13 things that will keep you focused and productive while working outside
Enjoy the sun while also getting your work done this summer.
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Despite the fact that many states are slowly starting to reopen, many companies are still allowing—or even requiring—their employees to work from home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While our experts previously scoured the Internet for everything you need to work remotely, warmer weather (and months in quarantine) has all of us itching to get outside.
If you want to soak up the sun this summer—and want a change of scenery from the four walls of your home office—we've rounded up 12 highly-rated products that will make working outside possible. Whether it's an umbrella that clips onto your chair for shade or a must-have WiFi range extender, these are the things you need to create an outdoor office space.
1. An anti-glare screen for your laptop
It's hard to get any work done when you're blinded by the light reflecting off your laptop screen (i.e. you can't see a thing you're typing in that very important email). One solution is to place an anti-glare screen protector over your actual screen. This one from Amazon has over 1,500 reviews from customers who like that the matte film effectively reduces any glare—so you can actually see your computer—and that it also protects your screen from dust and scratches at the same time.
2. A mini fan that plugs right into your laptop
When it's 90+ degrees outside, you'll likely get hot and sweaty even just sitting at the table typing away. To keep yourself at least somewhat cool, consider a tiny-but-mighty desk fan like this one, which plugs directly into the USB port on your laptop. It has over 2,500 rave reviews for being easy to adjust (there are three different speeds along with a head that you can tilt to any angle) and for having surprisingly strong air flow.
3. A cooling pad to keep your laptop from overheating
You might like soaking up the sun, but your laptop does not—and the hotter it gets outside, the harder your device has to work to stay cool. Enter this cooling pad, which has over 11,400 (!!) reviews on Amazon. People love that it's lightweight and portable (perfect for carrying back and forth between inside and outside) and that it keeps your laptop cool without being loud and obnoxious (the fans are surprisingly quiet!). Bonus: It double as an adjustable ergonomic laptop stand as well.
4. A top-rated WiFii extender for faster Internet
The further you are from your house (a.k.a when you're 20 yards away at the pool), the further you are from your WiFi. So a WiFi extender like this Netgear one—which has over 12,900 reviews on Amazon—will most definitely come in handy. Our own video producer here at Reviewed, Melissa Rorech, uses it and says it's solved all of her spotty Internet issues and gives her faster speeds no matter where she is at home (it provides coverage up to 1,000 feet!).
5. An expert-approved outdoor extension cord
Because you don't want to have to run inside every time your laptop battery runs low, get yourself the outdoor extension cord that our experts dubbed the best value one you can buy. It's well-constructed and weather-resistant, provides more than enough power to keep your devices charged up, and is a whopping 50 feet long so you aren't forced to sit right outside the door. Plus, at less than $33, it's very budget-friendly compared to other cords.
6. A foldable desk you can set up anywhere
No patio table? No problem. All you need is this folding desk from Amazon, which boasts a 4.7-star rating from over 5,500 reviewers. They rave that it's lightweight and portable and incredibly easy to set up—it folds right up into place. Not only that but customers say they like that it's spacious enough to fit a laptop and other devices and is surprisingly sturdy given its light weight.
7. A lightweight desk chair that's easy to move around
Working outside sounded like a great idea until you realized you'd have to lug your heavy oak office chair all the way from your home office upstairs out to the patio. Save yourself some trouble (and save your nice chair from getting dinged up) by getting a lightweight, portable office chair like this one to roll outside easily. With over 300 positive reviews on Wayfair, the 25-pound chair is praised for its lumbar support, comfortable cushion, and, most importantly, breathable mesh back that's perfect for sitting—and sweating—in the sun.
8. A lap desk so you can lounge while you work
One of the big perks of working outside is being able to get a good tan while also answering those important emails and meeting all your deadlines. This lap desk—which has over 1,800 reviews—helps you do just that, by sitting comfortably on your lap while you lounge poolside. People love that it's sturdy yet lightweight and cushioned and that it also has a slot for your phone along with a built-in mousepad. Users also say that the desk provides proper ventilation for your laptop—a must when working in the sun.
9. An umbrella that clips right onto your chair for shade
You want to sit in the shade for a bit but your entire yard is in the bright sun and you don't feel like dealing with the hassle of setting up an actual patio r beach umbrella. Meet the solution that over 8,800 people swear by: the Sport-Brella Versa-Brella, which clips easily onto any chair for instant shade. Amazon shoppers love that it's durable and sturdy, provides ample coverage, and is even SPF 50 so you're fully protected from the sun's rays.
10. Our favorite noise canceling headphones
Between the neighbors mowing the lawn and your own family having fun by the pool, there are tons of distractions outside that can make focusing on that meeting you're stuck in feel impossible. That's where a good pair of noise canceling headphones comes in. Of all the ones we've tested, we like the Sony WH-1000XM3 the best because they're comfortable to wear for hours and can block almost any volume of sounds. Plus, you can even customize the noise cancellation to choose just how much of the outside world you can hear.
11. An insulated Yeti water bottle to keep you hydrated
Even if you're just sitting at your patio table hunched over your laptop, it's still important to stay hydrated when you're outside. And since nobody wants to be sipping warm water, here at Reviewed, we recommend the popular Yeti Rambler. Our experts found it to be one of the best water bottles for keeping beverages icy cold (it's made with double-walled insulation and stainless steel) and we like that it has a large capacity and an extra-wide mouth for easy sipping.
12. An easy-to-apply sunscreen stick
So you have the cooling pad and the screen cover to protect your laptop—but what about protecting yourself? Rather than risking liquid lotions and messy sprays around your devices, use this highly-rated sunscreen stick from Neutrogena, which has nearly hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon. Not only does it swipe on easily with no mess but it also provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is both oil- and oxybenzone-free.
13. A solar-powered charger for your devices
Put all that sunshine to good use with this best-selling solar-powered charger from Amazon, which is water-, dust-, and shock-proof. According to its 2,200+ reviewers, the rugged charger is compact and lightweight yet powerful—it can charge an iPhone three times over before it needs to be recharged. It has a USB, USB-C, and micro USB port and can even charge your devices wirelessly. Perfect for when you're working somewhere that isn't near a power outlet, like at the park or the beach.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.