Nearly eight in 10 transport project managers say work on their main project has harmed their mental wellbeing

The overwhelming majority (78 per cent) of people managing projects in transport and logistics say their mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by their main project, with over a fifth (22 per cent) strongly agreeing with this statement.

The findings of a survey* by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, with research company Censuswide, are released ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 (10-16 May).

The main reasons transport project professionals cited for why their project has negatively impacted them are:

  • There is insufficient opportunity for me to voice concerns to my superiors – 38 per cent
  • This project is impacting my home life and personal relationships – 36 per cent
  • There are unrealistic expectations placed on me by project stakeholders – 33 per cent
  • I feel I have too much to do – 31 per cent

APM’s survey findings also highlight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that 84 per cent of project practitioners working in transport have been negatively affected in their ability to do their job. Respondents who agreed that the pandemic had negatively impacted them cited colleagues or stakeholders being unavailable due to being ill or self-isolating (33 per cent), the need to balance work with other responsibilities (33 per cent) and reduced confidence among investors or stakeholders (31 per cent) as the main reasons.

Some positives to mental health and wellbeing have also been uncovered by APM’s study, however. The majority of project practitioners working in transport (67 per cent) say that their employer has introduced new initiatives during the pandemic to support the wellbeing of staff.

These initiatives include schemes such as mental health first aiders, dedicated wellness days, allocating work time for social online gatherings and increased flexible working. Of the respondents, 42 per cent say mental health support training for managers has been the most positive organisational change during the coronavirus pandemic.

Debbie Dore, chief executive of APM, said: “These continue to be challenging times, and many people in the project profession have been impacted for reasons beyond their control. It’s essential that project professionals continue to be properly supported so they can deliver positive change for the people, businesses and communities they serve.

“It’s encouraging to see that employers are taking the mental health of their employees seriously.

“As the chartered body for the project profession, APM has implemented and established new ways of working that are showing benefits to both our staff and the stakeholder groups we interact with. “ We’ve been working closely with our corporate partners to encourage them to do the same and share best practice . Working with the mental health charity Mind, we’ve also published a free-to-access mental health toolkit for project managers and their employers.”

The project manager mental health toolkit can be downloaded by visiting – mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/remote-project-managers

APM has also carried out studies into the wellbeing of project professionals, as well as publishing blogs containing mental health advice and wellbeing tips for project manager. For further details visit – apm.org.uk/resources/mental-health-toolkit

APM’s branches across the UK also host virtual social events to help people working in project management stay connected.

*1000 project professionals across industry sectors were surveyed by Censuswide.