How to actually get work done outside

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

With phone meetings, documents in the cloud and other non-location specific tasks working anywhere can become a reality for more and more people.

Over the years, I’ve worked in many places:

  • The office
  • While walking on a treadmill
  • In the car-not while driving
  • On a beach ?
  • On a plane ✈
  • In my backyard
  • At my daughter’s sports practices

So it’s not impossible to work anywhere and it really all depends on the task at hand.

One of the things that I’ve always found ironic was the scenario when people literally carry all their tools-laptops, for example-to the office so they could work on that same piece of equipment there as opposed to somewhere else.

Now, there are exceptions of course. For example, when I go into the office I often have a day of collaborative sessions-some might call them meetings. When they are face to face, being in the location does actually help and builds relationships.

But when the weather is nice, isn’t there a way to work outside at times? Of course – as long as you still get stuff done.

Some of us are over air-conditioned anyways.

But how can you work outside and be successful?

Like many things in change management and digital transformation the answer is that it depends.

Phone calls

Phone calls can pretty much always be done outside as long as it’s not too windy. I wear my Apple headphones and recently bought AirPods, and I’m planning on wearing them for phone calls once they arrive. After all, it’s a phone call. Who cares where you sit, stand or walk. Even in the office I often use a treadmill or stand up deck (with a fantastic view):

Buy your own stand up desk here.

But please remember to push the mute button to filter out unnecessarily background noise.

Writing ✍, e-mail, anything text-based

The biggest problem with working outside to me has been the fact that that’s actually really hard to do when the sun is out. It’s hard to see my laptop screen or my iPhone screen. What makes it worse is when I have to wear sunglasses. But now I think I found the solution, which is to sit in the shade. Duh. I finally came to that conclusion after I bought a new outside umbrella for my yard at home.

Sitting under that umbrella allows me to block the unnecessary brightness, which is what I’m currently doing, to respond to emails and work other text-based tasks.

Of course, I can also take phone calls from that spot but whether or not I am under an umbrella or not doesn’t make any difference to the quality the phone call.

Why is there opposition to working outside?

There certainly can still be a mentality of that if you’re not sitting in front of a computer you are not getting any work done. But of course, it all depends on the job as I’ve said on here before but some jobs certainly can work in different locations. And it might even help them do a better job, come up with new and innovative ideas and tell better stories.

Of course, like everything in life it comes down to a mix – the right mix – and also depends on what tasks are necessary for a day but the one thing I was always struggling with with working outside was that it was really hard to see my screen. There might be other solutions to the problem but sitting in the shade has been one way to solve that issue and allows me to be able to work on text-based tasks and communications while also enjoying the weather.