When I first started to work remotely, I couldn’t wait to start working outdoors. After all, wasn’t that the point of telecommuting—being able to work anywhere at any time?
So two weeks after starting my remote job, I pushed together some outdoor furniture and set up shop outside, on my deck, ready to work.
What I hadn’t really thought about was that it was late March and I live in the northeast. It was a balmy 42 degrees outside. There was still frost on the trees.
I shivered my way through the first 30 minutes of writing from outside my cozy (and warm) remote work office, determined to make it work. Literally. But then sun glare on my computer screen, bitterly cold breezes, and potential frostbite got the better of me, so I packed up my laptop and headed back inside to work.
That’s not to say that you can’t work outside, particularly if you want to infuse some nature into your workday. If you want to work from the great outdoors, these are some of the things you’ll need.
Working Outdoors: What You Need in Order to Make it a Success
1. The Right Space
Not all nature works for working outdoors.
Ideally, you want to find a spot that has sun but not so much that you’re squinting at your spreadsheets all day long. Be prepared to shift your position as the day progresses so that you’re not backlit by the sun, which can make reading from your screen an exercise in futility. So look for a spot that sports both sun and shade to give you the best of both worlds.
Sure, you might be working in your backyard, but that doesn’t mean that you want to run into the house every half-hour because you forgot something. Try to pack what you’ll need for your workday in the morning so that you can clock into nature’s office ready and revved up for your workday.
3. Chargers and a Power Supply Cord
You might find yourself so smitten with the changing autumnal colors of the leaves (and the fact that you’re able to work from the great outdoors) that you lose track of time—and that little battery life icon on your laptop.
You don’t want your computer to lose all the work you’ve done, so make sure that you stay plugged in by bringing all your chargers with you, including a power supply cord so that you never lose power—or your presentations.
4. Anti-glare Screen Protector
Yes, the sun can feel splendid on your skin, and soaking up all that extra natural Vitamin D is a win-win. But those strong rays from the sun can wreak havoc when you’re trying to read your screen. Invest in a good anti-glare screen protector so that you can continue working without having to incessantly seek out shadier spots.
5. Insect Repellent
If you thought that your former cubicle coworkers were annoying, try working outdoors with bugs buzzing around you. While you can’t always control the pests, you can keep some of them at bay by using insect repellant.
Citronella candles work great to ward off mosquitoes, and you can also wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts to avoid other creepy crawlers, such as ticks.
6. Notebook with Pen
Even if you do everything on your computer, it’s still a good idea to have a notebook and pen with you. Why? You never know when you might just want to jot down an idea quickly without having to change screens.
Working outside in nature can make you super productive—and super hungry. Depending on where you’re working (e.g., a park), you might not have easy access to your fridge.
So be sure to pack some healthy snacks and a lunch if you’re planning to plug away at work all day long. And take water bottles to keep you hydrated and healthy.
At first, the sound of birds chirping was music to your ears. But after an hour of working outside, all that tweeting (and not the Twitter kind) is driving you bonkers. Bring a pair of noise-cancelling headphones so you can enjoy watching the beautiful birds, without having to hear them all day long.
9. A Mock Office
The idea of working with the grass tickling your toes sounds enticing. But sitting on a blanket while working on banking statements can be brutal for your back.
If you’re working in your backyard, set yourself up for success by using an ergonomically friendly chair, or at least one with a cushion to keep your back comfortable. You might also want to invest in a laptop desk to keep your computer—and yourself—balanced.
Working outside can be a really fun experience and a nice break from your home office, particularly if you have the right remote work tools to make it possible. Be prepared to make the most of it by packing the items you’ll need to ensure a pleasant and productive day in the great outdoors.
Looking for a job that lets your work-from-anywhere? Start your search for a remote job.