By Luke Smith
Is there an aspect of work that COVID-19 has not changed? For project managers, likely not. New processes for remote work, changes in company structure and composition, and trends in management strategies overall will define the modern workplace.
But project managers can successfully navigate these shifts. With the tools and strategies available to you, you can plan to meet policy changes head-on for greater results.
Project managers can better guide teams through post-COVID changes by understanding the implications of remote work, project management during change, and the trends in management strategies to come.
Implications of Remote Work
Remote work is a new normal. Where before the pandemic widespread remote work options were not required, nearly every company that can now considers such an approach. Remote work is one method of continuing functionality even amidst health shutdowns and social distancing mandates.
With as many as 4.3 million Americans now working from home at least half the time, a new emphasis must be placed on managing teams remotely. Project managers will likely face this situation at some point in their careers.
Project managers should consider a checklist of expectations when managing a team remotely. This includes:
- Defining and maintaining clear communication standards
- Continuous communication through established mediums
- Schedule flexibility
- Outcome-focused approaches
Offering your team flexibility on conditions of open communication can be a guarantor of success when working remotely. This helps you catch problems as they occur while keeping up team morale and focus. Perhaps the best tip to consider in remote management is to stay empathetic and patient despite potential obstacles in communication.
Managing Projects During Change
Because of the unpredictability of the post-pandemic economy, many companies will have to make changes to business structures and staffing. Project managers will have to be ready to guide teams even through big changes such as organizational downsizing.As 2020 has shown us, downsizing could be necessary with little notice. Remote work can be a great method of minimizing operational costs to avoid layoffs. Effective project management means helping your team transition through these shifts while addressing concerns and questions.
With the economy in an uncertain position, workers face more distractions and anxieties than were previously typical. Focus on being an empathetic listener and take this opportunity to improve your team communications through a variety of platforms.
Trends in Project Management Tech and Strategies
Guiding your team to success in the post-COVID world will require utilizing innovative tech and strategies in order to sustain motivation and productivity. With workforces spread out and struggling to find a new work-life balance, the future development of project management means adapting to new platforms for communication and analysis.
Project managers should be aware of how new technological innovations can serve their teams. Current trends in technologies that make project management easier include:
- Cloud data platforms
- Artificial intelligence
- Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity
- Big data analytics
With the ability to store and analyze all kinds of data sets while sharing valuable metrics across devices, managers have the opportunity to keep track of project status and check in on the entire team.
Project management for the post-COVID world will be all about connection, performance, and motivation. This means a dedication to employee check-ins through platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Effective communication requires that the team still feels like a team and can interact accordingly.
Then, work with teammates to set clear goals and performance metrics to meet, motivating them towards an objective-focused goal. Tech will help in all of these regards, but perhaps not as much as an empathetic and open approach.
As you adjust your project management strategies to accommodate the post-COVID world, keep these shifts in mind to bring about the kind of communicative work practices needed for team success.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but business and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.