The official first day of summer is weeks away and for the next 3 months, I’m bringing the inside, outside starting with 5 ways to create the ultimate outdoor home office. I don’t know how you feel but the cabin fever has overstayed its welcome and I’m ready to be under the sun indefinitely. Being stuck inside the last 12 months have been hard but now that I’m #teamvaxxed, I’m ready to hit the streets. Note, when I say the streets I’m talking porch hopping–I’m not actually ready to be in crowded places yet. One porch I’ll be on consistently is my own as I’m working from home throughout the summer so I spent some time over the last few weeks setting up my space. If you’re planning to do the same, I’ve got some tips for you below.
Before I jump in, let me start by saying the list below includes 5 things you can do no matter your outdoor set up. You can be a city dweller on a rooftop, a suburban resident with a deck or someone who wants to set up shop at a local park. I had all of you in mind when I wrote this blog post. As long as you plan to be working outside at some point this summer, this is for you.
Now let’s jump into how you can set up the ultimate outdoor home office.
Have a good backdrop
Your backdrop makes a difference. Let’s toss the virtual backgrounds this summer and put nature behind us. If you’re working outside in a park, make the trees your backdrop. If you’re in the city, minimize the distractions but put an attractive outdoor wall behind you like a brick wall outside of your local coffee shop behind you. And if you’re home on a balcony or deck, put your backyard behind you. If there aren’t any trees behind you, buy real or faux plants to set up as your background. Here’s one I just bought from Amazon that I’ve fallen in love with.
I’ll be real with y’all, I struggle to keep real plants alive–they’re just not my ministry at the moment. So, faux plants will be my thing until further notice. The one pictured here looks just as real in person as it does in these pics and I love it so much that I’m going back for another one. If palm plants aren’t your thing, here are a few others I found at Home Depot, made by the same company as the one I bought.
Pro tip: Wherever you sit, make sure the sun is not behind you. It will wash you out and your face will be hard to see. Face the sun under a shaded spot–it will work like a ring light.
Make it easy to stay hydrated and well-fed
Staying hydrated and well-fed is important when you’re outside during the summer. If you’ll be working at an outdoor location away from home, get a water bottle with a lid to keep your drink protected. Here’s the water bottle I refill throughout the day–I found it at Target and I love it because it holds so much water! I only need to fill it up 2 to 3 times then I’m golden. If you’re working on the balcony or porch, liven your water up a bit by infusing it with some fruit. I like to keep some in a pitcher nearby so I don’t have to go in and out of the house to refill it, “letting the AC out” like my grandmom used to say.
If you prefer something with a lid, try an insulated water bottle. Here’s one I recently bought for my husband from Target that he uses throughout the day. In case you missed it, I made over his home office during lockdown. Click here to check it out.
When it comes to food, the simpler the better. Keep stacks handy that won’t easily spoil in the warm temperatures like pretzels, nuts or trail mix. Stay away from messy and sticky foods–they could be more trouble than they’re worth when you’re eating. If you want to pack a full meal, grab something that will taste good served room temperature like a salad or pasta salad.
Pro tip: Keep some wet wipes handy for any messy food or spills.
Keep your food protected
These food tents are hands down one of my favorite recent purchases for summer. They protect your food from bugs when you’re not eating and they’re collapsible so you can easily slip them in your bag to transport them. These come in a pack of 4 and are reusable so you can set them up throughout the summer if you’re hosting an outdoor brunch or dinner party.
For your flatware, you can always grab plastic ones that you can toss when you’re finished or you can try these reusable travel utensils. Here’s a pair a found at Target. These will come in handy during any upcoming road trips or flights too so consider grabbing a few sets.
Invest in portable technology
Portable technology is everything if you really want the ultimate outdoor home office. During the warmer months, my laptop can easily overheat so I keep mine cool with this portable cooling pad that has a USB connection so I don’t have to worry about an outlet. Speaking of outlets, few things make working outside harder than not having access to an outlet. If you’re able to swing it, buy a portable power station–here’s one I found on Amazon. It has a few outlets so you can charge your laptop and your cell phone.
If you’re not interested in buying a portable power station, a portable power bank for your cell phone is another item to consider investing in. They’re cheaper than a portable power station and worth the price. I’ve lost count of how many times mine has saved me during nights out when I’d catch an Uber instead of driving.
Keep some headphones handy too. These can be lifesaving when you’re working outside, especially in places that can get noisy like outside of a coffee shop or restaurant. I’m also someone who likes to keep the work conversations private even if I am sitting outside at home so I use my headphones regularly. Here’s a wireless set I just got that I absolutely love.
Don’t be afraid to go old school with pen + paper
As much as I love my computer, an old school notebook and pen are amazing when my eyes need a break from the screen. One of my favorite things to use is a planner. Here’s one I found one at Target a few weeks ago by The Home Dit. It lets me plan daily by breaking down the hours of the day and it also has a place for my to-do-list plus a monthly calendar. It’s a Type A person’s dream, ha! I also love it because it makes me less reliant on my cell phone calendar throughout the day. Every night, I sit down with it and jot down the next day’s meeting times and to-do list without ever picking up my phone.
Hopefully these tips were helpful for y’all who are as eager as I am to hit these streets. What are some of your must-have tools for setting up the ultimate outdoor home office?