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Smartsheet’s Inaugural Future of Work Management Report Uncovers Resource Recession Across Global and UK Organisations, Need for Support and Technology to Initiate Resource Revolution

Data reveals one in four workers say projects are run by colleagues who do not have a project manager title or role, with over half of these workers being junior staff, and over eight in ten having no formal project management training

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#futureofworkSmartsheet (NYSE:SMAR), the enterprise platform for modern work management, today released its first annual Future of Work Management Report which surveyed thousands of global employees about project and process management at their workplaces. The results show that 96% of respondents manage projects regardless of their role or formal project management training, indicating a global resource recession where traditional roles are no longer what drive work. The survey revealed an opportunity for leaders to move from a resource recession to a resource revolution by focusing on their people and implementing the right technology.

In a slowly reopening world under macroeconomic pressure, Smartsheet’s survey shows that many organisations—regardless of industry or geographic location—are functioning with limited personnel, technology and support, requiring employees to take on additional work without proper training or experience. Over one-fourth (26%) of UK respondents manage projects despite the function not being within the scope of their job title or job description. These “citizen project managers” tend to skew more junior than their titled counterparts, with 55% of citizen project managers being frontline, support or admin staff. Alternatively, over half of titled project managers are mid to upper-level management (60%).

“With deadlines becoming tighter, expectations higher, and resources becoming more constrained, we’re going to continue to see more project-based work. In this environment, many employees are being left to fill in gaps without proper training or experience,” said Ben Canning, SVP of Product, Smartsheet. “The way work is conducted in the UK and how employees interact with their teams has shifted dramatically already over the last few years, and yet more change is needed. For organisations to fully embrace the resource revolution they need to focus less on individual projects and more on implementing scalable and repeatable processes to set their teams up for success over the long run.”

In order to shift from a resource recession to a resource revolution, the report found three key takeaways:

  • Support is sacred, and teams need more of it

    Although the people doing the work recognise—and actively push for—support, the report found that UK company leaders (C-level) are far more likely than others in their organisations to say that they are already investing in the tools and processes needed to solve project complications (55%). These leaders are also far less likely to admit that project teams are understaffed (24% versus 49% of non-C-level employees saying that their teams are understaffed). With so many doing project-based work today, there’s a greater need for foundational project support, with regards to both resources and tools, and senior leaders must recognize that, too.
  • The “middle work” is most critical to a project’s success and to avoiding employee burnout

    The middle work, or the tasks and processes that make up a project, is where the project moves forward, but it can also be where it breaks down. Nearly three-quarters of UK employees in the survey expect their company to ask project teams to accomplish even more with less in the near future (74%), and nearly half of UK project professionals expect deadlines to stay the same moving forward (49%). This shows that things aren’t slowing down, regardless of whether teams have the resources or tools to be successful. In order to overcome these challenges, teams need to focus less on deadlines and more on the middle work that will take the project from start to finish. Report data shows that irrespective of deadlines, there is a clear connection between effectively managed projects and job satisfaction, with over half (61%) of UK employees reporting that when projects run smoothly stress is lower.
  • Repeated work is wasted work

    Projects are only as good as the processes they’re built on. Since the middle work is so critical, the best way to ensure the success of projects is to take learnings and turn those lessons into scalable, repeatable processes. The report showed that when projects have an experienced project manager, UK respondents felt that work quality was higher (60%), more efficient (52%), within budget (45%) and that there was greater collaboration between teams (34%).

To read the full Future of Work Management 2023 report and insights for you and your company, click here.

About Smartsheet

Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR) is the enterprise platform for modern work management. By aligning people and technology so organisations can move faster and drive innovation, Smartsheet enables its millions of users to achieve more. Visit www.smartsheet.com to learn more.

Report Methodology

The Smartsheet Future of Work Management Report survey was conducted in September 2022 by Wakefield Research among 8,000 employed adults aged 18-74, who work at companies with a minimum of 50 employees, evenly distributed among the following markets: United States, UK, Australia, and DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). All respondents self-reported that they engage, in some capacity, in project-based work, as defined as “projects that have a beginning and an end.” These project professionals—who represent about 60% of the adult employed audience who work in companies with 50+ employees—span a wide range of industries from IT and business services, to healthcare and pharma, to banking and finance, and construction and manufacturing and a wide range of titles and levels within their organisations.


Chrissy Vaughn