The meaning of well-being and flexibility for project professionals in the post-Covid world : what is the “new normal”?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Well-being is recognised as a key contributor to work performance such as labour productivity, financial performance, and the quality of outputs and services (e.g. Bryson et al., 2015). As a result, awareness of well-being is fast gaining prominence in society and the workplace, and none more so than for the project profession. As project-based work is frenetic, fast-paced and dynamic, project professionals are likely to work in a stressful environment. Yet, its impact on their well-being and productivity has received limited attention.

Indeed, research on flexibility and its impact on projects is emerging. The effect of flexibility on project work can occur at multiple levels. Specifically, it encompasses not only the flexibility that individuals have in determining where, when and how they work (i.e. autonomy), but also operational and structural flexibility in terms of project work design (e.g. the use of agile project management), and organisational and strategic flexibility (e.g. temporary inter-organisational projects). In addition, flexibility, particularly the requirement for flexibility, at all these levels can be mentally demanding. For example, Ligthart et al’s (2016) study on operational flexibility in inter-organisational projects recognised that one of the outcomes of operational flexibility – the ability of the project to change day-to-day operations – is that it might lead to stress among employees. However, it is unclear how this requirement for flexibility affects project professionals’ well-being.

As both flexibility and well-being research are growing in the context of project management, the interplay of these two research areas may yield some fruitful insights and directions for both researchers and practitioners to carry the profession forward. In line with this thought, this workshop aims to build a research agenda and network that brings scholars and practitioners interested in well-being and flexibility together to identify potential research questions, collaborators, and/or funders to move this area of research in project management forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management 2020 Conference
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Wellbeing
  • Flexibility
  • Productivity


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