The sun is shining, the weather’s warm, and you’re stuck in an office, wishing for a touch of sun on your face and an end to unflattering fluorescent lighting. You want to work outdoors, but you aren’t sure how to make that happen.
Today we’ll look at three different ways to work outside, as well as what’s needed for each one so that you can decide which style of working in the great outdoors is best for you, and which one your boss seems most likely to let you get away with.
The “Take a Break” Outdoor Worker
Most people will fall into this category. They don’t necessarily want to work outside all day long, either because of the nature of their job or because of where they live – can you imagine working outside in Minnesota in February? No thanks.
That being said, a little break from sitting at their usual desk would be welcome and be a great way to break up the day or get a little privacy when working on certain projects. Fortunately, this group of people has the largest range of options.
Assuming you have a portable device to work from, you can set up in most places. My favorite place was always a balcony with a nice view. Having a nice bistro table and chair setup can be perfect for a few hours of work, or you can get something like the balKonzept from rephorm, a balcony flower box cum desk to maximize the available space.
Provided you have mobile connectivity for your device (laptop, tablet, phone), you can even set up in a local park at a picnic table or sling a hammock between two trees and spend a few hours brainstorming ideas while swinging away – wherever you’re the most comfortable and productive for a few hours.
This type of outdoor work is so popular because A) it’s not a regular thing, making it easy to set up wherever you want, and B) if the weather is foul, you just work from your desk and dream of being outside like the rest of us.
The “Let’s Have a Meeting” Outdoor Worker
While not as common as the Take a Break worker, this type of outdoor working is growing in popularity as a way to break up the usual doldrums that so many meetings can result in for the participants. Not unlike the Take a Break worker, this type of outdoor work also allows for flexibility, meaning if it’s raining/snowing/150℉ outside, you just move the meeting back into your conference room.
This type of outdoor work does require a bit more planning and setup since you’ll need to account for various group sizes wanting to use the space. A good solution is an outdoor dining table and chairs that can be left outside. The weather-resistant furniture won’t have to be moved indoors or out depending on where you want the meeting, and getting a larger table with six to eight chairs gives you flexibility on how many people can join the meeting.
The “I Want My Toes in the Sand” Outdoor Worker
Ok, this person probably doesn’t actually have their toes in the sand while working (although if you do, I want pictures and for you to understand how jealous I am), but they do want to spend the majority of their time working outdoors, away from a traditional office.
This is certainly doable, but unlike the other types of outdoor workers, this requires a bit more planning and set up to achieve. So what will you need?
It might seem obvious, but you’re going to need some kind of power source. It’s fair to assume that if you’re working outdoors most of the time you’re either on a laptop or tablet, but even the best of them need to be charged after numerous hours of heavy use. You might not need a constant supply of power (ie: you don’t need to be plugged in all day), but you’ll need a reliable place to plug in your device for that extra boost of juice to get you through the day.
Whether this comes in the form of WiFi, cell service, or something else, it’s almost certain that you will need some type of reliable way to connect at least one of your devices to the internet. Planning ahead for this is one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t lose productivity while trying to access your email or that report you were supposed to turn in an hour ago.
A Place to Sit
If you’re going to spend the majority of time working outside I’d say that working from a park bench or a hammock probably isn’t your best option – they’re great for short bursts, but even I wouldn’t want to spend 8 hours trying to work from a hammock…mostly because I wouldn’t get any work done. You’ll need something that more closely resembles a desk. Make sure you have enough space for your computer and any other accessories you need. A small dining dining table and chair with some cushions should be enough for most people, but get what works for your style of work and the space you have.
If you work in a place where the weather allows you to work outdoors the majority of the time, that’s awesome. It’s also, at some point, going to rain….or be too sunny….or just slightly too warm. When that day comes, you’re going to want something more than a small table with a patio umbrella over it.
I’m partial to covered patios, as they provide shelter from all but the most driving of rain, as well as offer shade against that noon sun, which also keeps your screen from being washed out.
Getting Out of the Office
Getting to spend time outside while still getting work done is a dream lots of people have, and one that, thanks to modern technology, more and more people can take advantage of. It’s a great way to mix up the daily office experience, find a bit of relaxation, and get the creative juices flowing. It also requires a bit more planning than just grabbing a laptop and heading outside, but don’t let that stop you from getting to enjoy a gorgeous day while working on that TPS report.
Have a great outdoor space to work? Show us what you have (email@example.com) and we just might publish the most impressive ones. Bonus points for outdoor offices that aren’t just a coffee shop patio. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to get updates about the blog in your inbox.