The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives from how we dress to how we perform our daily routines. Some companies have shifted into a work-from-home model for an indefinite period, as such a setup is seen to have plenty of financial benefits. But work-from-home employees aren’t exactly getting the work-life balance they’re dreaming of. With chores, kids, and general home upkeep to tackle every day, employees have only become busier than ever.
But still, saving money on transportation is hard to resist, hence many employees still prefer working from home. Plus, you also benefit the environment, because the fewer the commuters, the fewer emissions there will be.
And to help the environment and let mother nature benefit you at the same time, take your work outside; meaning, create your home office in your backyard.
It may sound odd and impractical at first, but some companies have already discovered that outdoor spaces are efficient working stations too. Green Studios is one of those, with their garden office pod tucked within a private backyard. It is technically still an indoor office, but the fact that it is surrounded by nature instead of other rooms gives the space a more organic and tranquil atmosphere.
That said, here’s how to create your home office outside:
1. Consider Your Space
You don’t need a vast space to create a functional home office. Just an eight-by-ten-feet structure will do. Its layout has to fit all your office furniture and equipment, as well as an HVAC system.
If you have an unfinished or plain backyard, you may commission a decking solutions company to transform that space into a cozy lounging area. That way, your outdoor office can be multifunctional, serving as a resting and working area in one. But still, you need an ergonomic corner to do your work comfortably.
Hence, consider building a cubicle in the space. The standard size is a six-foot square, so if you have enough room in your backyard, you may also add an awning, exterior fan, and accessories such as a water feature to drown out the noises from your neighborhood.
2. Choose Multipurpose Outdoor Furniture
If you can’t build a cubicle in your yard, you may settle on your patio or deck seating and use multipurpose furniture to work comfortably. Consider a balcony deck folding table, which you may hang from a railing and instantly have a sturdy working desk. It is actually a dining table, but stable enough to hold your laptop.
Buy some appropriate chairs, too, so that you won’t have to slouch on your outdoor couches. A wicker dining chair is a good example, as it’s both decorative and functional. You can sit on it for hours and not feel an ache.
3. Incorporate Power Source
To avoid the need to slip indoors to charge your devices, purchase a power strip that allows you to plug in multiple devices at once. Ensure that the cord is long enough to reach the nearest outlet without straining.
4. Consider Energy Efficiency
Working outdoors is already energy-efficient without any additional installations. You can still make it even more energy efficient by using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for your pod’s or cubicle’s walls. SIPs are building materials, specifically engineered panels that replace traditional construction materials like lumber. They come in different types, each with varying R-values, qualities, and sizes.
There are a couple of benefits to using SIPs. Aside from being more energy-efficient, they’re also more durable than wood framing. They can be combined with other building materials such as brick, tiles, wood, and glass, eliminating the need for roof trusses.
An example of an outdoor office constructed with SIPs is Sett Studio’s. The small space has tall windows and glass doors and is situated in a residential-style garden with stone pavers and a patio set. It allows you to go out for coffee breaks or bask in the sunlight in-between hours.
5. Strengthen Your WiFi signal
If a weak WiFi signal stops you from working outside, a range extender will solve that problem for you. Eero Pro Mesh WiFi System is an example of this product. It is basically a mobile device that you connect to your WiFi so that it’ll supply your work laptop with a strong signal.
6. Convert a Shed
If you don’t have enough budget to build an outdoor office pod or cubicle, and there’s an unused shed in your yard, just clear that space and convert it into an office. The most costs it’ll generate are probably just new windows and lighting, unless you’d also change the flooring and finishes.
Being outdoors exposes us to fresh air and environmental variations, which are essential for our well-being. Even a quick walk outside can already boost our short-term memory, reduce our blood pressure, and increase our energy, so imagine how staying outside for long periods will benefit your mind and body. Therefore, if you’ve been feeling blue in your cramped home office lately, move it outside.