6 Tips for Creating a Backyard (or Balcony) Office
August 29, 2020 | Home Organization
As the work from home trend continues to grow, so does the need for more space in our lives. For many Americans, that means expanding designated indoor working spaces to backyard offices.
Even if it’s only for a temporary respite and change of scenery.
A backyard or balcony office—whether it’s on a patio, on a front porch, in a backyard, or even perched on a city fire escape expands your living space and your creativity. We all know, fresh air does miracles to wake up the senses and increase our productivity and focus.
The key to carving out a really cool and comfortable backyard office is to plan for mother nature’s blessings—sun, wind, rain, and animals. Here are some ways you can set up to comfortably and efficiently working on your computer outside.
Is Your Outdoor Space Tech Ready?
As you no doubt have already discovered, reliable Internet and cell phone services are a must-have when working from home. Be sure your WiFi extends to where you plan on working before setting up your outdoor office.
If there is an outdoor power source, you’ll have even more awesome options like adding string lights for the shorter days ahead or a fan to help keep things cool during hot and humid weather.
If you don’t have an outdoor power source, you’ll want to keep your device charged for several hours. Consider investing in a portable power pack for your laptop; it will give even more flexibility work outdoors like at the beach or while camping.
Thankfully, there are some cool choices to keep your laptop charged outdoors. Simply Google “portable power stations for laptops,” and you’ll find reliable brands like IDEALPLAY and Jackery that range in price from $129 to $500.
But don’t be tempted to go overboard. Remember, there is an outlet to recharge your laptop or cell phone just a few steps away when you’re working in your outdoor office at home.
Pro Tip: A power source will keep you and your family connected to critical appliances and technology during hurricane season. Or to work by the pool, the campfire, or at the beach.
Transition to Your Outside Office Efficiently
A little organization ahead of time will make transitioning from your indoor office to your backyard office easy and efficient. Especially if you suddenly need to escape interruptions from family or roommates for a Zoom call. Strategically plan your outside office hours around their schedules so you can be the most productive.
But even the most well-planned day can go awry when pets and children are involved. Designate a tray sturdy or cardboard box to carry your laptop and work supplies. So it’s at the ready when you need to make a speedy transition.
Pro Tip: Getting yourself organized ahead of time will cut down on the number of trips in and out of the house.
Keep Your Laptop and Tech Gear Safe
It’s no secret that heat and humidity destroy tech devices. If you’re working under a covered patio or under a lovely shady tree, your laptop will probably be fine on a perfect day.
Even so, electronics can heat up faster than you realize. As the seasons change and depending on where you live, you might be facing weather that is too hot and humid to operate your laptop safely. According to Hamshire College’s student technology blog, computers—especially laptops—generate heat and are susceptible to overheating.
“Laptops have been designed to work within a safe temperature range, normally 50 to 95 degrees F (10 – 35 degrees C). This range refers both to optimal usage temperature of the outside environment.”
Source: Hamshire College
It’s best not to work in direct sunlight or on hot surfaces. Invest in a cheap laptop stand or prop up your laptop’s back end to encourage airflow to help keep things cool.
Pro Tip: If your computer is a newer and more powerful model or your job is in the gaming industry, it’s worth investing a little more money for a laptop cooling pad.
Create Some Shade for Sunny Days
Working on a computer in direct sunlight is almost impossible—even while wearing sunglasses. There are some ingenious ways to shade your computer screen, however. Some inventive backyard offices use a large cardboard box cut out to hold a computer on a tabletop.
If rain or high humidity is an issue, a sturdy patio umbrella will block UV rays and raindrops from damaging your laptop.
Moreover, if you’re confined to a small space or need to stay flexible, consider foldable furniture like chairs and tables. Collapsable furniture is typically less expensive and can be something you toss in the back of the car if you want to hotspot your Internet connection to work in a nearby park.
Moreover, investing in something like a foldable canopy chair will give you the convenience of shade, whether you’re working outdoors or while on an RV road trip.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen and hydration before hitting the keyboard! Even in the shade, you, your cell phone, and your laptop can heat up pretty quickly.
How to Counteract Unwanted Noise
If your backyard office space happens to be near blaring horns or squealing kids, wearing noise-canceling headphones will go a long way to block out unwanted sounds. Over the ear headphones do double duty to block out sounds from loud dogs, chirping birds, squealing children, or city traffic.
Alternatively, if you already own one, try a fan or a blue tooth speaker to help drown out noisy distractions. Turn on a favorite chill beats playlist on Spotify or iTunes and get into the zone.
Backyard Office Sheds are Trendy and Cool
There is little doubt that our lifestyle needs are continually evolving this year. The massive shift to working from home is creating opportunities for companies like Outdoor Office who build prefabricated and custom outdoor sheds to expand living spaces.
Outdoor sheds are perfect for art studios, gyms, classrooms, and of course private or shared office spaces.
These prefabbed mini structures will get you further away from household-driven distractions and closer to nature. And some even come with solar panels options for those who keep green building and sustainability at the top of their priority list.
Finally, homeowners are no longer obsessing over the master bathroom or kitchen remodels. Instead, we can now focus on more affordable and creative projects like transforming our backyards and balconies to work studios. So remember to stop typing for a while to walk around the neighborhood or play a game of fetch with Fido. Your newfound space will be waiting for you.