.

Take a Break

Sometimes, the only way to maintain your motivation levels is to take a break and re-energize. The length of a break depends on your work schedule and availability. Either way, you should try to take a break every once in a while. Even taking one weekend off of work can make a huge difference to your overall motivation levels.

When taking a break, try not to focus on work-related activities. Instead, think of it as your reward for the hard work you’ve been putting in. Treating your break as a reward will also help you feel relevant and gear up for your return to work.

Always try to take breaks whenever the opportunity presents itself because, if you don’t, chances are you might end up overwhelmed and disinterested in your work. But a short (or long break) every once in a while will lift your moods up and get you psyched up for work again.

Embrace Video Conferencing

Apps like Zoom and Skype, among other video conferencing tools, have changed the corporate landscape. You can easily take part in meetings and seminars without the need to be physically present.

Embracing video conferencing tools will make you stay relevant at work, making you feel as if you’re part of a community when interacting with colleagues and senior management. While applications like zoom can also bring about anxiety, preparing for the meetings well in advance will help you feel comfortable and confident.

Never attend any zoom or skype meetings without prior planning, as failure to set up your zoom area will leave you anxious and nervous, thus affecting your overall performance.

Take time to set up your work area and dress up. Remember, these meetings are usually a great way to interact with others, so it’s best to appear organized and focused on the task at hand.

Make the Most of Your Free Time

It’s usually hard for people working from home to plan their work and break schedules. But to remain successful and effective while working from home, you’ll need to create time for your breaks.

Making the most of your breaks will help you to feel and stay relevant, especially if it’s a well-deserved one. Do something constructive like taking a walk, listening to music, or working on a hobby, as long as it’ll help freshen you up.

Your motivation levels greatly hinge on what you do with your breaks. Ideally, your breaks should involve activities that excite you and that you’ll look forward to as you’re working.

Winding Up

It’s normal to lose motivation and feel less important while working from home. However, as we’ve established throughout the article, it is possible to stay relevant and productive even when working from home for extended periods.

The first step should be owning your work and taking the necessary steps to improve your skills and work performance. Ensure that you collaborate with other team members and make the most of social and video conferencing tools that are used in your organization.

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