“Long Covid” Effect on Managing Projects and PMOs



By Darrel G. Hubbard, PE, President and CEO

D.G.Hubbard Enterprises, LLC

San Diego, California, USA


The impact of COVID-19 has been enormous for project managers. The pandemic affected many employees’ long-term health, as well as changing how most businesses needed to operate, and it continues to impact how they will operate in the future. Those operational impacts produced a significant and lasting knock-on effect upon managing projects, programs, and portfolios, the governance of project management organizations, and the associated strategic planning, risk planning, change management, and stakeholder management.

The pandemic period of 2019 through 2022 also brought an influx of Generation Z workers. Now five divergent generations need to work together – Traditionalist, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z. Values and social perspectives exist for each generation regarding the business world based upon their lifetime experiences and attitudes toward work. Generational conflicts will now occur more often in the workplace. However, project managers can promote adaptive and productive project working relationships by understanding and managing those differences and by using their emotional intelligence and social intelligence capabilities. Leaders must find creative ways to recruit and retain their needed talent from within this multigenerational workforce.

The mandated social distancing of personnel, dictated by governmental pandemic policies, led to the closure of offices and the bankruptcy of some enterprises. Office closures drove the massive expansion of remote working and telecommuting by white-collar project personnel, with some only working part time in offices. This created a hybrid work-location environment which affected productivity, accountability, teamwork, and the ability to communicate and coordinate project work. These hybrid working conditions will now be a permanent part of enterprise operations and will continue to affect project management’s ability to manage personnel and projects and will require developing working condition adaptations. Remote work is about positive change, it is not about convenience.

In the workplace beyond the pandemic, project management will remain the key to success for many enterprises. For projects to be able to deliver value and for businesses to survive in the post-pandemic marketplace, employing talented project managers will be more crucial than ever. The future of project management also lies in effectively managing remote work and virtual teams.


In late 2019 a virulent and deadly variant of the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), dubbed COVID-19, appeared, and was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in mid-March 2020. The WHO declared the pandemic over as of mid-May 2023. COVID-19 is now considered endemic worldwide and has gone from being a health emergency to a fact of daily life. However, the residual physical effects for many people who contracted the virus persist, which the medical community has called “Long Covid.”

The actions and overreactions by governmental agencies across the globe in response to the pandemic, and the associated industrial and business responses, continue to affect the workplace. In one way or another, everyone, every industry, and every profession felt the devastating blow of businesses being shuttered or downsized, which resulted from the economic instability driven by those governmental actions intended to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus. The impact of those responses has forever changed the way we live, socialize, hire labor, acquire material, communicate, and manage people, and where, when, and how we work.40 In addition, pandemic related border closures and business lockdowns caused major disruptions to material and parts supply chains which created operational nightmares for industries relying on those supplies that will take time and coordinated actions to correct.60 These are some of the “Long-Covid” effects on businesses and the related management of their projects, programs, and portfolios.

In this fourth year since the COVID-19 virus became a pandemic, the business effects have proven to have a lasting impact on the future of project work. In 2023, enterprises face historic challenges: mounting financial pressure to control costs, overstaffing, a hyper-competitive talent acquisition landscape, an exhausted workforce, workplace stress, employee quiet quitting, continuing supply chain disruptions, and employee burnout.34 The World Health Organization recognizes burnout as a response to workplace stress and categorized by feelings of exhaustion, negativity, cynicism, or mental distance from work, as well as a feeling of being ineffective.

The residual effects of the pandemic will continue to shape the future operations of businesses and the project management profession through 2030. Here are nine post-pandemic business situations that affect the management of projects, programs, portfolios, and project management organizations (PMOs):

  • Five Generations in the Workplace.
  • Work-Life Balance and Quiet Quitting.
  • Reducing Quiet Quitting—It’s All About Management.
  • Women in the Workplace—Their Work-Life Balance.
  • Remote and Hybrid Working Arrangements.
  • Remote Working in Project Management.
  • Return to Office Mandates Versus Work from Home Desires.
  • Upskilling and Reskilling of Talent and Changing Employment Requirements.
  • Artificial Intelligence—Technology and Project Management Jobs.
  • Project Management Future Jobs.

The global pandemic altered generational perspectives on working and has permanently altered the workplace culture and working arrangements, with the post pandemic period shifting corporate values.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 15th UT Dallas PM Symposium in May 2023.  It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.

How to cite this paper: Hubbard, D. G. (2023). “Long Covid” Effect on Managing Projects and PMOs; presented at the 15th University of Texas at Dallas Project Management Symposium in Richardson, TX, USA in May 2023; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/pmwj134-Oct2023-Hubbard-Long-Covid-Effect-on-Managing-Projects-and-PMOs-2nd-ed.pdf

About the Author

Darrel G. Hubbard, P.E.

California, USA


 Darrel Hubbard is President of D.G.Hubbard Enterprises, LLC providing executive consulting and assessment services. He has over 50 years of experience in consulting, line management, and technical positions. He has served as a corporate executive officer; managed information technology, proposal, accounting, and project management organizations; managed the due diligence processes for numerous mergers and acquisitions; was a program manager on engineering projects; was a project manager on commercial projects; and a designated “key person” under government contracts. He has also held executive positions in, and was professionally licensed in, the securities and insurance industries.

He assists organizations, as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) consultant, to achieve their enterprise’s strategic business and tactical objectives. He provides analysis of their management structures, business processes, general business operations, and project and business management capabilities, while supplying specific recommendations on business, methodology, toolset, and process improvements. Mr. Hubbard also assists companies, as an out-side third party, with the intricacies of the due diligence process in their merger and acquisition activities. He also supports companies in the managerial development and establishment of Organizational Project Management (OPM) and their Project/Program/Portfolio Organizations (PMOs) and provides workshops and seminars focusing on the business management aspects of the project management discipline.

Mr. Hubbard holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics with a minor in chemistry from Minnesota State University at Moorhead. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Control Systems in California. Mr. Hubbard joined the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 1978 (#3662), is a charter member of the PMI San Diego Chapter, and was deputy project manager for the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide Third Edition ANSI Standard by PMI. He was the Exhibitor Chairperson for the 1993 PMI North American Congress/Seminar/Symposium, is a published author of many articles, a presenter at many PMI Congresses and other Project Management Symposiums, a keynote speaker, and a guest speaker at PMI and IIBA Chapter meetings. Darrel is also a Life-Member of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

He is a contributing author to The AMA Handbook of Project Management, AMACOM, 1993 and The ABCs of DPC: A Primer on Design-Procurement-Construction for the Project Manager, PMI, 1997. He is the co-author with Dennis L. Bolles of The Power of Enterprise-Wide Project Management: Introducing a Business Management Model Integrating and Harmonizing Operations Business Management and Project Management, hardcover – AMACOM, NY, 2007; revised and retitled in paperback, The Power of Enterprise PMOs and Enterprise-Wide Project Management – PBMconcepts, MI, 2014; A Compendium of PMO Case Studies – Volume I: Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts – PBMconcepts, MI, 2012; and A Compendium of PMO Case Studies – Volume II: Reflecting Project Business Management Concepts – PBMconcepts, MI, 2016.

He can be contacted at Darrel,Hubbard and LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/DarrelGHubbard.

To read other works by Darrel Hubbard that have been published in the PM World Journal, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darrel-g-hubbard/