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Tuesday, 27 October 2020 14:11

Project Management Risk Strategies to ensure Balance

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After six plus months of working from home, many remote workers are starting to feel like there’s no delineation between the office and what used to be the solitude of their comfy home.

Dining rooms, dens and otherwise open home spaces have been filled with desks, chairs, filing cabinets, monitors and sundry office accoutrement. The “work” side of the scale has tipped heavily, in some cases catapulting the contents of the “Life” scale off the other side. This imbalance is largely contributed to:

  1. An inordinate time spent working - It’s far too easy to rise early and belly straight up to the proverbial desk. Work, which used to require a commute is now merely steps away. Congratulations, you’ve inadvertently extended the your workday relative to the duration of your commute minus the time it took to walk to your home “office.”
  2. Improper Diet and meal regimen – As the new “office” is conveniently located adjacent to a large refrigeration unit, meals can be prepared quickly and consumed right at your desk! No need to go out to lunch, now, eh?
  3. Multiple family members battling for “office” and air space. In some cases, Mom and Dad are both working from home, in addition and children with “flex” schedules are running laps through your “new office.”
  4. The physical presence of the “office” in your home. The Note pads, sticky notes and white boards reserved for the “away from home office” now adorn two and three rooms of the house and serve as continual reminders of the multitude of projects, tasks and work that remains to be done.
  5. Guilt - While arriving home used to designate a temporary aside from the “work-a-day” schedule, Home is now work and vice versa. Yes, you’ve arrived in a Bizzaro type universe. Items that would have otherwise plagued the back of uour subconscious mind now linger as the forefront.

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But, Alas! Project Management Risk strategies to the rescue! If there’s one thing we learned from our trusty PMBOKs, it was that there are multiple strategies for addressing Risks of any variety. These shall be addressed in turn, here.

  1. An abundance of time is spent working – Strategy Mitigate.
    There are multiple ways to reduce the possibility of this risk occurring and its relative impact. Create a work schedule! Set a target time to begin and end your work-day. Instead of heading straight for the home office desk in the morning, take a walk, lift weights or make yourself a healthy breakfast. This will ensure that your morning
  2. Improper Diet and meal regimen – Strategies, Transfer and Mitigate.
    Many folks are choosing companies that deliver pre-made meals directly to your door. While this will aid in better nutrition, it won’t help you get away more. Reduce the risk of eating at your home office desk by designating a lunch time, blocking it on your calendar and eating either away from home or at a location other than your home office desk.
  3. Multiple family members battling for “office” and air space
    Accept and Mitigate. This is an unfortunate fact of co-location. Physical and air space will be crowded with passers-by and concurrent conference calls, but there are multiple mitigation strategies. Discuss your daily schedule with folks in the house at the outset of the day. This allows all to understand what sort of day your headed into and sets expectations appropriately.
  4. The physical presence of the “office” in your home – Accept and Mitigate
    In order to accomplish our daily tasks, we need office
  5. Guilt – Accept and Mitigate
    However difficult to put into practice, we need to Accept the fact that we’re in a new situation and adopt the min-set that life does truly exist outside work. This is difficult to do, however when numbers one through four (outlined above) are staring us straight in the face. Here are a few Mitigation strategies for reducing Guilt. Make a list of daily work-related activities you’d like to accomplish. Rank them in order of importance and check them off when completed. Do not work items in parallel unless necessary. At the end of your work-day ,you’ll have an accomplishment list to reference. Lingering items can and should be ranked on the following day’s list.

Adoption and consistent use of these Risk management strategies will greatly assist with balancing your work-life scale.

Sean Lowe

Sean Lowe is a project manager and freelance writer with 20 years of experience managing systems integration, process development, security and compliance projects. He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP®) by the Project Management Institute. He can be reached at Lowesean@mac.com.

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