Tips for Working at Home



By John Cable, Director

Project Management Center for Excellence
A. James Clark School of Engineering
University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland, USA



If you are generally new to working from home on a full-time basis, we at the University of Maryland’s Project Management Center for Excellence have put together a few ideas that may be useful.


It is best to develop a schedule and routine that works for you. Treat the day like a workday and get up on time, dress for the office (even if it is casual) and try to keep a regular schedule.

  • Plan your day to work with your natural energy cycle. We all have one and they are different. Maybe you are a morning person or a night owl or something in between. Your curve may look something like this:

In any case, schedule your focused work during your peak energy cycle and do things that require less focus during low energy times. This is a natural cycle but can be influenced by diet and exercise. Eat some protein when you need to push through a low energy time to finish a task.

  • Take breaks at whatever interval works for you, even if it’s just getting a fresh coffee and walking around the house for a minute.
  • Be sure to change your field of vision and focal length when you take a break. If you are sitting at a computer doing your work, make sure to look out the window or go outside so you are looking at a distance.
  • Forget the 8-10 hour typical day in the office and don’t be afraid to take breaks for personal things you need to get done. Working from home means you actually have a much longer workday!
  • Stay in contact with work colleagues and friends by scheduling video conferences. We actually do virtual cocktail parties with friends a few times a week to stay in touch and schedule regular “catch-ups” with work colleagues.
  • Coordinate with family members so they understand and accommodate.



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How to cite this article: Cable, J. H. (2020). Tips for Working at Home, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/pmwj93-May2020-Cable-tips-for-working-at-home2.pdf



About the Author


John Cable

Director, Project Management Center for Excellence
University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA



John Cable is Director of the Project Management Center for Excellence in the A.James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he is also a professor and teacher of several graduate courses in project management. His program at the University of Maryland offers masters and PhD level programs focused on project management. With more than 1,300 seats filled annually with students from many countries, including more than 40 PhD students, the program is the largest graduate program in project management at a major university in the United States.

John Cable served in the newly formed U.S. Department of Energy in 1980, where he was involved with developing energy standards for buildings, methods for measuring energy consumption, and managing primary research in energy conservation.  As an architect and builder, Mr. Cable founded and led John Cable Associates in 1984, a design build firm. In 1999 he was recruited by the University of Maryland’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering to create and manage a graduate program in project management. In his role as founder and director of the Project Management Center for Excellence at Maryland, the program has grown to offer an undergraduate minor, master’s degrees, and a doctoral program. Information about the Project Management Center for Project Management at the University of Maryland can be found at www.pm.umd.edu.

In 2002, PMI formed the Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Educational Programs (GAC).  Mr. Cable was appointed to that inaugural board where he served as vice chair.  In 2006, he was elected as chairman, a role he held through 2012.  As Chair of the PMI GAC, John led the accreditation of 86 project management educational programs at 40 institutions in 15 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia Pacific Region. John was awarded PMI’s 2012 Distinguished Contribution Award for his leadership at the GAC.  He can be contacted at jcable@umd.edu.

To view other works by John Cable, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-cable/