Project Management in a Pandemic
I am fairly certain how everyone does business changed in 2020. We’ve all had to shift how we’re working due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Project7 Design, we’ve changed how we work too. For now we’ve moved half of our crew to working remote while a few others are at the office. As our project manager, I learned a lot along the way and hope what I’ve learned can help you and your team too.
Communication is King!
Our team is accustomed to working collaboratively in a creative environment. This means meeting and noodling together in the same space, sometimes on the fly and others at scheduled meeting times. Now that we all work remotely, communication is key to keeping the creative juices (and processes) flowing. Keeping a paper (digital or analog) trail will help keep everyone on task and moving forward.
My biggest piece of advice for those of you out there PMing is to over communicate! It never hurts to send an extra email, schedule an extra meeting or make a phone call. Keeping everyone on the same page is going to help you more in the long run. This includes both internal and client facing communication! Chances are your clients are in the same boat, trying to figure out how to handle the changes of 2020.
Real talk: Also be sure both your staff and clients are on the same page. Managing people remotely can be tricky as you’re not all in the same space anymore. Set clear deadlines and expectations for what is due and when. This will help keep things on track for your clients!
Also, check in with your staff! Zoom-fatigue is real. Make sure everyone on your team feels connected — even when they’re far apart so projects run smoothly. It can be easy to be on your computer from sunup to sundown because it’s now living in your family room or even your bedroom. Make sure to set working hours and stick to them — and remind your staff to get outside and take breaks during the day. And don’t forget to celebrate your wins — both with individual recognition and as a team. A stressed out and unappreciated staff isn’t going to do anyone any favors!
What Does Working Remotely Look Like for You?
The biggest hiccup a lot of companies are facing this year is the idea of getting all of their employees to be able to work effectively from home. From small companies to large corporations, this is no easy task!
Is your IT up to speed? Does everyone have the technology to work from home (i.e. computers, cell phones, Internet, printers)? Is everyone able to securely access internal servers remotely?
Another thing that helps keep everyone up to date and organized is to really prioritize having a clean and organized file structure. When some employees are in the office, and others are remote, keeping current files up to date on your shared server is a must!
Making sure that everyone is set up to succeed will set you up to keep your business running smoothly for an indefinite amount of time.
We know it’s hard to be creative when you’re stuck inside all day. Not everyone works in a creative environment — and not everyone who works somewhere creative has a creative job! Regardless, take some time to get outside. Mask up and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Get some fresh air and take in the world around you.
Also, consider paring down your social media feeds! It’s easy to become overwhelmed by everyone on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Unfollow those who don’t feed your creativity. Engage with those accounts that matter most to you — and inspire you.
- Communicate—both internally and externally! Pick up the phone if you need to! A quick phone call can get things done so much more quickly.
- Get your IT set up. Make it as easy as possible for your staff to do their jobs remotely.
- Clear the creativity clutter. Surround yourself with inspiring people!
Director of Project Management
Meghan Moorlach is Project7 Design’s Director of Project Management. As p7’s Director of Project Management (and much-needed office Virgo), she is the team’s Jill-of-all-Trades. Meghan works with clients and the p7 team to manage the details of projects and keep everyone on task.