Career / Career Progression

The Best WFH Setup for a Project Manager

Best WFH Setup for Project Managers
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Published on October 18, 2022

Even before we added COVID-19 pandemic to our everyday vocabulary, working from home part-time was becoming a big talking point. And now, roles that traditionally didn’t offer work-from-home possibilities are commonplace — and probably for good.

For example, it’s no longer a must for project managers to be on-site or at the office. A PM who is well-organized, a strong communicator, and has the right approach can be successful from anywhere.

But to truly be successful working from home, you need the right setup. That ideal setup depends on what exactly your job and duties entail. In this case, we are taking a look at some setup suggestions for a home-based project manager. 

1. A Dedicated Office Space

This can be challenging for some, but the first ingredient is a dedicated office space. Now, it can be a spare bedroom, a converted garage…even a corner in the basement or a really big walk-in closet.

Having a dedicated space means you still get to have a work area, and work stays there and you can take breaks. On the other, if you do share your space, a dedicated area means you have someplace to go that you control (think needing quiet for conference calls).

2. Reliable Home Internet

This should be self-explanatory. Working from home, you need to be connected. A reliable ISP and good bandwidth is vital — because you’ll still be expected to run and attend a lot of meetings even while remote. You don’t want to be cutting in and out on a video call with stakeholders.

3. Ample Desk Space

I remember my time as a PM, and one thing I always loved was having a lot of desk space. I could be looking at contracts, printed paperwork or what have you, so you can’t go wrong with a nice big desk.

Whether it’s an IKEA DIY desk, or one of those nice standing desks that are quite popular, just get a good-sized surface.

4. Screen Real Estate

Speaking of ample, screen real estate is crucial. You do not want to be staring at a 13-inch laptop all day, every day. 

You might choose one larger screen, or prefer a multiple monitor setup. Whatever your taste, make sure you have what you need. Personally, I have dual monitors, using one for document review and the other for productivity. That works for me, it may not work for you.

5. Wireless Headphones

Newsflash: project managers can be on calls… a lot of calls. As a former PM, I could be on calls almost my entire day. If I was supporting a cutover at night, that could be another six or eight hours on calls. 

Having a reliable wireless headset is a great idea, or having a couple even, to switch between during longer calls. AirPods are great because you can alternate pods to keep them charged, but there are other options that allow wired use when charging.

6. A Whiteboard

Now, with all the focus on electronics, this one is going old school — an actual whiteboard. I have one in my office area, it’s not huge, but it is great for reminders, upcoming project deliverables, and the like. It is always there, so no fumbling for a post-it or anything.

As an added bonus, there are gadgets out there that can make that analog whiteboard usable in a digital space (check out Rocketbook Beacons). If that isn’t your thing, there are apps that also mimic a whiteboard on your tablet of choice, which can also be shared virtually.

7. Writing Tools

Keeping with the writing theme, good writing tools are invaluable. There are plenty of apps, for laptops and tablets, that make writing notes a breeze. Some prefer typing, some favor using a stylus and converting that to digital files.

Some would rather stick to a plain old notebook and pen. There are even hybrid, reusable notebooks-write notes, scan with your smartphone, upload to the cloud, wipe the pages, and repeat.

What you use is less important than finding your workflow and sticking to it. I prefer the hybrid option because all my notes end up in the cloudless physical clutter, and I can access those notes from anywhere.

Final Thoughts

So, there’s just a strong starting basis for a really optimal work-from-home setup for a project manager. Bluntly, these are all aimed at your day-to-day functionality and productivity, but there is still more to it. Make your area a place you enjoy spending time in — whether that means candles or plants or artwork, make it a happy place. 

And while these hopefully can be really useful tips, don’t be afraid to tinker and tune and find the working arrangement that works for you.


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