Good day sunshine! Grab your laptop for a day of remote working garden-side. But wait, what’s this: rubbish reception, a screen you can’t see and a laptop that feels dangerously warm? Don’t get put off, here’s how to combat all of these annoyances and live the working from home al fresco dream.
It’s no good working outside if you can’t see a thing on your laptop. Even in the shade your screen might be a little on the dim-side when it’s super sunny.
You could invest in a laptop sunshade, a nifty little gadget starting from about £30, that is basically like a beach tent but for shielding your computer. Or try the latest in ‘working from home technology’ – the cardboard box. A simple but genius hack shared during the early lockdown days of 2020.
Whack up the screen brightness and turn on high contrast mode as this always helps outdoor screen visibility. Although for those who can’t connect to a mains’ outside, this is a big battery drain.
You can even use your fashion choices to help. Light/white clothing will create extra screen reflection, so stick to black. Polarised sunglasses will also reduce the glare too.
Your computer isn’t designed to work in sweltering hot temperatures, nor are you, so make sure you’re both protected.
Keep the internal fan clear to prevent its vents from getting blocked. Which means not resting your laptop directly on grass, fabrics or carpet, as the heat can get trapped inside your computer and cause damage. If you want to go all out, get a special stand which shield your device from the sun and come with in-built fans.
Regularly check the underside of your laptop, if it’s hotter than usual, you need to move it out of the heat and let it cool back down. There are plenty of free temperature monitoring apps you can install too.
And whilst your laptop’s health is important, yours is too. Slather sun cream on 15 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours.
Working outside productively can only happen with the magic of a decent internet connection.
Move your router to the closest indoors spot to your garden. If that doesn’t help, there are other options too.
As it says on the tin, these extend the reach of your Wi-Fi around your home and (hopefully) into your garden. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. Plug Wi-Fi extenders into the mains and they work by taking your existing signal and boosting it. They need to be plugged into a wall socket that is close enough to your router but located near enough to your garden to provide adequate coverage.
More powerful, reliable, and effective than Wi-Fi extenders – but slightly higher in price and fiddliness. These create a network of multiple sources of Wi-Fi around your home and into your garden. Instead of just boosting a signal from a single router, they all act as additional sources and communicate with each other wirelessly. There are even products designed especially to be outside in the garden. Before buying standalone products – prices from about £100 – check with your internet provider to see if they have any good mesh network add-on options.
If you don’t have an outdoor plug, or an extension lead won’t safely reach, it’s time to be battery savvy to get as long as possible on your charge.
Turn down sound and brightness, activate ‘sleep mode’ on your laptop when not in use and select your battery-saver option.
It’s worth thinking about getting an outdoor socket installed to open up a wealth of opportunities for all your outdoor devices – lights, lawnmowers, hot tubs, heaters, etc – this is normally a simple job for a professional electrician with costs starting from £120.