While some offices may be opening back up, many U.S. workers are electing to continue working from home either full-time or part-time. One of the advantages of working from home is that there’s no need to be stuck in one spot. From late spring to early fall you could turn your own backyard into an ideal home office. Here are just a few tips, tricks, and factors to consider when it comes to working in the great outdoors.
When picking a space to work, scope out your backyard and find the coolest spot you can. Working in shade will keep you comfortable, prevent screen glare, and avoid laptop overheating issues. If a fully shaded workplace isn’t possible, you may want to invest in a product known as a laptop hood, tent or cap. This is a popup structure with white fabric on the outside to keep cool and black fabric inside to reduce glare. A variety of designs and sizes are available, fitting different needs and budgets.
Overheating isn’t just a concern for your laptop. Even in full or partial shade, don’t skip the SPF. You may want to consider wearing clothing with UV protection and cooling technology. This doesn’t need to look like swimwear- there are plenty of polo shirts and button-downs with those features so you can look your best for Zoom calls.
Speaking of Zoom, when working outside a headset with a microphone is your best bet for reducing distracting sounds. There’s nothing worse than settling in for a work session outside and hearing your neighbor’s lawnmower roar to life. Noise-cancelling headphones are more affordable and readily available than ever before. They could be your best friend while working outside.
Hopefully your home WiFi reaches out to your backyard with no disruption in speed. But if you find yourself straying too far from a router you will notice some lag. WiFi extenders could save the day. Before making a purchase, check with your internet provider to make sure everything is compatible. (An added bonus: with a strong signal and a projector, once the work day is over you can turn your backyard into a movie night oasis.)
Finally, don’t forget ergonomics while you’re working in the backyard. Your existing patio chairs are probably not meant to provide support for long stretches of time. Add lumbar pillows and seat cushions for more comfort. A raised laptop stand paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse will take your workstation to the next level. Can’t live without your second monitor? Look into a portable monitor! This is the golden age for tech tools to get you on the move so if you have a problem there’s probably a solution just a mouse click away.