Take Your Work Outside!
How to Set Up an Outdoor Home Office
We all know the numerous benefits of spending time outside. It can reduce stress, improve your mood, boost your energy, and stimulate your creativity. As more and more people are working from home, it is important to keep certain things in mind if you want to take advantage of those warm sunny days and still be productive at work.
Here are a few tips to make your outdoor home office as pleasant and efficient as possible.
Focus on Shady Business
Make sure to sit in a well-shaded area, so that you are protected from harmful UV rays. It might also be a good idea to wear sunscreen and long sleeves. If you are squinting to read your emails, you probably need more shade. Consider adjusting the brightness on your screen and moving to a more shaded area. I found that the best shaded area for me was under a pergola. You can pull the canopy fabric on either side of the pergola and adjust it as the sun moves throughout the day.
Confidentiality Should Not Be Thrown Out the Window
Your conversations during your TEAMS meetings are still considered confidential. Please wear headphones, so you do not disclose any confidential information to your neighbours. Consider Bluetooth headphones or wireless earbuds.
Necessities Are a Must
You will probably need an extension cord to plug your laptop. You will also need reliable Internet connectivity. Or you might need to boost your cell phone signal. If your printer is wireless, this will allow you to print from outside. You most definitely need a good table and an adjustable chair.
Thingamajigs That Make Life Easier
These things are not necessities, but they are good to have. I use a phone pillow that my good friend, Tammy, made for me. It is cute and useful. I also use a clipboard to keep all my papers together, especially when the wind picks up. I like to have a coffee mug and a water bottle (a lid on your coffee cup is a must for me because I do not enjoy little flying insects landing in my coffee). If you like to work late, consider hanging lights from your pergola and an outdoor motion sensor light.
Ergonomics Is Still Key
Make sure your outdoor home office still respects all ergonomic requirements: an adjustable chair, armrests, feet flat on the ground or footrest, back straight, etc. Make sure to have a proper typing position. Ergonomics is important. It increases your productivity. Why? Because you are comfortable. In the long run, poor posture can cause back pain, neck stiffness, headaches, poor circulation, just to name a few of the negative effects of poor ergonomics.
Take Breaks and Keep Moving
Even if you are working outdoors, try to keep a healthy routine. You must not stay in the same position too long. Try to work standing up. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass while you read your report. Stretch your arms, legs, and neck. Take several long breaths. Enjoy that outdoor fresh air and most of all, take regular breaks.
Overall, working outside can be a lot of fun, especially if you have a good set up. My favourite outdoor work environment is under a pergola surrounded by elevated garden planters. It is quiet, peaceful, and I am protected from the sun and wind. One day, maybe I’ll invest in a screened porch or a beautiful gazebo. But for now, I am quite content with what I have.