One of the benefits of working at home is being able to work where ever you like.
You might wonder why I am saying that since I spend so much time on my site talking about how important your home office is and maintaining private space etc. — I still agree with ALL of that.
But sometimes, we just need a different view to get our creative juices flowing. And c’mon, if we wanted to be tethered to a desk, why not just stay in the office cubicle?
Working in different places is the fun of working at home. Or, I should say it CAN be!
With a little planning, it CAN be. I still want someone to explain to me how to keep the sand out of my keyboard when I set up office on the beach. I mean it’s in my teeth and my ears and … it looks wonderful but I’m not sure how it would work really!
I had this dream about working in my tree-house. Weather permitting, of course — I live in Chicago.
But that’s just the thing. We are cooped up, locked in for so much of the year that as soon as the weather hits 50 degrees we kick off the shoes, don shorts and run outside. But my first attempt at working outside was a disaster — good sit-com fodder, but not very productive.
Like, how would I forget wind. Chicago. Wind. I mean, what was I thinking?
What will you really need to make working in the tree-house or on the deck or out front on the wrap around porch or on the dock or in the man cave a reality?
So here are some things to think about when planning to take your work outside!
Where will you be sitting?
Sure, we hear a lot these days about the dreaded office chair and how it is trying to kill us! It is NOT the chair, it is the sitting that is killing us! The draw to run to the park is strong. However, the park bench might be more likely to kill you. Or at least send you home complaining that your back is killing you!
The bench might be comfortable for a few minutes but could you really work there? I need a pen and paper as well as the laptop. I need to spread out a bit. The angle of the computer on my lap would not be comfortable for very long etc. Are you going to keep the computer on your legs? Gets toasty, no?
I see photos of people laying on blankets on the ground, propped up on their elbows looking at their computers. Maybe I am just old, but how long could you really be comfortable like that and could you really WORK?
Sun is great but how long can you sit in it? How will the heat work for your computer? Will it overheat? Will you?! How about the glare? It is difficult to see most computer screens outdoors in daylight. And in the evening, they attract bugs!
How much charge do you have on your battery? How much can you get done in that amount of time? Will it be worth traveling to the beach or the park to work in that amount of time?
For most of us, getting online is a necessity. A lot of parks have Wi-Fi, but you need to check it out before you head out. I have found when traveling that finding reliable Wi-Fi is often easier said than done.
Solutions? A Little Realistic Planning!
Maybe work on a picnic table instead of a bench? I mean no park furniture is ergonomically correct, so you are going to get a little pain in the behind no matter which way you choose! But having the bit of a table to spread out might make things a lot more comfortable.
Can your backpack serve as a lap desk? It’s not good for your legs or your computer to keep your laptop on your legs for long periods. Your backpack might help. Consider the material and be conscious of overheating issues when you decide to do this.
It might be best to look for a place in the shade. There are computer screens with matte finishes to give greater visibility outdoors. There are also anti-glare screen protectors. But these will work better in the shade. No matter how good, the outdoor light competes with the light of the screen and usually just fades it completely.
If you must go to the beach, consider USB caps to close empty ports. The ports on your computer does not need sand, dirt, debris, pollen or bugs!
Maybe you could work on the project that would need less paper and be less affected by wind? Here is a solution that solves the issue of sun and wind and glare! Work on the project that does NOT need the computer!
Do you have a lot a research reading to do? Can you load the PDFs onto your Kindle? Kindle is much easier to read outdoors in a lot of different seating arrangements! Break out the beach blanket! Choosing a project that needs less paraphernalia will help productivity and success.
Make sure all your gear is fully charged before you go. Make sure you know how long those charges will last. If you can, bring a portable charger for some extra time.
See if you can reconfigure the battery use display on your computer to show time instead of percentage. Keep an eye on the time of your battery.
A lot of parks do have Wi-Fi but it is not always reliable or very strong. Before you pack up your office for a day out, look up which have Wi-Fi and read reviews on what others have said about it’s reliability.
In my opinion, the following are the four best options for working outdoors:
Reading projects that you can load on Kindle or meetings where you do not need computer;
Find and Inside/Outside Option i.e. a restaurant/bar with good Wi-Fi that has tables outdoors where you can work outside, run inside if it rains, have a refreshment AND easy access to a bathroom!
Work inside, but take your break outside;
Last, one that gives you a LOT of control – work outdoors at your own house! Your porch, deck, tree-house, backyard gives you the BEST option. You can stay or go. You have easy access to refreshments and the bathroom. You have easy access to your office for whatever you forget and you will forget something! You have dependable Wi-Fi and Cell coverage. And if the clouds roll in or the flies get mean, you can move back indoors!
So I’ll wind up with two of the things that will be most important to making working outdoors in your own space successful.
Wi-Fi Range Extenders – The very first thing you need to think about is Wi-Fi. All the arrangements for where to sit and how to avoid glare and what to do about wind and sand and roaming territorial geese will be for naught if you can’t get connected.
You will be working and not perusing cat videos so you want to be sure not only that you can get connected but that the connection is good and strong.
A dual-band range extender can extend your existing range, create a new access point, or use both bands together to make a super high-speed connection.
Depending on your house, you might not have to go as far as the dock or the tree house! A range extender might be necessary to improve service within certain areas of your house.
Cell Phone Booster
Since you are extending your range, maybe you might want to give your cell phone a boost!
For me, I could not get good cell coverage IN my house. It was fine outside. I would have to go out and stand on the deck, which in the rain and the snow is not always ok!
If you are using your cell phone as your main phone and for business, it HAS to be reliable.
You can extend your coverage. A cell phone booster will give you better, stronger, uninterrupted service! What’s more, the booster will extend the battery life of your phone. What’s not to like?!
I hope these tips will help you take advantage of working outside the smart way, when that spring fever hits. Should be any day now. It’s April 4th here and still snowing!
Leave a comment and let me know how you take advantage of working outside. Especially if you are one of those brave people who work on their laptops in the swimming pool!
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper – Patt loves the online world and loves to share it!
Patt is the author of: Patt Blogs
Please reach out on Facebook at Spot4connections on Facebook