Working from the Cabin

Working from home (WFH) started out of necessity, and one of the upsides is the ability to work from virtually anywhere. People have proven they can work remotely, and with that, flexible work schedules are here to stay. And with all that flexibility, what better place to work than at the lake?

It’s true, there really is no better place to work than at the cabin. You can’t beat the work environment and ready access to the outdoors. The WFH trend has allowed our families much more time at the lake. With years of fond memories, our adult children are still drawn to the cabin, and they’ve extended their visits by bookending two weekends with a couple of work days and PTO. Quality family time at this stage of life has been such a bonus.

As much as we enjoy working from the cabin (WFC), getting it right has required that we make some accommodations. We think the benefits far outweigh the challenges, and we’d like to share some of the things we’ve learned along the way.

Adequate Work Space. At the cabin, space can be tight. There isn’t always room for a dedicated office.  Any flat surface can potentially be a place to work, but improvisation and creativity are key.

  • Look for a pocket of open space, perhaps a hallway or loft landing? Amy’s husband added a small high top desk (with ability to stand or sit using a bar height chair) to the upstairs landing – what was once idle space, now allows him the best view of the lake!
  • Consider converting a guest bedroom into a part-time office. Here are some ideas:
    • Swap out a nightstand for a smaller, narrow table. With a chair pulled up (check the table height), this easily serves as a desk. 
    • Instead of a dresser, consider purchasing a secretary desk. This way you’ll have drawer space below for clothes storage and a built-in workspace above. 
    • Are one of your bedrooms due for a new mattress? Consider installing a Murphy bed.  Add a desk and comfortable office chair. Voila! You now have an office by day and guest room by night.
Behind this gorgeous cabinetry…
is a cleverly hidden Murphy bed.

Technology Upgrade.

  • We’ve found that Wifi boosters are great for stretching work spaces beyond cabin walls: the patio, gazebo, even the dock can be a great place to work. 
  • Portable monitors are also handy, as they are easy to transport and stow out of sight when not in use.
  • You may wish to stock up on phone and laptop chargers in the event someone forgets something at home.

Work/Life Balance. Our cabins have always been a “retreat” or “escape” from everyday life. As we adopt the WFC mentality, we need to work a little harder to preserve that feeling.

  • For us, the most important thing is to put away all computers and monitors at the end of the work day to signal that it’s “cabin time”. (A glass of wine helps, too!)
  • And like WFH, it’s important to be disciplined about a “coffee break” or lunch break away from the computer. Here’s where that WFC flexibility means we can take a walk in the woods, a bike ride, or a quick spin in the boat.

Mealtime Demands. In the absence of lunches out and coffee shop stops, working remotely has placed a greater demand on at-home meals. And, it has made do-ahead meal planning and prepping more popular than ever before. It was hard to choose, but here are a couple of favorite recipes that have eased meal planning and preparation for us.

Chris was an early adopter of the ‘overnight oats’ trend. Oats are easy to prepare, nutritious, and allow the family to customize to their liking. They are perfect for the summer (no oven required) and for company. Below is a recipe for a batch of basic overnight oats and some delicious flavor combinations.

Amy loves sheet pan dinners for their ease of prep and cleanup. They’re packed with flavor, nutrition, and appetite appeal. What better way to pull off a delicious meal after a day of work? Basil Balsamic Sheet Pan Chicken includes a great blend of summer veggies in a delicious, Italian-inspired meal.

We have loved the WFC shift in our lives – it’s so wonderful to enjoy lake views that promote calming vibes and a positive perspective. Whether you are an empty nester like we are, or the parent of young children, we hope our ideas will help you fine tune your WFC setup so you can enjoy more family time at the lake this summer. Cheers!

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