Web-enabled Project Management: Greater Reliance on Digital and Remote Teams

Project management, like other industries, is no longer strictly bound to the confines of a typical office. Due to a
number of factors—including greater connectivity, changing corporate values, and the rise of the gig economy—
digital and remote teams are more common today than ever before.
While the prevalence of remote work was already on the climb, the onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic forced an unprecedented shift. In an effort to protect workers and slow the spread of the virus,
organizations across the globe have adopted new work-from-home policies that favor digital communication
over face-to-face interaction.
The negative global situation related to COVID-19 is not the only reason for this emerging trend in the proejct
management field. In the last few years, more and more organizations have focused their energy on
geographically distributed teams in different areas of the world, as many organizations have branches in multiple
countries. It is estimated that up to half of U.S. workers are now telecommuting and that this trend will likely
continue even after the pandemic subsides, which will present unique challenges for project managers.
For instance, some business functions are more easily carried out when all members of a project team are colocated. Spontaneous collaboration, team-building, project alignment, and other project management tasks are
simply more manageable when all members of the team are in proximity to each other.
However, this challenge does not mean that digital or remote teams are inherently counterproductive. Remote
work offers many benefits including increased flexibility, which can help an organization attract and retain top
talent from all over the world.
Since the surge in remote work is likely to continue even after the global health crisis subsides, project managers
must find ways to reduce friction or inefficiencies that might arise. Clear and open communication has always
been a key strategy for effective project management, but it will become even more relevant as this trend
continues to evolve.

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