No matter what field you are in, there is a huge possibility that you’ll encounter and work with project managers. Companies have started to see the worth of a skilled professional dedicated to ensuring projects run smoothly from start to end.
Remote project managers have similar core responsibilities on the project team, although there may be some challenges to working remotely than working in a traditional setting.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have shifted to remote project manager jobs and work in general. This trend will likely continue even after the pandemic as more people realize the advantages and find ways to overcome the disadvantages of working remotely.
What Do Project Managers Do?
Project managers are at the forefront of a successful project. They oversee and manage projects from the project planning phase and lead implementation protocols.
An experienced project manager does not just formulate a project workplan and execute implementation, though: they can also adjust project constraints based on the available time and finances and support business strategy ideas given by the management steering committee in their company.
They also negotiate contracts, provide strategic advice to junior project managers, ensure legal and regulatory requirements are met, and track project deliverables.
To live up to this job title, a project specialist not only has to help in developing project plans and coordinating project team activities but also use various project management methodologies to ensure the team works as efficiently and as seamlessly as possible.
Finally, they should know about possible legal and regulatory requirements for certain aspects of the project, be able to identify and resolve implementation issues that arise, and use their project development knowledge for ensuring project adherence despite all potential setbacks.
Core Duties and Responsibilities of a Project Manager Job
Carefully planning a project ensures that it runs smoothly and in line with the goals and budget of the company. Project managers go through each task, the financial and human resources needed to complete them, and the deadline for each. They also define the scope of the project to avoid potential scope creep.
After careful planning and organization, proper implementation comes next. When implementing a project, a project manager ensures that the structure his team follows aligns with the company’s existing structures and procedures.
A good project manager will be able to evaluate implementation options and pick the best one for their company. They’ll also be able to identify implementation issues and potential problems with both internal and external parties.
This is where remote project manager jobs and working without a dedicated project management team get challenging. Project managers are tasked with monitoring resources so that they are used as efficiently as possible. Since remote workers don’t see their team face to face, communication is vital.
Project managers also ensure that the project is well within the pre-planned timeline, and if it’s falling behind, it’s their job to evaluate the situation and solve complex development scenarios to get the project back on track.
Risks are an inevitable occurrence in project or program manager jobs, which is why a project manager must master managing them. Risk management entails scoping projects to identify potential risks, such as the probability of team members resigning or sponsors backing out of the project.
It is also the project manager’s job to devise a contingency plan and estimate the cost of other possible solutions if the original plan and project management methodologies need to be changed.
Effective communication is vital in creating an engaging project team environment that will ensure successful projects. This is especially true for virtual project manager jobs since they have to manage project development without seeing their clients and team members face-to-face.
Many surveys show that project managers allot 90% of their time to communication - to have a meaningful and inspiring career as a project manager, you must embrace it as a human resources job first and foremost.
Communication channels have to be effective and reliable since project managers not only speak with their team members but with external service providers, stakeholders, clients, sponsors, and other decision-makers.
Whether you become a part of a dynamic financial accounting team as a pension project manager or the company’s go-to person to present implementation options and deliver executive level presentations to the corporate services division, communication skills will be your bread and butter as a project manager.
Common Types of Remote Project Manager Jobs
1. Information Technology Remote Project Manager
Information technology is one of the most common fields where project managers can work remotely. Since projects in the IT industry are commonly elaborate and dynamic, the right combination of critical and quick thinking and a deep understanding of the subject matter is vital in ensuring effective project delivery.
Duties and Responsibilities
App and software development projects
Data management projects
Cloud computing projects
Skills and Experience
Preferably a university degree (bachelor’s or, even better, a master's degree) in IT
Related fields include information technology, computer science, and IT project management
Several years of work and previous projects done in the IT sector
2. Remote Project Coordinator Jobs
Remote project coordinators handle specific administrative tasks for projects. For example, they maintain project documentation to ensure everything runs smoothly. They assist senior management in achieving the goals of the project and help them manage large complex technical projects easier.
This position is great for learning about project methodologies and brushing up on written communication skills.
Duties and Responsibilities
Purchasing materials and supplies
New staff training
Regular filing of paperwork
Skills and Experience
Bachelor’s degree in the related field
At least one to four years of experience in the field
Advanced organization and problem-solving skills
Excellent communication skills
Knowledge of common project management software and programs
3. Healthcare Home-Based Project Manager
The healthcare industry has one of the highest-paying jobs in project management. A healthcare project manager oversees projects in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities. Since it’s a remote position, you will have to communicate regularly with hospital administrators and staff via email, telephone, and teleconferencing platforms.
