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New APM survey reveals pandemic’s effect on project work

A new survey by APM has revealed the scale of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the project profession.

Carried out for APM by research company Censuswide, the survey found that the majority of project practitioners (70 per cent) feel their ability to do their jobs has been negatively affected by the impact of the pandemic, and that a quarter (26 per cent) of all live projects are currently behind schedule or on hold.

With England in the grip of its third national lockdown and tight restrictions in place in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the survey of over 1,000 project professionals, reveals the impacts that the pandemic is having on the wider project profession. 

The main reasons given by those facing challenges since the start of the pandemic in March include:

  • Balancing work with other responsibilities such as home schooling and caring for relatives – cited by 31 per cent of respondents
  • Difficulties in adapting to remote working – cited by 30 per cent of respondents
  • Important meetings and phone calls being cancelled for COVID-related reasons – cited by 30 per cent of respondents
  • Challenges of communicating with colleagues and stakeholders – cited by 29 per cent of respondents

Despite the findings revealing that the pandemic is having a negative impact in many areas, there have been a few positive effects. 

The majority of those surveyed (67 per cent) reported that their employer has introduced new initiatives during the pandemic to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff. These include schemes such as mental health first aiders, dedicated wellness days and increased flexible working.

Debbie Dore, chief executive of APM, said: “These continue to be challenging times, and many people in the project profession have been impacted, for reasons beyond their control. The importance of projects has never been clearer, and it is essential that project professionals are properly supported so that they can deliver positive change for the people, businesses and communities they serve.

“It’s encouraging to see that new ways of working can have a positive impact when it comes to mental wellbeing and that employers are taking the mental health of their employees seriously.

“APM has implemented and established new ways of working that are showing benefits to both our staff and the stakeholder groups we interact with. We have been working closely with our corporate partners to encourage them to do the same and share best practice. Working together with Mind we have also published a free-to-access mental health toolkit for project managers and their employers.”

The project manager mental health toolkit can be downloaded here.

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