How To Meet the Challenge of Managing Construction Teams Across Multiple Sites

Industrial / Construction, Safety Tips

Managing employees on a single project can be a daily challenge. The problem takes on a whole new dimension when managing construction teams across multiple sites. Not only do you need to keep track of workers, schedules, and project budgets, but each location may also have its own client-specific needs.

Some of the challenges that managers face when overseeing multiple sites include late project delivery, construction cost overruns, and reduced quality due to mismanagement of resources. As such, extra planning and effort is needed to ensure that employees on all job sites perform at maximum efficiency.

Below, we will present some actionable steps you can implement to overcome the challenges of managing teams across multiple job site locations.

1. Use Document Management Software

One of the most effective ways to manage teams on multiple sites is to make use of efficient document management software.

Unfortunately, in today’s hectic work environment, traditional paper-based management techniques are inadequate. Storing hard copy correspondence and records in an easily accessible way can be a challenge, especially when overseeing several projects simultaneously.

Modern document management software allows all project information to be stored digitally on a centralized database. For example, daily progress reports, RFIs, design drawings, and change orders can all be stored in one location. This also makes it possible for managers to access these documents quickly to view various project parameters and oversee the health of all projects at once.

2. Use Staff Scheduling and Management Systems

Managing staff schedules in different locations can be a juggling act, as each site has its own resource requirements. Efficient managers must be able to monitor the needs of each project and schedule resources as required. Construction staff scheduling software allows managers to dispatch employees to each site according to their skills and availability. These tools can also be used to determine the effect of staff scheduling (and rescheduling) on overall project performance.

It is worthwhile to make sure that schedules are available to all team members so everyone is on the same page. Some scheduling tools also have built-in messaging features for communicating with staff via mobile notifications and reminders. This allows managers to alert team members of schedule adjustments instantly regardless of their location.

3. Unify Systems and Processes Across All Construction Sites

While different construction sites may contain crew members from the same organization, each project can have its own ‘personality’ and culture. Overseeing multiple sites with different characteristics can make it even more challenging to manage workers at these sites.

To minimize confusion and improve the chances of project success, it is recommended to implement and maintain the same standard operating procedures (SOPs) across all project locations as much as possible. This can be done by ensuring that all employees have easy access to essential documents, such as the Employee Handbook.

Ensuring that each member of the team follows the same processes and procedures makes it easier to relocate staff to different construction sites if needed.

4. Avoid the Urge to Micromanage

While taking an active interest in all construction activities may be necessary, taking on too much responsibilities can affect your performance as a manager. Nothing kills productivity more than trying to monitor every single detail across multiple construction sites. Even the best managers, at some point, may feel the urge to micromanage when faced with managing construction teams across multiple sites.

Not only does micromanaging affect the manager, but it can also take a toll on the team. Employees who are micromanaged may feel less motivated as they begin to feel a loss of autonomy. Excessive surveillance also increases employee stress, which can have a negative effect on productivity and performance.

Sometimes, the key to effective management is to let go. Instead, communicate the project goals to employees, so each team member knows what is expected of them. Managers should only intervene if expectations are not being met.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

Managing multiple construction sites can be a daunting task for even the most experienced project managers. The chances of project success can increase significantly by assigning various management tasks to other members of the team.

Daily tasks, such as progress reporting, RFIs, and even scheduling, can be delegated to competent assistant managers and site supervisors. In addition to relieving the pressure on the project manager, additional responsibilities can make the team feel more involved in the project, which can lead to higher morale and increased productivity.

6. Maintain Effective Communication

Communication is one of the greatest challenges when managing more than one construction site. Studies show that 43% of project managers believe that lack of communication is a crucial factor in project failure. Another study reveals that 18% of all jobs fail due to a lack of involvement from senior managers.

Job sites with absent project managers typically suffer from low employee engagement, lack of direction, and budget overruns. Therefore, putting in the extra effort to travel to meetings and hold conference/video calls with the team can go a long way in keeping the team motivated across different locations.

Actively reaching out to employees keeps managers grounded and in touch with the team’s needs at each location. This, in turn, shows staff members that they are valued and that the management team has their best interest in mind.

Final Thoughts

While the above tips can help managers overcome the challenge of managing construction teams across multiple sites, the key to project success is planning. By assessing the nature of each project, effective measures can be put in place to ensure that employees at one site do not benefit at the expense of others.

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About the Author:

Derek JonesDerek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication.  With a focus on Construction, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces.