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Project Management in the Era of Remote Workplaces

To successfully manage a project, you must also successfully manage the project team. You must know the players strengths and weaknesses, understand team dynamics, and delegate effectively.

Yad Senapathy, founder and CEO of the Project Management Training Institute (PMTI), has trained project managers for decades in the skills that are required for good team management. He describes good team management as “the effective, gracious, and decisive oversight of the team towards a goal.”

As a project moves toward completion, project managers make sure that the team’s work is effective by setting and adjusting achievable goals, overseeing conflict resolution, giving constructive feedback, and ensuring the success of many other tasks necessary to making the team’s work effective.

While these tasks are not easy to achieve with traditional teams working together in an onsite setting, the new era of remote workplaces has made the job of managing teams even more challenging. Here are a few things project managers can do to adjust to the dynamics of remote work and make sure that their projects continue to succeed.

Increase communication

While there are many pros to remote work, from reductions in commute time to reductions in company expenses, one of the cons is isolation. Team members are no longer passing in the hallways or chatting in the lunchroom or lingering after meetings to exchange thoughts or to work through ideas. Impromptu meetings called to respond to sudden challenges can’t happen like they once did. Therefore, project managers must embrace new ways of facilitating communication among their teams.

The move to remote work caused in large part by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a boom in technology designed to keep teams connected. Remote work apps are constantly being upgraded with new and better tools for staying connected. Many are effective; the key is to find the one that works best for your team.

Once you decide on a tool for keeping teams connected, become the champion of that tool. Use it often and use it well. Share important information, inspiring anecdotes, and silly memes. You want your teams to know that staying connected through whatever technology is selected will be rewarding in terms of project success and social connection.

Increase flexibility

The traditional workplace is built on routine. Workers typically have the same schedule, arriving and leaving the office at the same time. Unexpected interruptions such as technology glitches are shared by everyone. While a small degree of flexibility can be expected, in general, project managers can expect to have complete access to their employees during work hours.

As remote work has grown and its effectiveness has been studied, it has become clear that flexibility is one of the keys to making remote work successful. If project managers want their remote teams to succeed, they need to allow for more flexibility.

Remote work allows team members the freedom to work when they are at their best. As a project manager, allow them that freedom. Facilitate workday rhythms that optimize each team member’s input. Keep meetings to a minimum and the agenda focused. Don’t be afraid to communicate as often as is necessary, but give your teams the flexibility to work their best schedule as long as projects continue to progress on schedule.

Remote workplaces provide companies with an opportunity to explore new ways to attract, utilize, and retain talent. When managed well, you’ll find remote teams can be just as effective as, if not more effective than, traditional onsite teams.

Project Management Training Institute

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