Across all businesses, workplace culture is changing, and more offices are going hybrid – your project management office (PMO) probably is, too. In this new paradigm, you still need to maintain PMO best practices and engage with your office and project teams effectively.

Even if your office and wider business has decided to return to on-site working full time, it’s important to understand how to engage your team. Most people want and expect more than to turn up, work for eight hours, and go home – you need to offer a positive work environment.

There are ways to engage with your workers, no matter if they’re at home or in the office. We’re going to look at:

  • How to engage your project and PMO workers
  • Examples of what each strategy could look like
  • Why it’s important to keep everyone engaged in their work

7 ways to engage your project workers

1.       Set expectations

Whether you’re back in the office full-time post-pandemic or your office has gone hybrid, there will be a new culture to work around. People are used to more autonomy, so you need to make sure they still know what’s expected.

You need to make sure everyone knows if expectations are around work delivered or hours clocked, for example. It’s also important that everyone knows basics like dress code, whether cameras should be on during video calls, and how and when to take sick days and holidays.

These things may seem obvious, but with a new way of working, they should be laid out. When everyone knows what is expected in their workday, they can be sure they’re doing the right thing.

2.       Be flexible

You possibly didn’t have the time to set out rules about attendance and core hours when the pandemic hit and everyone went to work from home. Now you have the time to codify the rules; it’s not the time to make everything too strict.

Offering flexibility around start and end times, for example, will make your team appreciate the ability to schedule their day. Allowing for compressed hours or late working will ensure your workers are at their best on their own terms. It’s ok to have core hours, but flexibility will make people happy.

3.       Create a meeting experience

In normal times, you would work to make meetings interactive with PowerPoints, whiteboards for brainstorming, and other tools for engagement. You need to work to emulate this rather than having your project workers watching a grid of faces all meeting.

Especially when there may be some people physically present and others attending remotely, consider how you can bring everyone into the meeting. Plan ways to bring everyone into the meeting and not exclude those beaming in from their kitchen.

4.       Get communications right

Collaboration is still vital to get a project delivered, no matter where everyone is based. There are activities that will require real-time, synchronous communication and others that can be asynchronous.

Make sure that every project and project task defines how people will work together. Your staff will get bored quickly if they’re expected to be in a meeting about every piece of code they write, for example, and will appreciate the freedom to just deliver without needing to answer Slack every 10 minutes.

5.       Allow for water-cooler moments

It can be easy to be too work-focussed when your team is working remotely. One of the positives of an office environment is being able to chat to your workmates about life or what they watched on Netflix that weekend.

Make sure your project teams have time to build camaraderie. This can be through a weekly block of time allocated just for chatting and catching up or having a chat room that’s for just that – chatting and not work talk.

6.       Rewards and recognition

No matter your team set-up, you should be working on rewards and recognition. Make sure project managers are identifying the people who are making a strong effort to deliver their work and offer rewards such as early finishes, vouchers for goods and services, or other perks chosen by the person.

Offering recognition makes people want to work to their best because they know there is more than their monthly salary at the end of their hard work.

7.       Regular manager contact

Having one-to-ones and performance reviews are just as important, or even more so, when working remotely or in a hybrid set-up. Managers need to check in on their team in terms of the work they’re doing as well as their overall health and wellbeing.

A weekly or monthly catch-up will make the team feel valued and make them engage in their work so they will have a positive conversation with their manager.

Why you need to engage your project and PMO teams

You need to engage your project and PMO teams as a PMO best practice so that you can retain your workers and ensure they are happy in their jobs. After all, happy employees will be more productive and take more care of their work.