Australian businesses are expecting their teams to do more with less

Nigel Mendonca, Vice President for APAC at Smartsheet

Smartsheet, the global enterprise platform for modern work management, released its inaugural annual Future of Work Management Report which surveyed thousands of Australian employees about project and process management at their workplaces. According to its findings, the majority of project management teams in Australia are feeling rising pressure to do more but within tight deadlines and without the support of dedicated resources. 

What were the findings of Smartsheet’s report?

The survey found that a staggering 85% of respondents are overwhelmed by the pace of their projects and deadlines. Yet, despite already being under pressure, almost three-quarters (73%) anticipate that their firm will soon ask them to do even more with fewer resources. 

The Smartsheet’s research findings reflect a growing disconnect between business leaders and their frontline and mid-management employees, where the latter feel unsupported. From the individuals surveyed, only 43% of the respondents feel that their company is investing as it should in tools and processes to address common project management challenges.

Burdening teams with rising expectations risks employee burnout and increased frustration. In fact, 50% of respondents said frustration was a direct impact of project management challenges, with 34% also saying they felt burnt out. This is alarming as businesses face a talent shortage and employee attraction and retention is more important than ever. 

Smartsheet’s latest independent research also found that:

  • 83% of Australian respondents claim that projects at their company are sometimes, often or always managed by “citizen project managers,” individuals who do not have a formal project management title or role.
  • 45% of Australian respondents believe their organisation doesn’t staff projects appropriately, with 31% saying project teams are understaffed.
  • 60% of Australian respondents claim they were at least somewhat unprepared for the first project they managed, with 21% mostly or completely unprepared.

What were Smartsheet’s thoughts on the findings?

“We are in a resource recession and companies are asking their employees to do more with less every day. With deadlines becoming tighter, expectations higher, and resources more constrained, we’re going to continue to see more project-based work. Luckily, we have the tools to shift this resource recession into a revolution by providing employees with adequate support and access to tech,” said Nigel Mendonca, Vice President, APAC, Smartsheet.

“Expecting individuals to take on more without setting them up for success is likely to lead to frustration and burnout, which can severely impact productivity,” Nigel Mendonca added.

“An organisation is only as good as its people. And as the business environment becomes more competitive, formal and citizen project managers need to be supported rather than challenged. Firms need to invest in training and tools so that teams are set up to achieve. If we don’t move past the idea of stringent deadlines, rather than creating a process that works, we will always be limiting ourselves from reaching our full potential,” said Mendonca.

Click here to read the full Future of Work Management 2023 report and insights.