Super-smart resources to help you win
Working from home is still a highly sought-after job benefit for many professionals. In the United States, more than 4.7 million people telecommute, and the trend is growing exponentially each year. Organizations that don’t offer work-from-home (WFH) options run the risk of missing out on great talent during the hiring process or delaying business-as-usual activities during a crisis like 2020’s global COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog, we dive into working-from-home benefits and how bid and proposal professionals overcome the challenges of working from home.
Writing a business proposal is a tough business because government and commercial RFP responses take up considerable time and resources. Yet, we find that proactive capture management and proposal management helps to maximize time and deliver winning proposals.
Working from home delivers some great benefits that help bid and proposal professionals become proactive and productive.
The benefits of working from home lead to a happier workforce increased productivity and a proactive strategy that benefits the organization. More so, you as the professional realize these three benefits working from home:
#1 You Destress
Working from home is your opportunity to stay in your PJs, relax on the couch, and be in a comfortable environment (albeit tricky with the kiddos around). You don’t have to entertain the morning or rush hour traffic. You can move around as you please, rather than being glued to your desk, and you can focus more energy on accomplishing work requirements ahead of time than on your attire, commute, lunch costs, and so on.
More than 90% of professionals prefer flexible work arrangements so that they can accommodate their work and personal needs. Flexible work arrangements, comfortable environments, and more time to focus are especially important for bid and proposal professionals who write massive RFP responses daily.
#2 Team Collaboration is Encouraged
As counterintuitive as it may sound, working from home can encourage more team collaboration and easier communication. Leveraging the right tools for communication makes it easier for people to address issues without the anxiety that comes with being in-person. Flexible work arrangements also require that people work together collaboratively in the best way possible. Thus, working from home helps team collaboration happen more frequently to get things done.
Not to mention, remote team collaboration tends to encourage relaxed interaction between team members, which helps build team rapport. Bid and proposal professionals can gain more intel from subject matter experts and team members when team collaboration is encouraged.
#3 Costs Reduce
Bid and proposal professionals save money on daily costs like gas and lunch when working from home. Organizations save money on operating costs required to sustain a physical office, and the cost of bidding on an opportunity is reduced over time because happier employees produce more proposals.
Working from home provides cost savings and output that generate higher ROI. Bid and proposal professionals can use such metrics to calculate an increase in individual win rates.
The benefits of working from home are long term and serve to balance the challenges that we list next.
Let’s be honest. Working from home is certainly beneficial. However, bid and proposal professionals require organization and structure for decision making and writing. Working from home can be difficult to transition into mid-proposal or to navigate if personal priorities begin to become a distraction. Some of the best ways for bid and proposal professionals to overcome the challenges of working from home include:
• Leverage of robust pipelines;
• Monitor synced schedules; and
• Leverage of shared software.
Challenge #1: Transitioning to WFH Mid-Proposal
Bid and proposal professionals are responsible for tracking and using hoards of content and information. Transitioning to work from home instead of in an office mid-proposal can cause confusion and missed requirements.
Solution: Leverage of Robust Pipelines
We recommend leveraging robust pipelines of information about the opportunity to overcome this challenge. Your pipeline should include the full scope of the opportunity and all other decision-making criteria such as potential partner capabilities and Go/No-Go analysis. Team members who capture this information well in advance of the RFP release and make it accessible to all required parties will be able to withstand transition into flexible work arrangements without losing data or proposal progress.
Team members will use the same information and align responses accordingly.
Challenge #2: Distractions from Work Requirements
Working from home brings distractions. We are busy people and we have tons of responsibilities at work and at home. Working from home makes it harder to focus on work requirements only. You know what we’re referring to, right? You start to do work and then notice the laundry is not folded. Then what was supposed to be 30 minutes of folding the clothes turns into 3 hours of folding laundry and then reorganizing the kitchen pantry.
Solution: Monitor Synced Schedules
Working from home is not so distracting when your work and personal calendars are synced. As soon as you receive a bid, begin to build the pipeline and set your schedule. Align your work requirements with due dates and task assignments and monitor that schedule alongside your personal schedule to ensure that you always stay on top of what’s next. Tools that sync personal schedules or team member schedules instantaneously will help bid and proposal professionals monitor timelines, receive notifications of upcoming deliverables, and avoid distractions.
Challenge #3: Limited Collaboration Tools
Working from home without the proper collaborative setup for remote teamwork will be detrimental. Bid and proposal professionals thrive in teamwork. As we mentioned up top, writing proposals take a lot of time and a lot of brainpower. Bid and proposal professionals need to be able to work together no matter the work arrangement, so organizations with limited collaboration tools are at a disadvantage when employees work from home.
Solution: Leverage of Shared Software
Collaboration tools that are specific to the proposal writing industry serve bid and proposal professionals better than universal collaboration tools. Your team should use a proposal management software that integrates all the stages of the business development lifecycle including proposal management. Working from home will be a breeze with shared proposal management software that tracks all data and communication between remote team members.
Zbizlink captures information from the start of pipeline build to Go/No-Go decision, syncs your pipeline milestones and due dates with your authorized schedules, and allows your whole team to share information online or on mobile, track progress, and automate the business development lifecycle from the RFP qualification phase to proposal writing to contract.