Have you been working from home since 2020? Sick of staring at the walls of your home office? Or maybe you’ve just recently made the transition to working from home? Whatever your situation, accordingly to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, 41% of Australians are working from home at least once a week, with this figure looking to increase within the next 6 months.
Working from home undoubtedly has its benefits, such as improved work-life balance, but it can also have its downsides. Being cramped in your kitchen or spare room can be damaging to your health and can also negatively affect your ability to be productive.
To make the most of working from home, we recommend setting up an office in your backyard. Not only will you increase your vitamin D levels and exposure to fresh air, multiple studies show that being outside can ultimately improve your productivity and reduce your stress levels.
Without further ado, here are our top tips to set up the perfect home office outside…
1. Position your office for optimal natural light and air flow
It’s important to position your office in an area that provides optimal natural light and air flow. Don’t set up your area in an outdoor room filed with fluorescent lights and limited air flow, which mimics an inside work environment. Encouraging natural light and air flow will do wonders for your mood and energy levels.
Although you want enough natural light coming through, be wary of glare. No one wants to spend their 9-5 in an overly bright area, with the sun beaming behind their screen. This will mean constant squinting, which will hurt your eyes.
If you have a pergola or any sort of overhead structure, this is a great start to ensure you have a suitable level of shade. To increase protection from the sun and its glare, you may want to consider investing in outdoor patio blinds, which will allow a regulated level of light to come through. In addition to this, consider a screen hood for your laptop; this will further reduce glare and ensure your device is kept cool on warmer days.
2. Find a quiet space
The last thing you need when working from home is to be distracted by various noises. This includes passing traffic, your neighbours or even your kids inside.
Choose a spot where you’re less likely to hear or see neighbours of passers-by. This is where Outdoor Blinds can come in handy again. Investing in Outdoor Blinds such as the Bella Vista Shade Blinds or Bella Opaque Blinds will provide you with maximum privacy.
You may also want to invest in noise-cancelling headphones. Great headphones will block out background noise and ambient sound. With technology getting better and better as years go by, you can get noise cancelling headphones that are comfortable to wear and are great at blocking all levels of sound. Some are even multifunctional, allowing you to make calls.
3. Consider the functionality of your space
It’s important to think about whether your space is functional for the long term. Consider the following:
Ergonomics – Don’t just use your dinner table chairs. Choose a chair that has been designed to best support your body, keeping in mind your optimal level of comfort, posture and the level of arch support it provides you. It’s also important to ensure your laptop or computer is at the recommended height. The top of your screen should be at—or slightly below—you eye level.
Sturdy floors – Make sure you’re working on a sturdy, flat surface, a soft surface is just not practical. Timber decking or tiles are an ideal option.
Find a suitable power source – It’s important to make sure you have enough power points to plug into your important devices. Invest in an addition extension cord if needed, or a portable power bank. On a similar note, make sure there is WiFi available to you. WiFi can get spotty when you go outside, so ensure that you find an appropriate space where your internet connection speed is fast – for maximum productivity.
Think of your backdrop – Is the spot suitable for your Zoom or Skype calls? Ensure your backdrop doesn’t allow your meeting counterpart to see inside your home.
Keep the pests away – Pests like flies or mosquitos run rampant in Australian backyards, especially during the warmer months. Whilst Aerogard is a great day-to-day option, you may want to consider a permanent solution like Outdoor Blinds.
4. Think about the little things
If working from home office is going to be a long-term arrangement, it’s important to think about the details that will make this a comfortable space for you. A comfortable space is a more productive space. Consider adding little touches to your area, such as:
Plants – These will not only add pops of colour to your space but will also help block the noise and inspire you to think more creatively. Choose air cleaning, mood boosting varieties, such as fiddle-leaf figs, peace lilies, or snake plants. If you have a pergola, consider hanging plants like maidenhair ferns or trailing plants. Our favourites include devil’s ivy and chain of hearts. Consider how much light you expect to seep through into your home office area, as this will affect what plants you add to your space.
Smells – Scented candles and other sweet-smelling options such as diffusers are an inexpensive way to liven up your outdoor home office. There have been many studies linking pleasant smells to higher levels of productivity and concentration levels. In particular, a Japanese study recently found that lemon-scents help work performance positively increase by at least 50%. Rosemary, citrus and lavender are among scents that work too.
Paper weights – An often-over-looked item, a paperweight is a must if you’re going to be exposed to the elements!
Pops of colour – Adding small touches such as trinkets or candles can brighten up your space. Neutral colours, deep tones and green shades have been shown to improve your mood and promote focus and organisation. You may even want to consider painting your walls if your set up is going to be long-term.
Sounds – If listening to music helps you concentrate, opt for a portable Bluetooth speaker. There are many on the market to suit different budgets. Or, if you’re wanting to listen to relaxing sounds of nature, you may also want to consider implementing a water feature in your backyard. Water features provide a soothing sound that promotes relaxation and even decrease stress. They also attract wildlife!
Australian Outdoor Living is passionate about helping people love their life outdoors. We offer a range of products, including:
Have you been thinking about your backyard, to develop the perfect home office? Fill out the free measure and quote form at the top of this article. A member of our dedicated sales team will be in touch.