New Report: Physical Work Location Does Not Affect Project Performance

Project Management Institute (PMI) published its 15th annual “pulse of the profession” report, which specifically explores whether one’s work location serves to drive project performance.

This survey – dubbed “The Future of Project Work: Moving Past Office-Centric Models” – examined results from 2,246 project professionals and 342 senior leaders, worldwide, providing evidence that organizations can provide work location flexibility, agility and empowerment without affecting project execution or performance.

In particular, report data suggests that organizations bringing employees back into the office will not likely see “significant” improvement in project performance, especially considering the negative impact this could have on employee morale and retention, as well as operational costs.

Approximately 44 percent of Indian organizations reported that they adopted a hybrid work environment while 10 percent noted that their organization was working remotely.

Rather, PMI  reported that organizations should focus on empowering flexibility that optimizes team collaboration, innovation, agility and efficiency, doing so without worrying about negative impact on project performance.

“This report underscores the importance of organizations not only reevaluating their work location policies and optimizing how they operate, but also prioritizing the development of essential skills within project teams to enhance their adaptability,” said Pierre Le Manh, the president and CEO of PMI. “Empowering project professionals and teams with the autonomy to determine and implement the most appropriate ways of working —irrespective of their physical location—positions them for greater success in navigating uncertainties, evolving business landscapes, emerging challenges, and project demands.”

The research found that enablers – supportive programming that helps individuals and teams learn new skills and competencies – plays a larger role in driving project performance than work location. The three most common enablers organizations provide include: coaching/mentoring, training on new ways of working and communities of practice to share knowledge and expertise.

The survey also discovered that 54 percent of organizations support changing ways of working using coaching and mentoring, while 58 percent support changes to ways of working through training. These amounts stand above global percentages, respectively, of 48 percent and 47 percent. Additionally, 45 percent of organizations support changing ways of working by creating communities of practice.

Another theme the research identified is the rise in hybrid management frameworks across all sectors and project types. Since 2020, there has been a 58 percent increase of survey respondents reportedly using hybrid approaches. Overall, these growth trends toward using hybrid project management approaches are expected to continue, with 76 percent and 73 percent of our respondents expecting an increase in their organization’s use of agile and hybrid approaches, respectively, over the next five years. In India, 87 percent of organizations anticipate an increase in hybrid project management approaches over the next five years, even higher than the global percentage.

To learn more about the future of project work, read the full report here.