If you want to increase your productivity and feel better during the workday, you should consider working outdoors. But it’s tough to work outdoors without a sufficiently accommodating workspace.
So what steps can you take to design the ultimate outdoor workspace and finally maximize your productive potential?
The Essentials for an Outdoor Workspace
The easiest way to begin this process is to begin brainstorming about the essentials you want for your outdoor workspace. These are some of the most important considerations most workers should bear in mind:
- Physical space. You’re going to want at least some physical space. You’ll need to fit not only yourself, but also your equipment and any personal belongings you want to have nearby. Depending on your preferences, you may also want space to walk around or engage in other activities during breaks. If you already have a functional living space outdoors, you can probably carve out a section of it to serve as your outdoor workspace. For example, if you’re designing an outdoor kitchen, you might design it to be a little bigger than you would otherwise, and include an area for your workspace to one side of it.
- Accessibility. You’ll also need to think about accessibility. If you’re working inside, and you want some fresh air, you need to be able to transition to your outdoor workspace without much hassle or preparation work necessary. Similarly, you’ll need an easy path back indoors if you need a break from the natural scenery.
- Electricity. It’s helpful to have access to an outdoor electrical outlet near your outdoor workspace. Otherwise, you will be limited by the battery life on your laptop or mobile devices. Some rewiring may be necessary if you want this convenience.
- Internet/Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi access to the internet is another modern essential. If your outdoor space is close enough to the interior of your home, the Wi-Fi network will probably reach. Otherwise, you may want to invest in an extender or a backup plan for internet access, like a mobile hotspot. Any interruption to your access is going to be detrimental to your productivity, so exercise caution here.
- Furniture. You’ll need good outdoor furniture to be comfortable when working outside. Ideally, you’ll have at least a comfortable, ergonomically designed chair and a table or desk to perform your actual work.
- Shade/protection. Consider investing in some form of shade or protection from the elements. A canopy, an umbrella, or a total overhead structure can accomplish this. The obvious benefit is that you’ll be shielded from the hot sun in summer and from light precipitation, but there’s another benefit too. Using a laptop outside introduces glare, which can interfere with your ability to see what’s on your screen; broad shade can mitigate this effect.
- Access to amenities. You may also want to consider amenities nearby to make your work experience more comfortable. For example, do you want access to a cooler for readily available beverages?
How to Design the Ultimate Outdoor Workspace
Once you’ve started brainstorming and assembling all the individual components for your outdoor workspace, you can begin the design process.
- Look for inspiration. Don’t design your outdoor workspace in a vacuum. Look at other outdoor workspaces, consider what makes them effective or ineffective, and gather inspiration that you can use to perfect your own space.
- Know your habits. Consider your personality and working dynamics. Are you the type of person who stays most productive in a wide, open space? Or do you like having a cozy nook to yourself? There are no right or wrong answers; what’s important is that you find what works for you.
- Splurge on better materials. When shopping for furniture and other essential items in your outdoor workspace, feel free to splurge on better materials. Oftentimes, spending a bit more entitles you to much higher quality, much more durable goods. Always do your due diligence so you know what quality you’re getting.
- Shield from the elements. Outdoor furniture is often produced with environmental resilience and durability in mind, but nothing is impervious to inclement weather. Make sure you have a plan for how to shield your outdoor workspace components from the elements, such as tight-fitting furniture covers or an outdoor shed where you can store these items.
- Make adjustments. It’s unlikely that you’ll design something perfect from the outset – but that’s okay. As long as you’re willing to remain adaptable and continue making adjustments after the first iteration, you’ll eventually polish your outdoor workspace to perfection.
Designing and building an outdoor workspace does take some time, money, and effort. But the end result is a comfortable outdoor space where you can stay productive and still enjoy all the benefits of being outside.