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Project management professionals reveal concerns and opportunities for working post lockdown

By Karolina Skinner
15 July 2021

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 survey by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession.

APM’s survey – carried out by research company Censuswide* reveals that the biggest concern for project professionals is the lack or shortage of essential materials and supplies post lockdown, cited by 59% of individuals managing projects. Projects being delayed or cancelled (52% of respondents), cost increases for customers/clients (48%) and projects being forced to use lower quality materials (43%), are all given as the main implications across sectors.

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

Of those professionals who have been working remotely, learning to manage time effectively (24%), being more proactive (19%), coordinating disparate stakeholders (18%) and learning to increase productivity (15%) were cited as the most important lessons learned about delivering projects remotely.

Other concerns raised by project managers is the level of anxiety felt about returning to the office, with the majority (63%) 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%
  • Worried it will negatively affect work/life balance – 36%
  • Worried about slipping back into bad working habits associated with the workplace – 32%

Mark Hepworth (pictured), acting CEO at APM says: "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.

*over 1000 project managers were surveyed by Censuswide for the study

About Association for Project Management (APM) 

The Association for Project Management is a professional membership organisation that sets the standards for the project profession and the only chartered organisation representing the project profession in the world. As a registered charity, APM provides education, qualifications, networking opportunities, research, resources, events and best practice guidance for the project community, helping the profession deliver better. 

APM currently has over 30,000 members and more than 500 corporate partners based in over 128 countries across the world.