Project Management

5 Tips To Manage the 'New Normal' Work Environment

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

For more than 18 months, we have been working in a world of no handshakes. Working lunches haven’t existed. Huddling in a stuffy breakout room to plot out a plan on an overused whiteboard seems like a luxury of yesteryear. The pandemic has changed the way we work.

Building relationships with the people we work with is critical for business success. Sure, it doesn’t mean you’re looking for new best friends, but achieving project goals is simply more enjoyable when some sort of connection exists between co-workers. The same can be said for vendors. Success probability is enhanced when interactions are not 100% goal focused.

Why is it so important to be together? Communication is complex. If everything could be communicated by words alone, we could simply write notes to each other and the project would be completed.

The reality, however, is that communications also involve perilingual elements. Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and that elusive “feel” all play a critical part in effective communications. While the explosive growth and acceptance of live streaming video platforms like Zoom, Teams and others have helped, it’s just not as effective as being face to face.

So, what can be done? It’s difficult to predict if the worst of COVID-19 is behind us, or if the world will be facing new iterations of the virus …

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- Arturo Toscanini