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Since last March, you may have spent some time figuring out how to make your home office feel more focused — the right space to work while at home can help separate your personal life from your professional, an expert previously told NBC BETTER. For your home office, you may have dedicated time to finding the right wireless earbuds for calls or laptop stands to see what’s on your screen. Staying in the same space for the past year might also mean you’re looking for a change in scenery. If you’re considering shifting your home office outdoors, we compiled a few office accessories that could help make this space easier to work in.
Useful office accessories for working outside
An outdoor office could be an option for those who want fresh air during the workday. If you’re not comfortable sitting at an outdoor cafe or outside a coffee shop, you can set up a place to work right in your backyard, on a balcony or rooftop. To help, here are eight office accessories to consider taking with you when working outside, including a seat cushion designed for hard chairs and a lap desk with its own wrist pad.
The spring and summer heat can make you sweaty. So you could consider a portable personal fan for your outdoor office when there’s not enough breeze to keep you cool. You can choose to power this affordable fan by battery or through a USB port. This fan has a three foot circulation range and only one speed, so you probably want it closer to you in order to feel the cool air. With the handle, you can decide between folding or hanging this fan. This fan has earned an average 4.3-star rating over more than 6,900 reviews.
If you’re in a smaller space, the outdoor chair you’re sitting on might not be the most comfortable. And even if you have an ergonomic office chair, you may be reluctant to roll or carry it outside. For an easy solution, a seat cushion can help relieve pressure on your back while you’re working. This option from Purple is designed to complement hard seats and stools — outdoor furniture can be made of materials that aren’t comfortable to sit in for long periods of time (rattan and wood come to mind). It features an anti-slip bottom to help it stay in place, a cooling comfort cushion and cover with built-in handles for when you need to move around. This cushion is described as having a five to eight hour sit time, which is recommended since the seat is designed to bounce back with “normal use.”
While you can spray sunscreen on yourself before going outside, the sun can present a problem when trying to see what’s on your screen. This sun shade is specifically made for laptops that are 17 inches or less in width, acting as a canopy. It features a back opening for cables. Keep in mind that this sun shade isn’t waterproof. But it is constructed from a UV-resistant material.
As with an indoor home office, you should consider how much space you actually have for an outdoor home office — a bigger backyard might mean you can type from a patio table while a smaller balcony may only fit a lap desk.
While not foldable, you can work on this lap desk whether you are sitting at a table or laying in a lounge chair — it has handles so you can carry it around as well and a bolster cushion at the bottom that conforms to your lap. The desk includes a storage pocket on the side, tablet or phone holder and a wrist pad. This lap desk has earned an average 4.6-star rating from more than 3,800 reviews.
You’ve probably heard your laptop when it’s overheated — that warmth could feel even worse if you’re working outside. This device is designed to cool your laptop. Using a USB port, this cooler features three fans that are meant to be quiet. LED indicator lights near the on/off switch tell you if the cooling pad is properly working. This pad includes an ergonomic stand with adjustable height settings and boasts an average 4.5-star rating over more than 24,000 reviews.
If there’s enough shade and too much sun in your outdoor office setup, an adjustable umbrella can provide protection — and you can take it along with you to the beach or park, too. This umbrella comes with a clamp at its base that can attach to a chair, so no need to have a patio table to put it through. The umbrella comes in two sizes: Regular, which is just under 2 pounds, and XL. It’s lined with a material that offers UPF 50+ protection. You can move the umbrella in different directions with the help of a 360-degree swivel and a two-button hinge. You can choose between eight colors, including Midnight Blue and Turquoise. This umbrella has earned an average 4.3-star rating over more than 27,000 reviews on Amazon.
To stay charged outside, an outdoor extension cord can connect you to an outlet that’s farther away. This affordable extension cord is both slip- and water-resistant, with a vinyl covering that’s meant to protect it from abrasion and direct sunlight. You can plug in three devices —your laptop, phone and tablet, for example — at the same time. This version is 10 feet long, but you can also pick between 15, 25 and 50 feet on Amazon and Walmart. The cord is highly rated — with an average 4.8-star rating over more than 1,500 reviews.
Trying to stay productive during a pandemic hasn’t been easy — especially alongside balancing housework, childcare and more. But outdoors can be distracting, too. With birds chirping, bees buzzing and noisy neighbors, there might be some sounds you want to tune out while working outside. Among the best active noise cancelling headphones of 2021,these headphones feature 11 levels of noise cancellation to choose from and voice pickup, which is meant to make your voice sounds clear on calls even if there’s a breeze. If you’re busy, you can use Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to change a song or ask about the weather — along with just tapping or holding the right earcup to listen to Spotify. The headphones can last up 20 hours on a single charge.