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Project Managers: How Many Hours Do They Put In?

24 Jun 2024
Project Managers: How Many Hours Do They Put In?


A project manager usually oversees several types of projects, varying in size from small to big, and in different industries. As you know, a project manager is always overworked and does not have stable working hours like many other professions. In this article, we will discuss the number of hours a project manager works and the factors that could affect the project manager’s work hours.

Project Manager Working Hours

project manager

When managing a project, your daily schedule will vary, and most of the time, it is unpredictable due to the events that happen during your day. Your daily working hours can vary depending on your project, industry, and organisation you are working for, and your working hours are different from any other project manager. Globally, it is common for project managers to work the standard 40-hour work per week, which is 8 hours per day between 9 am and 5 pm, but it is exceedingly rare to find a full-time project manager committed to these standard hours; a project manager always works more than this. 

As a full-time project manager, sometimes you may have to be in the office early at 7 am because that is the only time an executive or key stakeholder is available, or someday you have to work till 9 or 10 pm to catch up with another stakeholder to meet him about some urgent issue. Sometimes, you need to work at weekends to follow up on some tricky work, or you have to travel during holidays to meet some vendors and many more similar situations outside the standard working hours. 

We should also mention that nowadays, most organisations work through virtual teams; the project manager sometimes works late at night or early in the morning to follow up with his dispersed team due to different time zones. Conversely, a part-time project manager, whose main job is not project manager, could still manage his work within the standard working hours.  

Factors Causing Long Work Hours

The project management profession always requires a degree of flexibility and adaptability as the nature of project management work can vary and change rapidly, unpredictably, and sometimes on a daily basis. It needs effective leadership, excellent communication and coordination between a project manager and his team. As is apparent, project managers face long work hours due to many factors but not limited to the following: 

1. Project Complexity

The more complex a project is, the more time a project manager will spend on it. There are more tasks to be done, and the potential for risks and issues is greater. Also, complex projects usually involve more stakeholders and require more time. 

2. Stakeholder Expectations

Not necessary, only in complex projects, stakeholders have high expectations. Elevated expectations mean a project manager needs more time to communicate, report, and frequently update the stakeholders. 

3. Industry

In some industries, the work hours are longer than in other industries; an IT project manager can work within the standard hours compared to a construction project manager who may work longer hours.

4. Organisation's Culture

Some organisations prioritise work-life balance, whereas others work long hours without any consideration.  

5. Project Team

A project manager who manages a large team with diverse skills and different backgrounds requires more time due to more communication, coordinating tasks and even more conflict resolution.  

6. Project Timeline

Projects with tight deadlines require more time than those with more flexible timelines.  

7. Project Phase

Every project phase requires different amounts of time from the other phase. As is known, the project planning phase requires more intensive work, which means more hours than the execution or monitoring and controlling phases.   

8. Unpredictable Events

Rarely see a project run precisely as planned; when unpredictable issues happen, the project manager needs to work more hours to resolve them and keep his project on track.  

Full-time project managers across the globe are working an average of around 50 hours per week, which means 10 hours per day, as shown below:  

Average Work Hours for Project Managers

Average Work Hours for Project Managers

So, if you are a project manager, it is necessary and particularly important to have time management skills to ensure that all your tasks are prioritised based on their importance and urgency and completed within timelines. You must be highly organised, detail-oriented, and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Moreover, being a project manager, you must put in more hours to manage your team, respond to various stakeholders, and still find time for yourself and your loved ones. You can do that by becoming more efficient in your work, building a highly effective team, learning to set limits on your working hours, and creating boundaries between your personal life and professional responsibilities. So, at that time, you can focus on monitoring and controlling your project progress, as well as achieving a healthy work-life balance.  

Finally, maintaining a healthy balance between your professional responsibilities and personal life will lead to successful work completion and happy individuals around you.