How to Manage Workloads in Project-based vs non-project-based workplaces
The skills that staff needs to effectively manage workloads can vary depending on the type of organisational structure of their employer. With more companies using a project-based or hybrid approach to work, let’s explore these models and what it means for skilling staff to succeed.
Skills required in a project-based workplace
In a project-based organisation structure, project managers run teams of employees who may come from a variety of departments but have been identified as valuable to the aim of the project. All members are needed to work together to get the job done.
Although there may be many teams within the company, they generally do not interact with each other. Each team focuses on completing its project and performance is measured by project timeframes, rather than on quarterly or annual cycles.
Construction, software development, publishers, event caterers and graphic design are business areas that are naturally project-based. The success of the project is tied to people power and performance. Organisations choosing a project-based approach balance capital intensive and sometimes risky projects with uncertain revenues against the investment they make in choosing the right people.
Human Resource Managers become good at matching competencies to project requirements and provide fast training for staff who need upskilling for the sake of the project. Online learning and development play a valuable roll in giving team members flexible access to training, so they can upskill fasHot.
Projects, by their nature, produce extreme peaks and troughs in workload, which some organisations simply do not have the resources to manage. The ability to introduce key project management skill sets to all line managers and some key staff assists to upskill the team and ensures that projects are delivered on time.
Another significant result of training and skilling staff in project management is the ability to more effectively manage their time and priorities.
Skills required in a non-project-based structure
The non-project-based organisation is broadly any other structure that is not project-based. The most common is the functional model, where a manager overseas department heads. Each department performs a specific function defined by streams of activities. Common department types are finance, marketing, research and development, human resources and operations.
Company leaders generally define annual objectives that are rolled out through the organisation to drive company performance. Staff is given targets and reviews based on their job roles as driven by the annual company objectives. Advancement and bonuses are measured against annual targets.
Skills required in a non-project-based workplace include soft skills such as effective communication and stress management. Practical skills include task management, efficiency, and delegation. Learning and development pathways are often planned in response to an anticipation of skills required to achieve long-term goals, rather than to fill gaps in skills.
Hybrid workplaces – is this the best of both worlds?
More and more often organisations are taking both a project-based and non-project-based approach. Overall a company may use a functional non-project-based model but use project-based methods within individual departments. Staff in hybrid workplaces need to be flexible, adaptive thinkers able to manage individual tasks while keeping a big picture in focus.
A background in project management can be an advantage to staff working in a hybrid workplace. Those with diploma qualifications will naturally be chosen to lead projects and be given more responsibility within the company, resulting in recognition flowing in the form of increased salary and career advancement.
Getting the skills to manage workloads
Research continues to show that many staff often work beyond the 40-hour week. Hours worked do not necessarily translate into increased productivity and there is a danger that these extra hours can result in ‘Presenteeism’ (staying at work beyond the time needed for effective performance on the job). The result is that little meaningful work is achieved, and targets are not reached, even though hours are clocked up.
Overall, today’s employees are expected to get more done in shorter time-frames. They need skill development to help them to manage their time more effectively and, even more importantly, to identify and manage priorities, which ensure that the important work gets done.
CAL offers three levels of Project Management and Human Resources training. These programs are all available online, making it easy for busy people to undertake study, at a time and place that suits them best. More than ever, investing in skilling staff to manage workloads can result in real productivity outputs for your business.