Six Considerations for Outdoor Workspaces

March 30, 2020

Six Considerations for Outdoor Workspaces

When the weather's just right, there's nothing quite like taking your workday on the road and settling down in the sun (or shade!) to take care of business. Whether you're in the process of building out an outdoor or semi-outdoor space or you're just looking to take a day to yourself, a great workday needs a few amenities to replicate indoor success.

1. Successful Seating

We can't stress the importance of productive furniture when building out an indoor space, and that rings true when you're putting together the perfect patio or adding a few bistro tables just outside your doors. If you're in charge of furnishing a beautiful outdoor oasis, be considerate of the spatial needs that can make you patio a space where people love to sit and socialize or where they'd like to work.

Different sizes for large groups or single patrons should reflect your demographic and space respectively. By now you've determined what your indoor demographic might look like, but be considerate about how this might change when people are taking their time out in the open air. Larger working groups are still more wont to stay inside near technological amenities and a bit more solitude, but independent workers have more flexibility to go solo and take things outside as needed. This lends itself best to a network of smaller tables for individual sitters or pairs.

2. The Sound of Silence or...?

In particularly bustling settings, you'll need to worry about external noise as well as communal chatter. Choose tables and chairs of different heights so that conversations can go above or below ear level instead of creating an echoing background for all. Outdoor spaces are unique in that unpredictable noises factor into the ease-of-use in any given space.

For the workers-- if you're outside, be prepared to hear the manmade and natural sounds that come with a day in the sunshine. If you're easily distracted or bothered by this more varied environment, bring along a pair of noise canceling headphones or even simple earbuds to play something soft, drowning out the background noise.

3. Don't Blow It

Everybody has to watch out for the weather when you're headed outdoors! Though it's less obvious than other considerations, think about the turmoil a windy day can create for a stack of papers or files. It's easy for guests to plop a cell phone or something heavier on top, but it's always appreciated when outdoor décor can be a bit of help in a pinch. Use heavier decorative objects on patio furniture, both ensuring that your centerpieces won't blow away, but also giving those remote workers something to secure their work beneath. 

4. Rain, Rain… It's Okay

Hard as we may try, there's still no cure for unfavorable weather. Sometimes you wake up to a gloomy sky but sometimes it strikes unexpectedly, and providing shelter can make outdoor spaces usable even when things are less-than-desirable outside.

The simplest solution? Umbrellas. Either by a pole mounted through the center of a table or a cantilever style that extends over from the side, an umbrella is a great solution for both soggy weather and sunshine-filled days alike. If you're building out new construction, consider a built-in awning to extend from the side of the building or purchase an extendable unit that can be opened up or retracted as needed.


5. Give Your Signal a Boost

No matter if it's new construction or an extra addition, make sure that your outdoor option has the same signal strength as an indoor area. If possible, make sure that your existing network extends beyond the walls, or consider adding signal boosters to keep WIFI connections as strong as they are otherwise.

Even if you've thought through your connectivity needs, there's still a chance that the signal might not be strong enough. For those who are taking their time away from the desk, know how to enable Bluetooth tethering to create a portable hotspot no matter where you work. Naturally, you'll need a cellular data plan that can support extended hours of work, so take this into consideration before you get down to business.

6. Be Sun Safe

This one's just for the outdoor adventurers looking to get away from the office. The same rules apply whether you're rolling through your workflow or relaxing on the beach-- wear sun protection! Sunscreen is a must for people of all ages and skin tones. While no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun's UVB rays, dermatologists recommend any lotion over SPF 30 to provide adequate sun protection. If you have sensitive skin, seek out a formula with more mineral components, but for more lightweight can-barely-feel-it coverage, a chemical sunscreen might be best.


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