People are working from home now more than ever and one of the best ways to be as productive as possible is to have a specific area to work, such as a garden office.
However, it can be a little daunting to know exactly what you need to make your office a happy and productive place to be. So, we have compiled a list of our top 10 things we think every garden office should have to make your working life easier.
- Maintenance of your garden office
- Ergonomic chair, keyboard, mouse etc.
- Good lighting
- A good computer
- High quality internet access
- Reliable communication system
- Team communication platform
Firstly, you should be sure to maintain your garden office. Having lots of lovely things inside is no good when the roof has holes in it or the wood has begun to rot due to a failed finish.
Take a look at our previous blog post ‘How best to maintain your garden office‘ for handy tips and advice on how to keep your office in tip top condition.
It is well known that sitting for long periods of time can lead to many health problems. Be sure to use an ergonomic chair to give you proper leg and back support whilst also being comfortable to be sat in for multiple hours a day.
Use one that is capable of multiple adjustments such as seat height, back support, armrests and good cushioning. No matter how good your chair is, remember to get up and stretch your legs every hour or so for a minute or two.
Having the wrong size keyboard and/or mouse can make typing and moving your cursor frustrating and uncomfortable. You can suffer with cramping in your hands and forearms and it can even lead to some serious physical problems. We highly recommend a good ergonomic keyboard, especially if you write a lot of emails or do copy writing and a mouse that fits your hand comfortably.
You should also make sure that your desk isn’t too short or too tall. Although you may be able to adjust your chair to accommodate your desk in one way, you may find it to be more of a hindrance in another. For example, if your desk is a lot taller than the average desk and you adjust your chair height to meet it, your arms might sit with your desk nicely, but your legs might dangle from your chair leaving your legs and lower back unsupported.
Wherever possible, we recommend you try to access as much natural light as you can. Not only does natural light work best for your eyes but it is also beneficial for your skin and over all well-being due to creation of Vitamin D from UV rays.
We realise that this may not always be possible, especially as we are now deep into the Winter months, but come the Spring it will be well worth it.
If your office is in an area of your garden that is shadowed or it does not have any windows, we recommend using high quality warm ceiling bulbs and desk lamps. Fluorescent bulbs can be bad for your eye sight and lead to headaches as well as being a pain to dispose of.
If you are someone who struggles with their eye sight or headaches/migraines it might also be worth changing your monitor settings to incorporate a blue light setting, or use blue light glasses.
You might also find it beneficial to use ‘dark mode’. You can toggle this on via an app, on social media sites or by installing an extension in your browser to put everything into dark mode for you.
Having a high quality computer will greatly increase your productivity and overall success when working from home. We think it goes without saying that having a computer that regularly freezes or crashes is not ideal!
If you will likely be stationary when doing computer work we recommend using a desktop – perhaps with multiple monitors if necessary.
If, however, you will be needing to work from multiple areas both in and out of your office, you might benefit from a laptop instead.
Which ever you choose, make sure that it is powerful enough to do what you want it to. Running editing software and needing multiple things open at once will require different components compared to someone that will mostly be working online through emails or meetings etc.
Having slow internet speeds can not only be frustrating, but is also a nightmare if you have to meet strict deadlines.
Depending on where you live you may be limited to the internet you can get. However, most places in the UK can now get very reliable and fast internet connection.
We recommend researching which provider is most prevalent in your area and opting for a deal that is at least mid range. You will usually have a pretty good minimum speed guarantee with bigger broadband deals.
Some providers will also have an area speed test on their website so you can see if they are worth going with.
It may be worth investing in a home security system. There are a wide variety of brands now available at very reasonable prices where you can link cameras to your phone and get alerted if someone approaches your garden office, or front door whilst you are working in the garden.
Also, if your work relies on having physical copies of things, it would be worth while having a secure filing cabinet. We recommend placing it furthest away from the door and to not have the key stored inside the lock!
House plants increase air quality by purifying indoor air pollutants. By improving the air quality you are then able to concentrate better and therefore produce better quality work. Not only do they look nice (and in some cases smell nice) but they actively help with your working environment.
Even if you are known as a bit of a ‘plant killer’, there are many really easy to look after plants out there. Our top favourites are Monstera Deliciosa (other wise known as the Swiss Cheese Plant), Sansevieria (otherwise known as the snake plant) and Spathiphyllum (otherwise known as the Peace Lilly).
If you prefer a smaller more minimalistic plant, you can always go for a cactus or succulent. They still purify the air, just not as well as the others.
If you have a lot of meetings where you travel to different places, or you just need high levels of security, then a VPN is a must have.
Having a VPN (virtual private network) gives you online privacy and anonymity. It does this by creating a private network from a public internet connection. Having a VPN on your device will mask your internet protocol (IP) address making anything you do online virtually untraceable.
There are many companies out there that offer great deals on VPN’s where you can expect to pay around £8 – £10 per month. Some will even allow you to use a VPN on unlimited amount of devices.
If you are more than a one man band, chances are you will need to communicate with your clients or members of your team. Some times you need an answer right away and so waiting for a reply on an email is not an option and you require a good phone line.
When looking for a good broadband provider, be sure to look into their phone line services too. You will likely get a much better deal when purchasing the two together from the same company.
If you need to do video calls, we recommend using one that is safer to use such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams
Having a safe and easy to use team communications platform is ideal for those who speak with members of their team on a daily basis.
It is similar to creating a group on WhatsApp but you can access it from your computer to speak with your colleagues.
There are a wide variety of companies out there that you can use, but Slack is particularly handy if you use a management system such as Asana as you can link the two together.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!