In recent years, the notion of an outdoor home office has begun to sound less and less absurd. Are you one of those lucky Pennsylvanians who enjoy one or are thinking about it?Major companies and small businesses alike are now evidencing the increased focus and creativity of employees who work straight from their backyards. If having grass underfoot in seconds and a garden view can contribute to better brainstorming and productivity, then a properly designed home office is imperative. When creating an outdoor home office, it’s important to factor in your desired level of functionality, lighting considerations, protection from the elements, and which indoor office essentials you will actually need to bring with you.
How Will You Use the Space?
Outdoor home offices come in many grades, from a simple, weather-proof desk placed under a shade tree or two - to a highly specified, prefabricated structure. Consider how often and when you plan to use your office space. Will a three wall detached structured offer the trick or do you require an open space with abundant natural light? Could your work routine afford disruption by rainfall (and running inside) or would you rather not have to move to your main home to continue on a project? For longer, more frequent workdays, a well covered, yet exposed outdoor home office is your best bet because it is compatible with features such as large windows, skylights, heating systems, and sufficient shelf space.
Related: Designing the Perfect Patio
Lighting Is Key
While easy access to sunlight is one highlight of a backyard home office, it may also be a downfall. Keep glare in check by selecting an area with shade trees or coverage from your main home’s roof. Since any structure’s south side will receive bright light all day long, it is advised to keep an outdoor home office on the north side of your home. To further control lighting, utilize the help of shades, though keep in mind that some styles are prone to flap in the wind. If you prefer minimal distraction, consider power operated shades designed to cover large swaths of window-area. And of course, if evening or before sunrise hours are likely, then consider proper outdoor lighting.
Protect From the Elements
Enjoying time in nature comes with its own pitfalls including exposure to heat, UV rays, rainfall, wind, and maybe even splashes from the swimming pool or waterfall. A sturdy roof keeps the space dry, provides sun protection, and allows for the possibility of ceiling fans. If insects and mosquitoes pose a threat to your productivity, employ screens or curtains to keep them away. Again, if a year-round, all-weather outdoor office space is needed, consider a more enclosed space with a lot of open, exposed options (how about a nanawall?)
Emulate an Indoor Office In All the Right Ways
While the natural serenity of an outdoor home office environment is enticing, don’t let it erase practicality, entirely. Choose smooth flooring compatible with office chairs and UV-resistant furniture. Protect valuable electronics and paper materials from sun and rain with solid windows and proper shade or proper storage. Anticipate hot weather? Install an air conditioning unit. Establish a weatherproof connectivity enclosure to ensure your power needs will remain secure, regardless of weather conditions. Most importantly, make sure your chosen location is within the range of your home’s wireless internet signal.
Take this information into account and you’re well on your way to creating an outstanding home office space right in your backyard. Soon enough, you won’t be able to wait to get to work every morning.