15 Little Ways to Enjoy the Summer When You're Trapped in the Office
As you’ve probably noticed, summer has arrived! And we’re sure you’ve also noticed that your office is still operating as if it’s not beautiful outside. You’re stuck inside, staring at a stock image of a beach as your desktop background while your social media feeds get filled with photos of tropical getaways, Summer Friday activities, and tan lines.
While you can definitely continue daydreaming of your next escape, you can also take matters into your own hands and learn to enjoy the season from indoors. While my tips and tricks won’t land you that summer glow, they’ll definitely help you scroll through Instagram without feeling (quite so) jealous.
1. Make Fruit-Infused Water
One of the best parts of it being sunny out is having the excuse to down fruity drinks without feeling silly. And we’re not just talking poolside cocktails! To make a summery, SFW drink, all you need is a flavor enhancer, like MiO Liquid Water Enhancer. Or, check out these DIY recipes that you can make at home and leave in the office fridge.
2. Switch Up Your Playlist
’Tis the season to make a new playlist with all your favorite summer hits. Maybe it’s a classic like “Summer” by Calvin Harris, or perhaps it’s a song that no one else relates to summer but reminds you of your family’s annual beach trip. Or maybe, it’s just a compilation of every “song of the summer” from the past 20 years from Spotify. Get everyone (else stuck) in the office involved by asking for suggestions. If you’re still feeling stumped, start with Billboard’s recommendations.
3. Brighten Your Desk
It’s no secret that colors affect our mood, environment, and work ethic. So, why not incorporate the colors of the beach into your workspace? May I suggest starting with this poster or this desktop sand box—or this amazing fish tank deskcoration if you’re in the mood to go all out?
4. Plan a Frozen Treat Happy Hour
If your office doesn’t participate in Summer Fridays, suggest starting an (alcohol-free) happy hour on Fridays to enjoy some ice cream sundaes (or slightly less-messy ice cream sandwiches). The only thing that doesn’t work for this? Bringing your guilt! Taking an hour away from work will actually make you more productive. So, put down your computer, and pick up a scoop.
5. Lighten Up
Whether you bring a new lamp to your desk or purchase a “happy light,” brightening up your workspace is a simple trick to feeling more like you’re outdoors. Especially when you’re trapped in a cubicle craving some sunshine. Try out this one to get the full sunlight effect—even if you can’t see any windows.
6. Play With Your Wardrobe
Nothing notes a season change more than switching out your closet. If your most beloved part of summer is a sundress or bright shorts, find ways to wear incorporate your summer pieces into your wardrobe. Obviously, keep your company’s dress code in mind, and be sure that all attire is work-appropriate. But, there’s no reason you should still be wearing what you wore when it was snowing out. (Ladies—check out some of our outfit suggestions here.)
7. Switch Up Your Lunch
BBQs are great for the summer, so leave the boring old sandwiches at home and grab a hot dog or burger for lunch. Bonus points if you start an indoor BBQ tradition with your co-workers! Rather than firing up the grill, you just need everyone to agree to bring a key ingredient: buns, hot dogs, ketchup, you know the drill.
8. Get Outside Every Day
A little fresh air can do your mind and body wonders, so step outside for some breaks during the day. It’s a simple trick that will score you some Vitamin D and improve your efficiency. Can you say win-win?
9. Bring Popsicles for Your Office
Stock your office freezer full of popsicles and snack on one when you’re craving a treat—or, better yet, make some friends by offering them up to your co-workers. Have a few extra minutes? Grab one and go sit outside while you eat it.
10. Buy a Plant
Bring the outdoors (and some fresh O2) to your cubicle with some small plants. Even if you can’t physically be outside, you’ll feel a little better if you can actually see some green. Personally, I love this one—and not just because it’s called a Donkey’s Tail.
11. Make Your Schedule More Summer-Friendly
If possible, start coming in an hour earlier so you can actually head out at a reasonable hour and enjoy the late night sunshine. (Because it wasn’t so long ago that it was dark at 4 PM.) Or, put the bulk of your work or meetings on your schedule earlier in the week to allow you to duck out on Friday afternoons without missing anything important.
12. Use Your Lunch Breaks Differently
Eat outside instead of at your desk, bring your lunch so that you can use your break to get a quick mani-pedi, or spend those 30 minutes reading a book at the park near your office. Feeling more ambitious (and have a bit more time)? Work out! From walking around the neighborhood to taking a short class to jumping in the local gym’s pool, it’s possible to be active in the middle of the day without getting behind.
13. Make Summer Friday Friends
Also known as all of those other people who have to work on Fridays, too. Try to make a routine to grab lunch together at your favorite outdoor restaurant. Or, at the very least, know who will be around on Gchat when the rest of the world goes quiet at 2 PM.
14. Change Up Your Commute
If you usually drive to work or take the train, give yourself extra time in the mornings to walk or bike to work. If that’s not an option, try to take a different route. Switching up your daily routine (especially if it’s been daily for years) will feel more exciting than you even realize.
15. Get Sporty
Bring summer sports to your office! While I don’t recommend throwing a frisbee around electronics, there’s no reason you can’t take 10 minutes to toss one around with your co-worker outside in the parking lot. Or, if your office has the spare room (and your co-workers understand the difference between tossing a beanbag and torpedo-ing it), you can easily play a quick game of cornhole.
The line in the sand (too soon?): You don’t have to envy your traveling friends during the summertime. Incorporate your favorite parts of the season into your office space to help you enjoy the warm months while you’re still trapped indoors.
Photo of work to beach courtesy of Shutterstock.
A UNC-Wilmington grad born and raised in North Carolina, Kaitlyn always knew she would end up in NYC to pursue writing. As a summer editorial intern, she contributes career advice to The Muse. In addition, she also writes for other publications, such as USA TODAY College, Her Campus, and The Huffington Post. You can find her searching the city for the best eats, binge-watching Netflix, or catching up with friends at dinner. Say hi on Twitter @KaitlynRussell_More from this Author