Being cooped up in my house all day for weeks at a time started taking a toll on me. I had a lot of work that I wanted to do, but found myself lacking motivation from sitting inside and staring at the same boring walls each day.
So, I decided I wanted to do something about it. Like many I’ve been teleworking due to recent events and wanted to spend time outside for some fresh air.
That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea of turning my small balcony into an outdoor office space!
Okay, I realize I’m not the first to come up with such a plan. However, I figured that if I’m going to do it, I might as well try to inspire others to work outside as well.
If you’re a cat owner, here’s an easy guide to converting your tiny balcony into a productive workspace with your feline!. Let’s dive right in!
1. Clean up your balcony
Before you begin setting up your outdoor workspace you’ll want to give it a good cleaning. It’s likely covered in dirt and debris that you wouldn’t want to track inside your home as you move back and forth between the spaces.
Grab a broom and start sweeping
First, you should start by cleaning the balcony floor really well. Grab a broom, dustpan, and small trash bag to take outside with you. Be sure to get up any dead leaves, insects, or whatever else may be hiding in the crevices.
Also, pay careful attention to the corners of the balcony. Some unpleasant things like to pile up there, so it’s a good idea to clean up every bit you can. Besides, you wouldn’t want to see that pile of dirt from the corner of your eye while working and get distracted, would you?
You might even want to consider using a mop or scrub brush if it’s really bad. Our balcony had a bit of mud on it that a broom was useless against. We had to wait until a rainy day to really scrub it all loose and get all of it to wash down the drain.
Wipe down the walls and railing
You might find some dust and spider webs scattered along your balcony rails and adjacent walling. An old thick rag and a bucket filled with warm water and a bit of dish soap should be enough to wipe it all down.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. The goal is to just get rid of any debris that may end up getting your work equipment or materials dirty. Also, it’ll help reduce the chance of any creepy crawlers catching you by surprise when you’re in a meeting or trying to concentrate on an important project.
2. Minimize distractions
Having a workspace that’s free of distractions is ideal, but when working on a balcony that can be hard to achieve. Especially if you live near storefronts, a school, or other busy places where people tend to congregate.
In order to make your balcony office a more productive workspace, you should try to block anything from your field of view that could cause you to lose focus. You can do this in a number of ways.
Tall plants are a great way to separate your balcony from the rest of the outside world and create an enclosed space. Potted bamboo, for example, is very tall and thin, which makes it perfect as a natural barrier. It grows quickly and can add some much-needed privacy to your workspace.
The best part about opting for plants on your balcony is that they can help you relax. Being surrounded by a bit of nature can help you feel more at ease and less stressed when a big deadline approaches.
Another option is that you can set up some kind of partition. A solid one could be used to completely wall off your space. This could be useful if you live on the first floor, or if your neighbor has a balcony right next to yours.
A lattice is another great alternative. It’ll give plants that vine something to grow on while still allowing a bit of light to filter in.
Lastly, a good pair of headphones can make a world of difference. Noise-canceling headphones are great at eliminating the sounds of cars and trucks passing by. They can also help you block out other conversations that may be taking place within earshot of you.
However, if you’re on a budget then any pair of headphones that’ll allow you to crank up some music or listen to meetings will do. It’s just good to have something that’ll drown out sounds that are unrelated to your work.
3. Protect Yourself From the Elements
Rain, sleet, or shine—regardless of what kind of weather there is, you’re going to need to get work done. As the summer months approach and temperatures rise, sitting in direct sunlight can be unbearable.
Adding some shade to your balcony if it doesn’t have any will help protect your skin from the scorching sun and also help you stay cooler. There are different canopy options for small balconies, and some can help keep you dry when it rains as well!
Also, don’t let the winter chill dissuade you from working outside. A blanket to keep over your legs and a small heater can help keep you warm on a chilly day.
4. Set up a Comfy Setting Area
You don’t need anything fancy when it comes to the seating arrangement on your balcony. For most people a simple folding table and chair will do. This is the easiest and quickest option if you’re pressed for time or on a tight budget.
However, if you plan on spending a few hours each day working in your new office, then you might want to look into getting a chair that is a bit more comfortable.
Things to consider when buying a chair:
- Back support
- Arm rests
- Seat cushions
- Storage method
A big leather chair that you might use in a typical indoor office would be too big and bulky to have on your balcony. Plus it would wear very quickly in the direct sunlight and possible rain.
A chair that’s designed to be outdoors works best—especially one with a removable seat cushion that you could bring inside and wash easily.
Depending on the size of your table you may or may not want to have arm rests. If the arm rests are too tall, you might not be able to slide the chair all the way under the table. This might not be an issue while you’re working, but it can be a nuisance when you’re done and want to store stuff away.
5. Set up a Way to Charge Your Devices
Nothing sucks more than feeling additional pressure when you see your phone or laptop battery dip below 30% while you’re still working. Some people may enjoy living on the edge and seeing how low their devices can go before plugging them back in.
Well, if you’re like me and not one of those people, then I recommend planning a way to keep your devices plugged in and charged so that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about.
One easy thing you can do is to run an extension cable from the inside of your home to your balcony. This should be fine for days when the weather is nice, but be sure to bring it back inside when you’re finished!
Once you have your balcony all cleaned and set up, there’s really not much left to do except get to work! It can be really quite refreshing to work outside even if it’s in a small space.
You can bring a big cup of your favorite coffee and some snacks with you to make working on your balcony even more enjoyable. It’ll also save you from being tempted to go inside to nibble on something and procrastinate.
Hopefully these tips for setting up an office on your balcony will make working from home more enjoyable for you! That’s enough reading for now. It’s time to get started with building your new dream office!