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Managing projects in a remote world

There’s no doubt that this year has been hard for everyone. The world has had to adapt and we have altered the ways that we function as humans on a day to day basis. One big shift for the team here at Wallop has been moving from a model of working predominantly from our office to remote working full time. This change has been reflected country wide with almost twice the amount of people working remotely as of May this year compared to the previous year. 

As project managers, teamwork, communication and relationship building are very important aspects that make up our jobs. So when we were all asked to down tools and move to remote project management earlier in the year; there were many questions raised about whether there would be as much success working in this environment compared to a more classical office based set up.

As with everything, change is often met with hesitation. But this global climate forced everyone to question what they knew and get with the new programme, working remotely.

Over the past few months we have worked hard to overcome some of the initial challenges and get into a good routine of online project management, ironing out the kinks that we encountered along the way. Some of the key things that helped us to continue operating using project management best practices are continued open and clear communication, client support and team motivation. 

 

Getting the teams talking 

Keeping open and clear communication with the team has been invaluable. This includes taking the time to quickly chat something through over the phone rather than messenger, if that is going to help reach a quicker resolution. Or making sure that teams are regularly speaking as a group to ensure that no one feels that they are working in silo.  

That said, when everyone is at home it is also important to be respectful of people’s time. Working remotely has meant that the team has more flexible working hours. Choosing to start and finish earlier or start later and work later. Understanding and taking this into account when planning out projects or booking resources is key. 

 

Supporting our clients

As a project management team we have also been trying to help make our clients feel that we are somewhat of a port in the storm. Finding ways to keep in regular contact with them to alleviate their worries. Even sometimes being a sounding board to help them work through challenges they are facing, project related or otherwise. Through the work we do with other clients in the same space we are able to offer them unique insights into what others in the industry are doing and suggest strategies to implement during this time; as well as directing them to the list of the COVID resources and tools that we have developed/curated. Doing this helps clients to appreciate that they are not alone with the problems that they are facing and shows that Wallop is a true partner. 

 

Boosting motivation and morale 

Another vital aspect has been keeping the team motivated and morale up. We have been giving shout outs to team members that have done a particularly good piece of work, celebrating the large and small achievements of the team. By doing this we can celebrate and take joy from our team mates’ victories, feeling like we are all achieving together. Making everyone feel that they are a valued part of a team encourages greater investment in the company as a whole and results in a more motivated project team, an overall more positive work environment and better work outputs. Something that is especially important in times like these.

As we look forward it seems that remote working is going to become the new norm for a lot of people. Statistics Canada has reported that already more employees than ever before plan to work from home or have more of a hybrid working life once the pandemic is over. We can see this shift as a positive move, allowing employees more flexibility in where they are working based on their personal preferences. Pivoting our project management process slightly to account for this will hopefully in turn result in a happier work force and greater success on projects in the future.