For most of us, home office space is the same space where we enjoy meals with the family or prep food in the kitchen. Maybe you’re even prone to putting your laptop next to you while you recline in bed. The novelty of working in these spaces quickly wears off when it becomes part of your regular routine though, right?
A dedicated indoor home office can be a productive option if you have the space. Sometimes though, an empty office that’s all your own can feel confining and a little bit uninspiring. What’s the solution? It could be to move outdoors.
Use this guide to learn more about creating your own outdoor office oasis. Even if you don’t use it every day you may find that having an extra place to work is just what you need on those mornings or afternoons when you’d rather be enjoying the great outdoors than working on your laptop.
Why Create an Outdoor Office?
Working outdoors isn’t something most of us consider unless we’re painting the house, washing the car or enjoying our garden spaces. Exterior spaces can be wonderful places to get some work done if you set them up correctly though.
Here are a few reasons to create your own outdoor office oasis:
Work Home Balance
An outdoor office provides a little separation between your work and home life if you work for home part-time or full-time. This can help you focus and get your work done so you can enjoy your family life indoors.
Outdoor office areas can help limit distractions and provide you with some privacy in busy family homes. This can be especially helpful if you have kids at home during the summer or grandparents living with you. Even distractions like ringing phones, doorbells, radios and TVs can limit your productivity.
An outdoor office allows you to change up your workflow, which can increase productivity. You might even find that working outdoors in the morning and moving inside after lunch lets you work more efficiently.
You can save money on energy bills by using natural light. Natural light can also help reduce glare on your computer screen that makes you and your eyes feel fatigued quickly.
Spending time outdoors is generally good for your mental health. A little extra vitamin D never hurt anybody as long as you use reasonable sun protection.
Choose Your Space
Outdoor office space sounds appealing to you and now all you need to do is drag your laptop outdoors, right? Not if you want a truly functional office area. What you need to do next is choose the right space.
For many people, an outdoor patio or balcony is the perfect place to set up, particularly if you’re looking for something more temporary. Spaces like gazebos can also work well if you happen to have them.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, creating a work area with durable flooring and purpose-specific furniture can give you more flexibility. These can be partially covered or out in the open depending on the weather in your area and your specific needs and desires.
Another option that’s becoming popular is to use an office shed. These are protected from elements and give you the privacy and peace and quiet you desire. They’re also a great addition to your home and will still be useful for storage, play areas and more if you decide to forego your outdoor office at some point.
Pay Attention to What’s Beneath Your Feet
Work ergonomics aside, trying to put a work surface and laptop on grass or some other uneven or less-than-level surface is going to get frustrating quick. 30 minutes of working on a wobbly table and you’ll be packing it in and heading for the kitchen table.
Here are a few ways you can create your ideal outdoor oasis by adding something solid beneath your feet:
Consider interlocking deck tiles. Designed to snap together quickly over concrete, existing tile and even grass, interlocking deck tiles can provide a solid work surface without breaking the bank. Thin spaces between deck tiles allow you to roll your office chair with ease.
Try porcelain pavers on leveled ground if you prefer an open air work area. Porcelain pavers are a little more difficult to install than interlocking deck tiles, but they’ll look great if and when you decide to convert your outdoor office to a patio or exterior dining area. Tile and poured concrete offer a more permanent solution.
Use engineered hardwood for a more protected space. Engineered hardwood can feel like an extension of your home, making it a great pick if you have a sun room or partially enclosed area you’d like to convert to work space. It’s resistant to moisture and stands up to sun well, too.
Use Weather Resistant Furniture
Most furniture designed for outdoor use can stand up to the elements, at least for a few years. Not all outdoor furniture pieces are made to provide a reasonable home office experience in though.
In general, a durable table made from materials like teak is a smart pick for an exterior office space that will be exposed to the elements. You’ll have to keep your work surface clean, but you won’t have to worry about rain impacting your outdoor desk.
A durable office chair can go a long way when it comes to work-related comfort, so consider a standard chair that can go in the garage or to a covered space when not in use. Comfortable folding chairs are an option and will stand up to the elements better, but they’re probably not ideal for all-day use.
Outdoor Office Considerations
An outdoor office can be a wonderful option for many people. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind once you have your space ready to go:
You’ll need access to electricity. Outdoor-rated extension cords are easy to obtain, allowing you to power your laptop and any other electronics you need for your work.
You’re probably going to need internet access. Wi-Fi boosters or mesh networks can be helpful.
You shouldn’t forget about the sun. Sun and the accompanying vitamin D are good for you, but prolonged, unprotected exposure to the sun can wreak havoc on your health. Keep sunscreen handy and wear protective clothing if you want to work in direct sunlight.
Add an umbrella to your setup! You’ll get the benefits of working outdoors, but you won’t have to worry about slathering yourself in sunscreen every 60 to 90 minutes on hot summer days. An umbrella will also help keep you cool on extra-hot afternoons.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Being outdoors, particularly if it’s spring or summer, means you’ll likely need more water. Keep a pitcher and a glass or water bottle handy.
Add a few creature comforts. An outdoor rug, for example, can help make your work area feel more refined and elegant.
Is an Outdoor Office For You?
Ready to get some work done in the great outdoors? Maybe you want to create the perfect office shed so you can have more privacy to get your work done at home? We can help you with any outdoor office project you want to take on.
Reach out to the trained experts at BuildDirect to learn more about office sheds, engineered hardwood, patio pavers, interlocking tiles and more. We can even help you find materials that match your exterior décor so you can have a stylish outdoor office that looks like it was always part of your home design.