Gardening Landscape design

The Outdoor Office is The New Office: Tips to Tune Up Your Space

Tired of those fuzzy videoconference call backgrounds and working indoors? Maybe it’s time to move your office outside to your backyard.

“I have an outdoor office and enjoy working outside every day with my dog, Mutt Mulligan, nearby,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation, an environmental education and stewardship program that encourages outdoor living and caring for green spaces. Mulligan (“Mo-Mo”) is the TurfMutt spokesdog for the foundation.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still keeping more people working at home, Kiser points out that outdoor offices offer a way to de-stress and enjoy nature while focusing on tasks at hand. Plus, it jazzes up those videoconference call backgrounds.

Many companies are also recognizing the benefits of outdoor offices and are now adding outdoor office features to their corporate campuses, encouraging employees to meet and work outside.

The TurfMutt Foundation offers the following tips to help you keep your home outdoor office operational from spring into the winter months.

Smiling man in front of laptop outdoors.
Wouldn’t you be happier working outdoors in the open air?

Decide Where Your Outdoor Office Will Be

Look for a comfortable spot that offers seating and shade from the sun. Consider noise, lighting and other needs as well.

Factor Comfort into Furnishings

Position a table or desk and seating that takes comfort and ergonomics into play, just as you would indoors.

Beef Up Wi-Fi and Make Sure Electrical Outlets Are Reachable

Outdoor offices need power. Make sure your Wi-Fi signal strength is up to the task of outdoor videoconference calls or online work. Run outdoor rated power cords or get additional outdoor power outlets installed.

Check Your Videoconference Call Background “Look”

Use your computer camera to check your videoconference call background before you are finished setting up. Adjust your seating location and look for the best effect.

Add Portable Heaters or A Fire Pit

Outdoor heaters or hydronic or electric radiant heat systems can extend your stay in your outdoor office.

Bring Indoor Comforts Outside

Add pillows, curtains or lap blankets to your outdoor office. A warm rug can help, too.

Build A Patio Cover

A semi-enclosed space, such as a pergola, awning, gazebo or pavilion can protect you—and your laptop–from the elements, making it easier to stay in your outdoor office longer. Side curtains on a pergola or gazebo add more protection (and cancel out nearby noise).

Warm Up the Space with Lights

Lights make an outdoor space more inviting for a work session. It also gets darker earlier as fall sets in, so lighting can help extend your day. Some light sets are even equipped with an outlet, allowing you to charge your laptop.

Add Speakers or Use Headphones

Nothing says great workspace like adding a little music. Headphones can tune out neighborhood noise and help with focus.

Tune Up the Fun

Keep the yard games like lawn darts or corn hole accessible nearby. After all, you might need to take a break from those videoconference calls with some recreation.

Article derived from a press release by the TurfMutt Foundation. For more tips, sign up for Mutt Mail, a monthly e-newsletter with backyarding ideas and all the news from the TurfMutt Foundation here. To learn more about creating the yard and outdoor office of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.com.  

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

2 comments on “The Outdoor Office is The New Office: Tips to Tune Up Your Space

  1. I am way ahead of you on this. Not only has most of my horticultural career been outside, but much of my writing had been done outside also. I did quite a bit of writing on the beach, and more among the redwoods. I used to have a nice set up for the back of the pick up, which I backed in to one of those parking spaces on the beach. The main difficulty was the glare on the screen.

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