Duties and Responsibilities
Improvement in quality and efficiency of healthcare services
Ensuring the facility’s compliance with laws and regulations
Creating work schedules
Communicating with department heads and medical staff
Skills and Experience
Bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration, healthcare administration, or any related field
Several years of experience in remote PM jobs or healthcare administration
Familiarization with healthcare laws and regulations
Excellent problem-solving and communication skills
Working from home certainly has its advantages, such as a flexible remote work schedule, zero commuting, and no office distractions to get in the way of work.
Challenges include a lack of productivity and motivation, communication issues, and difficulty separating work and personal life. At the end of the day, it's entirely up to you which work environment you'll be most productive in.
Challenges of Work From Home Project Manager Jobs and How To Overcome Them
1. Time Zone Differences
A key feature in a lot of remote work is having coworkers from different countries, hence having to deal with different time zones. It is a great way to diversify a company's workforce, but it makes a lot of the work, especially setting up meetings, challenging.
How to fix time differences: If possible, set up meetings during work hours to avoid inconvenience. However, if that's not entirely possible, especially if you have members from opposing time zones, it helps to rotate meeting times so as not to inconvenience the same group of people in your team every time you have a meeting.
2. Communication Challenges
Unlike traditional office jobs, remote jobs can be challenging communication-wise since you can’t rely on standard project management processes. For example, you can’t just go to someone’s desk or office to speak with them right away when a problem arises.
Seamless communication with team members, clients, and stockholders plays a massive role in delivering positive outcomes in projects, which is why it’s important to prepare communication materials in advance and know what you want to achieve with each team meeting.
How to fix communication challenges: Using one general platform, such as Slack, will help streamline communication in your team and company. G Suite applications, such as Drive, Docs, and Sheets, can also be used for seamless collaboration and sharing of files. Other tools used in virtual project manager jobs include Trello, ClickMeeting, Zoom, and PukkaTeam.
3. Employee Monitoring
Successfully tracking your team members’ performance and success rate is necessary for keeping track of the project status, staying on top of deadlines, and ensuring timely delivery of tasks. This can be challenging for remote project managers but not impossible when you have the right tools.
How to fix employee monitoring challenges: Check in daily with team members to ensure that they are finishing tasks in a timely manner. Doing so will also help you identify areas for improvement so you can help them work through them. Utilize tools such as Asana, Basecamp, and Scoro, among others.
Project managers typically work the same hours and schedules as any other office job. Let’s take IT project managers as an example.
They usually work 40 hours a week, but when project plans require it, even remote IT project manager jobs will go well beyond 40 hours. Sometimes, they even work weekends if they have to in order to keep the project workplan on track.
Remote jobs in this field may have to put in extra hours for meetings to account for the different time zones their team may be located in.
A lot of employers and companies are moving into flexible work schedules for project management jobs, which can be highly beneficial if done right. It allows them to be more open to changes and manage their workflow more independently.
On the other hand, if you want to provide independent project management services on a contractual basis, then looking into freelance project manager jobs might be a great option for you.
How to Become a Remote Project Manager
A project manager wears many hats, so flexibility is essential. They are responsible and accountable for many things in a project, so it’s definitely not something to be taken lightly. Before deciding if project management is the right career path for you, you need to know what it takes to become a successful work-from-home project manager.
A common and popular degree for project management is a Bachelor’s or a Master’s in Project Management. Like any other degree, it takes four years or eight semesters to complete.
Other degrees also offer majors in project management, such as Business Management and Business Administration. A Master’s degree is not always necessary, but some employers definitely prefer it.
There will also be positions that may require you to have a Bachelor’s degree in the specific field you’ll be working in. For example, work-from-home IT project manager jobs may require a degree in information technology, computer science, computer programming, or software development.
Regardless of the managerial position or your educational background, you should be comfortable with essential Microsoft computer software: Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Project Management Certifications
There are two generally in-demand certifications for project manager positions. Both certifications are accredited by the Project Management Institute or PMI.
Although certification is not mandatory, it is a great way to showcase your experience and passion for the field. Additionally, certified project managers are more likely to get hired and even earn more than those without certification.
1. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
This entry-level certification is great for those with minimal experience in project management. You would only need a high school diploma and 1,500 hours of experience in project manager jobs, remote or not, to qualify for CAPM.
Getting a CAPM will help you familiarize yourself with various project management processes and terms, learn how project plans are developed, and ultimately, get a PMP Certification in the long run.
2. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
This is one of the most highly valued and sought-after project management certifications. To qualify, you would need a 4-year degree in any field, attend 35 hours of project management courses, and have 4,500 hours of project management experience.
Another way is to have either a high school diploma or associate’s degree in any field, have completed at least 7,500 hours of experience in traditional or remote project management jobs, and have attended 35 hours of project management courses.
Important Skills of a Remote Project Manager
1. Problem Solver
It’s not uncommon for problems or issues to arise in projects, which is why an efficient project manager must think critically and come up with viable solutions to problems. Contingency planning is essential to keeping projects afloat and the management steering committee happy.
2. Excellent Communicator
A huge chunk of a project manager’s job is communicating with people — team members, clients, and stockholders. It is especially important for those who work in remote manager jobs since all communication is done virtually. Project manager jobs require the ability to efficiently communicate instructions and goals of the project in the simplest and most direct way.
An efficient project manager has great organizational skills. They have to know how to properly delegate tasks, prioritize tasks according to difficulty, and finish them smoothly in a timely manner. There are many things to stay on top of in a remote project manager job, so proper documentation and organization will help. A simple to-do list can be your best friend.
Technology plays a huge role in project management, so it only makes sense that project managers have to be tech-savvy to be efficient and successful in their roles.
They also need working knowledge of various project management and employee monitor tools, such as ProofHub, Scoro, Workzone, and more. These tools help make task delegation easier and collaboration within the team a lot faster.
Remote Project Manager Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2019, the annual median wage for management occupations is $105,660. On the other hand, the annual average base salary for remote project managers stood at $66,137, with an additional compensation of $5,757 per year. As of July 2020, the average annual income for remote project managers in the United States is $91,899.
However, keep in mind that the following factors affect the salary rate of work from home project manager positions:
The field that you’re working in
Number of years of experience
Location of your client or employer
The budget of the project
More employers and clients are seeing the value of remote work, so it’s not expected to decline in job openings anytime soon. In addition, the “new normal” has opened up opportunities in specific fields in project management.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) predicts that there will be a steady increase in demand for project management. There is a positive outlook for professionals in this field, especially the skilled ones.
The PMI estimates that by 2027, there will be an additional 87.7 million job openings in traditional or remote program manager jobs and other closely relevant positions. This is largely attributed to the increased demand in combination with a large chunk of the existing talent pool going into retirement.
The following industries are expected to have high levels of job growth in project management over the next decade:
Finance and insurance
Management and professional services
Construction and manufacturing
Oil and gas
Remote project manager jobs are an excellent option for dynamic individuals who don’t shy away from change. If you want to put your organizational skills to good use, then this career path would be a viable option for you. To top it off, it has a competitive base salary range with lots of room for growth, and the demand for it is certainly not going to decrease anytime soon.
Hopefully, you’ll find the information here useful in helping you land your dream remote job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can project managers work remotely?
Yes, absolutely. Some projects require managers to be physically present, such as health care, construction, and engineering, but outside of these industries, more and more companies are moving into remote work.
How do I become a virtual project manager?
Before becoming a virtual project manager, you must start in entry-level positions, such as project coordinators, project assistants, and office administrators. These entry-level positions will help you hone your skills to help you become an effective virtual project manager in the future.
Are project managers in demand?
Yes. The PMI or Project Management Institute expects it to grow by 22 million new job openings by 2027. There is no indication of the demand going down in the near future.
They are highly in demand because their skills are applicable and needed in many industries worldwide, such as oil and gas, insurance, marketing, finance, construction, manufacturing, and utilities. They are also widespread in the IT industry.
What is the highest paying project management job?
Like any other job, the salaries of project managers vary with their skills, experience, and positions. However, some industries pay more than others. According to the PMI survey, the top-paying project management industries include engineering, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, consulting, and resource management.
Working as a project manager in IT or marketing can be lucrative, too, and there are plenty of remote project manager jobs to choose from in these industries.
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