How to work from the cottage

Working from the cottage this summer? Here’s how to avoid 5 common pitfalls

By Ryan LeclaireRyan Leclaire


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Don’t assume your technology will work

Ignore wireless coverage maps and TV ads touting speedy, far-flung networks. “Network coverage maps only tell you one story,” says Michael Bussiere, whose company, helps people communicate from remote locations, as he does from his lake house in Val-des-Monts, Que. “If you’re on the wrong side of a hill, there could be a serious issue with reception.”

Roger Pierce, a small business expert who is co-founder of and works from his cottage in the Kawartha Lakes, says he’s also been burned by poor coverage. “Once, during a call with a client, signal strength started to fade. I had no choice but to untie the fishing boat and drift out onto the lake where the signal improved slightly. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to take notes during that call.” So, if possible, try before you buy and always check on the equipment’s return policy, before you get locked into a contract.

Choose your workspace carefully

Don’t set up shop somewhere where you’ll be distracted by people having more fun than you. Find a room with a door. “Spare bedrooms aren’t used that often, and guests typically don’t mind cohabitating with a small workstation,” says Pierce.

Make a schedule and stick to it

“Set some reasonable working hours and ask your family to respect those hours as do-not-disturb-time,” advises Pierce. Make sure friends and neighbours know your work schedule as well.

Work during quiet times

Whether it’s in the morning, or late at night, do the bulk of your work when distractions are few. If you keep your head down, you may find that you’ll only need three cottage hours to do eight city hours worth of work.

Don’t forget why you’re there

You’re there to work and play, so don’t pointlessly ostracize yourself from the fun stuff. Instead, Pierce advises that you use the cottage setting as a reward. “You’ll work extra-fast to get to that nice cool swim in the lake.”

This article was originally published on May 18, 2010

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Jul. 13, 2011

12:51 pm

Three cottage hours to do 8 city hours sounds like a great trade-off to me. But what will the boss think?

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