It’s 77 degrees and sunny. So you decide to take advantage of your work from home status and venture out onto your deck to soak up some sun while you finish those expense reports. But keep in mind that working outside, while fun, has its limits. Read on to see how you can work outside when you work from home.
Set time limits. While you might be able to clock an 8-hour work day from your home office, the likelihood that you’ll be able to do the same outdoors is not realistic. If you’re venturing beyond your backyard to say, a park, be sure to take any extra items (such as snacks or a bottle of water) with you so that you don’t have to head back home. But don’t plan on setting up shop for the entire day—instead, test out your outdoor office in small increments. To give yourself a change of scenery from your ho hum home office, plan to stay outside for an hour or two to start.
Set expectations. If you’re thinking that you’ll tackle tough projects from inside a noisy Starbucks, think again. When you work outdoors, it can be like working in an office, full of interruptions (like people asking to borrow that extra chair at your table) and distractions. Whether you’re looking at the robins frolicking in your birdbath or you’re people watching in the park, it can be tricky to keep your mind focused on your workload. So choose the work that you can successfully complete carefully.
Stay connected. Working outside is not going to work for you if you have a spotty Internet connection. If you’re going to work in a place that doesn’t offer free WiFi, you can always get an air card. That way, you can establish an Internet connection no matter where you are. But since air cards generally require a contract, be sure that you’re going to be working outside often enough to justify the extra expense.
Dress appropriately. There’s nothing worse than being so engrossed in your work that you wind up with one sunburned leg and one sunburned arm. Just like working in a traditional office, you’ll need to dress appropriately when you plan to work outdoors. Dress in layers for cooler morning temps, but be sure to slather on the sunscreen before you hit the great outdoors and work. And it’s always a good idea to wear shorts, or some other protection for your legs, so that you don’t burn them.
Be realistic. During the summer months, it may reach 90+ degrees—and it’s only 9:30 AM. Or the glare caused by the noonday sun can make your laptop’s screen appear washed out and hard to read. So be practical when planning to work outside. After all, if working outside is going to make working from home harder, it might be time to return to your home office, where you’ll not only find it easier to work—but air conditioned, too.