How to work from the cottage (without ruining the cottage)

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Woman working from the cottage Photo by Alex Brylov/Shutterstock

There’s a terrific sense of freedom that comes with the ability to work remotely. For those who choose to do so at cottage, it can be a double-edged sword when your kids’ happy laughter beckons on a Friday afternoon. Here are a few tips you’ll need to be productive without sacrificing precious playtime.

Establish a workspace agreement. One of the biggest challenges you will have is creating boundaries between work and family obligations at your virtual office. To avoid any friction, create an agreement with your family that outlines when you are on work time (make sure your work colleagues and clients know it, too). That way, when you have to take a Skype meeting, for example, there’s no question of you infringing on family time.

Find a work niche. Consider setting up a physical space at the cottage, if possible, that allows you to avoid inconveniencing family during long meetings and helps you stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Get your Internet up to speed. A good way to ensure colleagues and clients of your availability while working remotely at the cottage is to have a speedy internet connection. Every cottage, no matter how remote, can have access to high speed internet thanks to the widespread presence LTE—4G wireless, satellite connectivity—now available from providers such as High Speed Canada, which specializes in providing fast internet access in cottage country and other remote locations. Working with the pros will help you tailor the right package to your needs.

Give employees and clients plenty of face time. One of the best ways to be “present” and avoid misperceptions about your virtual work schedule is to show face. With a powerful internet connection, WiFi can support FaceTime for Apple users, or Skype if that’s preferred. Also consider other video conferencing platforms like Go To Meeting, which enable you to conduct meetings face-to-face from any device, including a phone, tablet, or desktop. A screen sharing service can also come in handy.

Plan your play time. What would be the benefit of working from the cottage if you couldn’t enjoy a paddle or a swim when you feel like it? The key is to plan your play time as much as your work schedule. Allot time for an early morning swim, or a leisurely Friday lunch with the family, and plan to make up the work time either by starting the day earlier or working later.

Keep in touch. Depending how long you are working remotely, it’s a good idea to stay connected with work-related developments through social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Networking and connecting with others reminds people you are still hard at work and ensures you are not missing out on important updates or opportunities.

Stay motivated. Routine is common in a traditional day job, from traveling to and from the office to water cooler chats with co-workers. Develop a routine that works for you at the cottage, such as making tea before and after starting work and scheduling in breaks to feel free to get lost surfing the web. It’s a good idea to set on a certain number of fixed hours for work, and if something pulls you away (oh, say, a speed boat excursion), you know exactly how much time you’ll have to make up on the weekend.