Project managers concerned about adjusting to new working ways

Almost three-quarters of Irish project managers say adjusting to new ways of working following the reopening of the economy is their top concern, as more than half feel less connected and more than a third have noticed an increase in their stress levels.

The 2021 Project Management Pulse Survey undertaken by PwC and the Project Management Institute Ireland Chapter, published on Tuesday, shows Covid-19 has improved the work-life balance for many Irish project managers.

More than four in 10 (42 per cent) Irish project managers reported that Covid-19 has improved their work-life balance. However, 55 per cent feel less connected and 37 per cent have noticed an increase in their stress levels. Nearly a third (29 per cent) reported a decrease in their personal wellbeing.

Respondents also reported the key opportunities exploited as a result of the pandemic included a step-up in digital transformation (36 per cent), greater agility and better decision-making (32 per cent) and greater operational efficiencies (32 per cent).

Six in 10 reported a delay in project delivery due to Covid-19 mainly due to Government restrictions, poor team engagement and lack of resources.

Communication barriers (48 per cent), skills gaps (38 per cent) and technical issues (31 per cent) were also cited as areas that had become more difficult due to the pandemic.

These challenges impacted negatively on motivation as nearly a third (30 per cent) noticed a decrease in their own motivation since working remotely. When asked about their team’s motivation, 34 per cent of respondents also reported a decrease in team motivation.

This is despite an overwhelming majority (87 per cent) reporting that their organisation had introduced incentives over the last 12 months to improve motivation within the team such as more flexible working (71 per cent), wellness programmes (63 per cent) and greater staff engagement and collaborative tools (40 per cent).

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Digital transformation

With many having worked remotely for more than a year, 85 per cent of Ireland’s project managers said that digital transformation incorporating new technologies was the top area for further investment over the next three years.

Other areas for investment include initiatives to realise cost efficiencies (70 per cent) and upskilling (51 per cent).

Just half (50 per cent) reported plans to invest in sustainability and climate-change initiatives over the next three years.

The top three concerns for the year ahead are adjusting to new ways of working following the reopening of the economy (72 per cent); the health and wellbeing of their workforce (64 per cent) and the availability of key skills (62 per cent).

At the same time, over nine out of 10 (93 per cent) are confident about their organisation’s prospects for future revenue growth in the year ahead, including 58 per cent who are very confident. Two-thirds expect to increase headcount.

Jackie Glynn, president of the Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute, said: “These survey results show that the project-management community is resilient, optimistic and adaptable.

“Project managers have had to draw on and develop their skill sets – the ability to manage change, adapt to external and internal disruptions, and continue to deliver projects that perform, within budget and on schedule.

“In a post-pandemic work environment, organisational flexibility, a greater emphasis on transparency and leveraging emerging technologies will be key to ensuring businesses stay ahead of the curve.”


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