Four managers sit in an open-plan office wearing face coverings with protective screens between desks.
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What are managers most concerned about in a post-Covid world?

9 Jun 2021

A new PwC survey reveals what project managers in Ireland are most concerned about as the economy begins to reopen.

Almost three-quarters of project managers in Ireland feel that adjusting to new ways of working is their top concern in a post-Covid world.

That’s according to the 2021 Project Management Pulse Survey from by PwC, which included 100 project managers in Ireland.

While 72pc of participants said adjusting to new ways of working following the reopening of the economy is their number-one concern, the next big concerns were the health and wellbeing of their workforce (64pc) and the availability of key skills (62pc).

The news comes as the Irish Government has signalled the possibility that some workers can return to their offices by the end of August. This could allow for a more blended or hybrid working model at some companies.

Several companies have already begun laying out their hybrid working arrangements, including banks such as Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland and global tech giants such as Google and Microsoft.

Increased stress

While 42pc of survey respondents said the pandemic had improved their work-life balance, 37pc noticed an increase in stress levels.

Furthermore, 29pc of project managers who took part in the survey reported a decrease in their personal wellbeing and 30pc noticed a decrease in their motivation since working remotely. When asked about their team’s motivation, 34pc of respondents also reported a decrease.

Not only can the stress of managers have a personal negative impact, it can also affect the people those managers lead.

Last year, in the early weeks of pandemic restrictions and the sudden shift to remote working, Siliconrepublic.com editor Elaine Burke wrote about the extra awareness needed by managers and team leads when it comes to stress transference.

“Managers without their daily management rituals, left with too much time to dwell on things and not enough on-site oversight to show them that work is ongoing, can whip themselves up into a frenzy,” she wrote. “And it doesn’t take long for these tornadoes of stress to take off, bringing their team members, Dorothy, Toto and all of Kansas with them.”

More than a year later, as project managers face another adjustment to what will likely become the ‘new’ new normal, the high levels of concern around adjusting to working in a post-Covid world will come as no surprise.

However, the PwC survey also highlighted some optimistic trends in this area.

The vast majority (85pc) of respondents said investment in digital technologies is set to increase and 65pc plan to increase their company headcount.

Project managers also reported key opportunities exploited as a result of the pandemic, including an increase in digital transformation (36pc), greater agility and better decision making (32pc) and greater operational efficiencies (32pc).

PwC Ireland’s Feilim Harvey said the survey highlights the need to protect people and their wellbeing while navigating new ways of working.

“The survey suggests that Irish project managers have withstood the storm of Covid-19 and are emerging with confidence,” he said. “Whilst Covid-19 has caused widespread disruption, it has also provided momentum and an opportunity to reconfigure the business model for the long term.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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