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High risk and uncertainty in the economic sector is becoming inevitable as a consequence of disruptions caused by COVID-19. It was not at all anticipated by any of us that the entire world will be forced to shut down. Surely, it helped in healing and relaxing the mother Earth for quite a few weeks. As lockdown was enforced by our respective governments in an attempt to prepare themselves with adequate Personal Protective Equipments PPEs, develop medical treatments, spread awareness and to devise standard operating procedures post lifting of the lockdown. But we all paid a very heavy opportunity cost to protect ourselves against the attack of this unseen virus by undergoing weeks of subsequent lockdowns. In India, there have been gradual relaxations amidst the lockdown but there are nations that are still enforcing a complete lockdown. Industrial segments had to suffer huge losses. Entire organizational setup and their expansion plans had received a very strong blow. Both private and government sector are incurring losses. CEOs, VPs, Project Managers, Managers, executives, front line workers like- labours, etc. are facing unimaginable and tough circumstances.

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It is a challenging situation for Project Managers who act as a crucial link between higher management and lower management comprising executives, supervisors, leads, etc. Government of India (GOI) is easing the restrictions imposed in the wake of lockdown in an attempt to gradually repair the supply chain that has been severely injured. The supply and demand cyclic chain which is regulated by unseen market force i.e. PRICE and government policies such as taxes and subsidies has experienced a major upheaval.

Let me explain the same by 2 interesting and quite obvious examples-

  1. Most of the offices that are re-opening are allowed to operate on less than 50% strength. And as communicated by a few major players like- Google, TCS, LinkedIn in coming months they are preparing themselves such that more than 60% of their employees will be working from home. Thus, demand for rental cab services- OLA, UBER will subside, as a result of which fuel consumption will decrease, office space and furniture requirement will decrease and so will be the demand for papers and printers. However, if one side is witnessing a low the other side will have an increased opportunity as well. Architectural firms will have increased business for designing minimum contact office spaces, IT sector will have to capitalize upon existing artificial intelligence features to automate processes, deep cleaning and disinfection services to receive a major boost and much more.
  2. Now taking a portion from the above example. Ola and Uber-like many other firms are experiencing the toughest times of their lives. Just a day back on 20th May, Ola announced the layoff of 1400 staffs as their revenue has come down by 95% in the last 2 months. Likewise, Uber laid off 3000 employees in addition to 3700 employees that were laid off in the previous cost-cutting exercise within a short span of 2 weeks. Doesn’t it sound alarming? Of course, it does when the 2 dominating rivals who revolutionized the car travel industry on road. Just imagine these number totals to 8100 employees. Threatening it is but the intent here is not to be pessimistic but a bit rational. Because history is a witness to the very fact the nature of employment and income generation changes.

Now we have some idea about how the demand and supply are infinitely linked and interwoven at the micro-market level. This analysis and an understanding of its background will eventually help any person to be rational not only towards his colleagues- junior and senior but also towards every person whom he/ she interacts with, in his/ her daily life- family, friends, sabziwala, delivery boy, maid and many more. In short, each one of us is a PROJECT MANAGER, managing each and every facet of our life without realizing the very fact being designated as a Project Manager is not only the way to be recognized as one of those. It becomes imperative for us not to lose the courage, not to be disheartened in case of any adversaries but should act with due diligence and a balanced attitude high on emotional intelligence and logics. Following are the challenges that await us-

  • With the resumption of work, there will be issues with regards to the availability of raw materials, human resources-labours, technicians, supervisors, etc. There will be a shortage of few while there will be an alternative for few.
  • Client-contractor relationship and their contractual terms will demand revision in the scope of work, time, specifications and budget.
  • Facing heavy revenue loss, depleted surplus and cash liquidity it will be a challenging as well as a daunting task to decide where to deploy the available resources and where to compromise.
  • Many companies such as those in Tours & Travels, hospitality and interior design execution have completely lost their business. Many of their employees are spending time under uncertainty with regards to their employment status in coming times. Project/ Reporting Managers will have to judiciously and rationally utilize their calibre and try to safeguard their jobs.
  • It is a known fact money drives market and market drives employability opportunities. With very little or no capital left, it is imperative for the employees to support their respective firms in which they are employed. It is understandable that we need money to support our families, day to day expenses but these are unprecedented times. We must honour the pay cuts on clear terms with our management to help revive the organization.
  • As quoted in the example above the nature of employment changes with time. This time the changes that await us are far from imagination. Therefore, we must try not to be rigid but upskill ourselves with the skill sets that might be needed in the coming times.
  • Sanitization, implementation of adequate health & safety standards will add to the cost of a company’s operating expenses. It will be challenging for them to decide upon where to cut expenses in case they are falling short of the working capital.
  • Creditworthiness of various firms will be in jeopardy. Works which earlier used to be done on a credit basis and the amount was paid subsequently within a few days from the date of completion will require a continuous supply of cash to ensure the project’s progress.
  • For those who will be on WORK FROM HOME, maintaining work-life balance will become a challenge. Earlier work from home used to be a luxury and employees who were able to secure it would be boosting about it. Now both the positive and negative emotions of a workplace will have its consequences within the 4 walls of the house. It will require a cohesive team effort to manage the same.
  • Price of few commodities are supposed to inflate; lesser discounts will be available hence improvisation and material selection of a project manager will decide the success and profitability of the project.
  • The other most critical is to balance and maintain the mental health of the employees. As a project manager, you will be supposed to utilize your intelligence quotient and also the emotional quotient. You will have to maintain a perfect communication balance between the senior and junior management.

These are the testing times and we need to be both strong and alert. Let us try to be as cooperative as possible and help each other come out of this crisis.

About the author


Hi I am Nilay. I have launched this platform to enrich the society with GYAAN (Knowledge) with respect to most relevant events and concepts influencing our day to day life.

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