Eight in 10 technology project managers say work on their main project has harmed their mental wellbeing

The overwhelming majority (79 per cent) of people managing projects in technology say their mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by their main project, with a third (33 per cent) strongly agreeing with this statement.

The findings of a survey by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, with research company Censuswide, are released ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 (10-16 May).

The main reasons technology project professionals cited for why their project has negatively impacted them are:

•My manager's/superior's attitude and/or approach to work is negatively impacting my ability to work well - 39 per cent

•My work-life balance is suffering due to this project – 37 per cent

•I do not fully understand what is expected of me due to a lack of communication with my manager(s) - 32 per cent

•This project is impacting my home life and personal relationships – 29 per cent

APM’s survey findings also highlight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that 87 per cent of project practitioners working in technology have been negatively affected in their ability to do their job. Respondents who agreed that the pandemic had negatively impacted them cited colleagues or stakeholders being unavailable due to being ill or self-isolating (33 per cent), the need to balance work with other responsibilities (33 per cent) and difficulty adapting to remote working (29 per cent), as the main reasons.

Some positives to mental health and wellbeing have also been uncovered by APM’s study, however. The majority of project practitioners working in tech (79 per cent) say that their employer has introduced new initiatives during the pandemic to support the wellbeing of staff.

These initiatives include schemes such as mental health first aiders, dedicated wellness days, allocating work time for social online gatherings and increased flexible working. Over a fifth (22 per cent) of technology project professionals say mental health support training for managers has been the most positive organisational change during the coronavirus pandemic.

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. It’s essential that project professionals continue to be properly supported so they can deliver positive change for the people, businesses and communities they serve.

“It’s encouraging to see that employers are taking the mental health of their employees seriously.

“As the chartered body for the project profession, 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’ve been working closely with our corporate partners to encourage them to do the same and share best practice . Working with the mental health charity Mind, we’ve also published a free-to-access mental health toolkit for project managers and their employers.”

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