How to work from the cottage
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, telecollaborativemedia.com 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 Bizlaunch.ca 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.”