Dealing with external interim and project managers during and after the corona crisis: a short manual
Although most companies are dealing with the corona crisis sensibly and pragmatically, there are still companies that are struggling with the impact even today, including in terms of homeworking and communication. Not only with their permanent employees, but also with their freelance managers. Companies that are now sensible and pragmatic in their dealings with external employees are also reaping the benefits in the long term. A short manual on how to deal with interim and project managers in times of crisis.
First this: every employee who can work from home and is not allowed to do so, is one too many today. Of course it is impossible for many people to give up their work from scratch. Tons of respect for all those people who keep our society going. But all companies that can organise work from home must do so. It’s not easy, it requires flexibility and other routines, but only for a short time. Perhaps we will all reap the benefits afterwards, when we see how many meetings can be held more efficiently and how many trips prove to be unnecessary.
Pulling the same thread
We are fortunate to see that the vast majority of companies are taking a pragmatic approach in these unprecedented times of crisis. Also towards their external employees. Most companies communicate transparently and clearly, making no distinction between permanent employees and temporary, external workers. They are all part of the company, everyone has to pull the same strings.
Companies that already have experience with working from home have their interim and project managers working remotely. Other companies, who have no culture of working from home, are now discovering the convenience of Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and other digital tools that take over the physical meetings.
But a minority of companies continue to cling to old rules and customs. Even today, they only allow this to happen to a limited extent. External employees, who can work perfectly from home if a number of adjustments are made, are still called to the office.
We do not want to condemn those companies. They haven’t always had time to build up a relationship of trust with their interim and project managers; they doubt whether they will get value for money if they let them work from home. Certainly in times of crisis, when all hands are on deck and many companies have to fight to survive, that is an understandable reflex somewhere. But it is not wise to prohibit people from working from home. Not in the short term, with the increasing health risks and the vital sense of citizenship, and not for the relationship in the long term.
Interim and project managers as role models
In these times of economic uncertainty, some companies may well ask whether it would not be better to press the pause button for collaborations with third parties. There is a pragmatic solution for those companies too.
Why don’t they – if the nature of the work and the workload allow it – agree with their interim and project managers to work from home, but part-time? The client does not run the risk that the external manager will no longer be available due to illness; continuity remains assured.
If companies – fingers crossed – return to their normal mode within a few weeks, they will be able to use the knowledge and expertise of the project and interim managers better than ever before. The company is also gaining experience in working from home. Experience that will pay for itself later on in a more efficient way of working. And which can also have an impact on the motivation and commitment of permanent employees.
The interim and project managers in turn get more time for their families, without being completely without income. For them, too, the long-term relationship and continuity is crucial in these uncertain times. Companies can count on interim and project managers to be role models when it comes to time management and professionalism.
It is not the time to maintain dogmas and taboos. If companies make smart, pragmatic agreements with their external staff, they can continue to do so in a positive way after the corona crisis has been overcome. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50