Materials shortages and anxiety about returning to the office are biggest concerns for project managers post-lockdown

With coronavirus restrictions easing across the UK this month, project management professionals have revealed their concerns and what they consider to be the biggest opportunity for the profession post-lockdown. The findings are revealed in a new study by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession.

The study of over 1000 project professionals from around the UK (carried out by research company Censuswide) reveals that the one of the biggest concerns is the lack or shortage of essential materials, cited by 59 per cent of respondents. Projects being delayed or cancelled (52 per cent of respondents), cost increases for customers/clients (48 per cent) and projects being forced to use lower quality materials (43 per cent), are all given as the main implications across industry sectors.

With the majority of project professionals (71 per cent) working remotely since March 2020, the survey also reveals that new ways of working such as a flexible or ‘hybrid’ approach is regarded as the biggest opportunity for the project profession post lockdown, stated by over a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents.

The survey also asked project professionals to share their most important lessons learned in delivering projects remotely. Learning to manage time effectively (cited by 24 per cent), being more proactive (19 per cent), coordinating disparate stakeholders (18 per cent) and learning to increase productivity (15 per cent) were all cited as the most important.

Another concern raised by project professionals in APM’s survey, is the level of anxiety felt about returning to the office, with the majority (63 per cent) of those whose organisation is planning a return to the office saying they feel anxious.

The main reasons cited are:

  • Concerned about catching COVID-19 – 42 per cent
  • Worried it will negatively affect work/life balance - 36 per cent
  • Worried about slipping back into bad working habits associated with the workplace – 32 per cent

Mark Hepworth, acting CEO at APM said;

“The pandemic has tested the ability of organisations to effectively deliver projects, with disruptions to the supply chain and adapting to new ways of working during the lockdown period.

“Our survey highlights that many in the profession are feeling anxious about a return to the office, and so it is important that the appropriate mental health support mechanisms are put in place for staff returning, alongside the necessary measures. As the chartered body for the project profession, APM is committed to supporting and helping the project community, and for individuals who are feeling anxious or concerned at this time.”

APM has worked with the mental health charity Mind, and published a free-to-access mental health toolkit for project professionals and their employers.

The project manager mental health toolkit can be downloaded by visiting mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/remote-project-managers

The APM Hub, an online community for APM members is also available for project management professionals wishing to connect and discuss issues of interest and importance to the project profession.

Visit apm.org.uk for further information about APM and membership.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by APM .

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