By Dave Collins
“We’re smart apes to develop a society that keeps us indoors on warm summer days”
-anonymous

What if we all worked outside? That is to say, what if the roof and walls of our office buildings were suddenly vaporized and we found ourselves exposed to the breeze and birds? Could we still be productive? Would we still be able to spell check our memos, to pivot our tables, to mail merge our contacts? Would we be blinded by the glare on our laptops?

Let’s say hypothetically for a minute that we live in a climate with ideal weather. Let’s call this place “California”. Let’s also say that we have access to a wireless modem, smartphone, laptop computer and backup rechargeable batteries. What would stop us from working outside all day, every day?

1) The Elements
Sun, rain and wind would make sitting outside for eight hours an unpredictable experience. Changing weather would require you to not only carry extra business cards in your laptop case, but also a jacket, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen. Another major concern would be protecting your computer. Some companies, such as terralogic and rugged notebooks will sell you a weather proof laptop. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, however, you can always waterproof your computer yourself.

2) Ergonomics
One of the benefits of having a permanent indoor place to work is access to comfortable furniture. A portable, height adjustable table can be used as a seated or standing work surface. As far as chairs go, rolling your Herman Miller Aeron chair to your neighborhood park may seem like a good idea, but is probably more hassle than is necessary. Since we’re challenging ourselves to work in a healthier way, why not use this opportunity to purchase an exercise ball to use as a task chair. Not only is it great for your health, it is also a durable and portable (just deflate it!) alternative to a bulky office chair. (And during your coffee break you can take on the neighborhood kids in a game of moonball.)

3) “Professional Image”
Logging into a video conference and seeing your colleague sitting peacefully outside in a park may be a shock for some. However, a quick explanation of the benefits of your new “natural cubicle” may actually change some minds. What better way to “go green” than to literally sit under the shade of a eucalyptus tree? If a client asks why she is hearing birds in the background of your conference call, explain how you’re passing the savings on to her by cutting your overhead costs. With the right attitude, working outside is a great way to demonstrate your skill with mobile technology as well as your adaptability to adverse conditions.

You’re now fully equipped to skip the subway and work right from your backyard. If you do spend some time working outside, let us here at DEGW know how it went: snap a photo of you or a coworker working outside, share it with us here on the blog and show off your outdoor style!

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