This portable armadillo-like workstation is perfect for working outdoors

The Shelly is a portable workstation with a bench and a canopy which is perfect for knowledge-economy toiling in nature.

Designer Matan Rechter made a concept of a portable outdoor workstation that provides both shade and...
Yanko Design / Matan Rechter

For many of us, working from home remains a reality — and may continue for some time if the Delta variant of coronavirus continues to wreak havoc. But working from home really means working from anywhere you can get an internet connection, and it’s tempting to want to work outdoors, surrounded by nature and fresh air. Except, that’s often easier said than done.

In reality, there are too many problems to deal with outside, from glare on your laptop screen to people around you being distracting, not to mention the increasingly aggressive (gee thanks thinning ozone layer) sun beating down. That’s where a tool called Shelly comes in.

There are, sadly, few good solutions to the outdoor work problem. There exist sunshades that you can put on your laptop to prevent glare, but they can be clunky and don’t address every issue with working outside. A more perfect solution would be something more akin to a tent, and that’s exactly what a designer has toyed with. On Yanko Design, the concept for an all-in-one portable workstation called Shelly shows a unique design that creates a canopy around you and your laptop.

All-in-one — Shelly is described as a personal outdoor workspace that can create both privacy and shade for the workdays you spend outdoors. Named after its shell-like nature, Shelly features a canopy that folds in and out like an armadillo’s shell, and includes a built-in bench and table. When you’re ready to work, Shelly’s bench posts into the upright position and the roof unfurls overhead. If you’re out in a park or other public space, your eye won’t be led astray to the people galavanting around you as the roof provides enough coverage on both sides and overhang to the front that you’ll get near-captive focus on your laptop.

The whole thing is constructed from lightweight aluminum and synthetic Cordura fabric, which is said to protect users from UV radiation. It’s also supposed to be easy to transport, though Shelly seems kind of large nonetheless.

Not a goofy look at all.Yanko Design / Matan Rechter

The concept for Shelly is certainly going in the right direction. Anyone who’s worked outdoors knows that it’s idealized more than it is practical. But you’re going to have to accept that your tent is going to draw attention if you’re out in a public space. And you’ll look a bit goofy, like a person who is super into optimizing their work-from-anywhere setup. But if you’re prepared to deal with gawking strangers (or you have a garden) it could be a great solution... assuming, of course, you live somewhere with a suitably mild climate.