Written by Sam Bowen
What does your perfect day at the cabin look like? Perhaps you’d take a dawn walk, followed by a late-morning brunch and a mid-afternoon siesta. In the evening, you could go for a swim in the lake and still have time to spend barbecuing for the family.
With a schedule like that, you may be tricked into thinking you need to book some time off of work whenever you go to the cabin. This may even prevent you from visiting your cabin as often as you'd like — few of us can take off every other week of work to head out of town.
But what if it was possible to enjoy the lake, roast s'mores over the fire and relax on the deck during a workday? Well, with a home office in your cabin, taking a “workcation” might be possible.
Understanding the “Workcation”
The idea of working while on vacation is a largely misunderstood concept. Most folks falsely believe that working while on holiday is a sign of workaholism and that the break will be undermined by answering emails late into the night.
However, a “workcation” isn’t meant to replace a traditional, work-free, vacation — it’s meant to be an addition to your usual vacation time. Workcations are also good for your performance, as traveling can provide personal enrichment, lower your stress, and give you the mental reset that you need to solve problems and think creatively.
When planning a workcation, keep your paid holiday to one side. You might need to take a day off for travel but should largely plan to complete your normal 9 - 5 while working from your cabin. To facilitate this, try to plan workcations during a time when you don’t need to be tethered to your desk all day and let your coworkers know that you’re planning to work while at the cabin.
Home Office Essentials
Working from the cabin is great — until you realize that you’re missing something essential like printer ink or your keyboard. Suddenly, your dream workcation can become a headache as you try to find a workaround.
You can make your time in the cabin more productive by planning ahead and getting all your essentials in order before you head out. Fortunately, you can use your current work-from-home setup to design a home office in your cabin. Pay particular attention to things like:
- Adequate Wi-Fi access/internet speed
- Printers and printer ink for documents that need to be signed
- Power outlets and extension plugs for your devices
- Ergonomic office furniture
You can improve on the basics by bringing along any conveniences that you’ve grown used to. Coffee machines and mini-fridges will improve your quality of life as a remote worker and keep you on track during the workday.
Separating Work and Play
The hardest thing about working from the cabin is distractions. You probably aren’t tempted to jump in the water or go fishing during your normal workday, but when the lake is a few feet away, the temptation to get your waders on and catch some trout is almost insurmountable.
It’s also important to note that separating work and play can help prevent burnout. Many remote workers struggle to “switch off” after work and end up replying to emails and checking work-related notifications well after their shift has ended. When you’re up in the cabin, the last thing you want to be doing is taking calls when you should be barbecuing and paddleboarding.
You can improve your chances of staying focused on the task at hand by separating your home office from the rest of your cabin life. Usually, this means that you should set up your office in a dedicated room or nook that gets little foot traffic and is somewhat isolated. This is particularly important if you’re in the cabin with your family, as they will always tempt you into calling it a day a little earlier than you meant to.
Small Cabins and Home Offices
Not every cabin boasts multiple guest rooms that can be converted into a home office. However, even if your cabin is a true tiny home, you can still take advantage of some sneaky ways to save space and create a home office area.
Start by organizing your cabin with work in mind. You can utilize furniture which doubles as storage and should aim to subdivide the area you do have. Subdividing your space is easy — a curtain and rail should do the trick — and will help you feel like you are “at work” during the day. When you are finished working, draw the curtain back around your desk to avoid the temptation to work overtime while you should be enjoying your workcation.
Designing a home office in your cabin is a treat. You’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors during your lunch break and can still find time to roast s’mores or go for a swim when your workday is finished. Just be sure to bring all the essentials you need and try to create a dedicated space for work. Even a curtained-off office space will help you avoid distractions and ensure that you remain productive while working remotely in your cabin.