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No commute, noisy co-workers, or cubicle walls—there’s a lot of reasons to love working remotely.

“It is about workplace flexibility. It’s about giving our associates the opportunity to be who they are as an individual, whether that is a community member, a spouse or parent, or anything in between,” said Amy Freshman, Senior Director of Global Workplace Enablement at ADP.

But as more people adjust to permanent WFH or hybrid schedules, the reality of living and working under the same roof can start to sink in. It’s easy to lose the distinction between your workspace and home space when the two are intertwined. And when work and life space blurs together, work can start to invade your mental space as well.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this: “People are more productive working at home than people would have expected. Some people thought that everything was just going to fall apart, and it hasn’t. And a lot of people are actually saying that they’re more productive now.”

My wife and I have been working from home together for years. And although there’ve been some hiccups along the way, we’ve settled into a setup that works for us—even with two people trying to set boundaries in the same space.

A clearly defined workspace, no matter if it’s at home or in an office, can bring mental clarity and help you be more productive and engaged.

Here are five tips to create a balanced WFH space that sparks joy:

Designate a workspace

When you work remotely, it’s easy to want to make your entire house your workspace. And while you can move around throughout the day, have one designated space to do the bulk of your work. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does need to be yours. Find a quiet place away from distractions—bonus if you can close a door so you don’t have to look at it after work hours.

Bring in lighting and organization

Lighting is one of the biggest factors in our ability to focus and stay positive and productive. Even if your workspace is next to a window, bring in additional lighting. A brighter space can reduce eye strain and increase creativity. Add organization to your space to make sure everything has a place. When your work area is tidy, your mind is tidy.

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Check your tech

Make sure everything can be easily plugged in at your workspace and that you have a strong internet and phone signal. If not, you may need to relocate your workspace or invest in better technology. There’s nothing worse than spotty internet when you get in the work zone. Make sure your tech setup is comfortable for long days and invest in a quality mouse, multiple monitors, and whatever gadgets you need to be comfortable and connected. Many companies are paying or reimbursing employees to set up home offices, so check what’s available from your company.

Set boundaries

As you settle into working remotely, set boundaries for yourself and communicate them to your co-workers and anyone you live with. Boundaries can be around what time you’ll start and finish work, what breaks you’ll take during the day, and where you’ll work (say no to sitting on your bed). Boundaries define your physical and mental workspace and help you stay in control of your office and schedule instead of it controlling you. With more people working remotely, CEOs have doubled down their efforts to create work boundaries. Dan Springer, CEO of DocuSign, said this: “Working from home makes it much harder to delineate work time from personal time. I encourage all of our employees to have a disciplined schedule for when you will work, and when you will not, and to stick to that schedule.”

Have somewhere else to go

We’ve found it incredibly helpful to take time and space throughout the day to be on our own. Even if you live and work in a one-bedroom apartment, find somewhere you can go to physically and mentally separate yourself from work during the day. It can be another room, an outdoor space, or a local café—anywhere you can step away to clear your head and come back with a fresh perspective. As you create a balanced WFH space, also keep in mind other areas in your home that can serve as remote “break rooms”.

Flexible work is the future of work, so we all need to learn to create balanced spaces that allow for our best work and creativity. Building an environment that sparks joy can help you grow your career and business—no matter where you are in the world.

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Now more than ever we need to take a step back to define what it means to be a leader and what great leadership looks like. But this isn’t easy to do. In fact, man business leaders struggle with this. You cannot become and build what you don’t define. In the PDF you will get a framework you can follow and also see how some of the world’s top CEOs define leadership. Click here to get the PDF.

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