With the covid-19 virus wreaking havoc in the world and the need for social distancing, right now you and me are doing one of the greatest service to humankind – Working from home. While we are in this together, it is realistic to assume that “home office” will be the new norm for quite some time. This undoubtedly has also brought in many challenges – specially in our fast-paced world of bid management that thrives on real-time collaboration & communication. Which means, a good number of us might right now be reeling under the stress of “how to be productive”. However, if we follow a few simple hacks & best practices, we can successfully maneuver this change – no matter how overwhelming all this might feel.
From an experience, I present you my 6 best practices that bid managers can follow while working from home:
Tip number 1: Dedicated workspace
Working from home means juggling between personal and professional priorities. However, to have a concentrated effort, it is important to first create an environment that is away from distraction. Whatever you choose – a nice little corner or a dedicated room – ensure it gives you the best environment to meet the deliverables for the day. You may also try to replicate the office vibes. Besides keeping the important documents and stationary handy, you can dress up a bit and add some office pictures, motivational quotes to your space.
Tip number 2: Use of Technology
Times likes these, technology will be the spine for you to succeed. A robust internet connection, collaboration software and a great workflow tool can help you manage your bids smoothly. There is a plethora of technological apps & software available in the market. Tools like MS teams, Slack, Zoom, etc. are some popular options used. Likewise, automated proposal management software can also help you manage your RFXs.
Tip number 3: Time management
Working from home does not mean you are available for work 24/7. If the need be, we all will answer the business call. Else, set your expectation right – both with your manager as well as with your peers. You could block your calendars for specific activities: meetings, emails, calls – including lunch and breaks. Setting timers and keeping a to-do list can also work wonders. Since working from home also saves a lot of commute time, you can utilise this effectively to start your day a little ahead and be more productive – or perhaps wind up soon. This way you can also enjoy your work-life balance. But whatever you do – stick to it and reward yourself later.
Tip number 4: Communication style
The communication dynamics will have to be altered a bit when working remotely. The comfort of simply walking over to your colleague or manager will not present in this new working style. Neither can you drop an “important” message with someone else to get back to you. Therefore, it’s good to mutually agree on few channels of communications and respect that space & time. Be empathetic to the fact that the other person is struggling with this new change just as much. Likewise, keep all the important communication in emails compared to verbal assurances (in front of your peers) that you would have relied on earlier.
Tip number 5: Team catch-up
When you are out of office network, it is too easy to be isolated. However, prolonged isolation can lower morale and compromise your work values. Don’t let his dominate you. Have periodic team catch ups and face time to keep the bond alive. You don’t always have to rely on chat windows and emails to communicate – choose to make a call instead. Maintain the same great rapport with your colleagues and departments – something that we are truly excellent at.
Tip number 6: Physical & Mental Well being
Amidst all these, it’s important to take care of your health as well. Don’t be engrossed into work or be glued to your chair all day along. Get up, walk around, stretch, breathe or listen to music – do something to break the monotony. Enrolling in online courses are also a great option. For example, you can explore the various webinars and certifications from APMP to get more industry insights. Remember! A refreshed mind translates into a refreshed attitude, so don’t get stuck in a rut.
These are stressful times. Nevertheless, aren’t we bid managers infamous for accepting challenges and winning them all? The best part is, with every passing day, we are also being accustomed to the new definition of work culture. This whole experience is making us more pragmatic, confident and creative. Once this pandemic is over, we will carry all these learning and experience to further shape of roles – and perhaps demonstrate a whole new way of delivering our RFIs and RFPs. For all we know, this might be the beginning of a totally new thing.
Until then, let’s hang on!
(Senior Vice President – Presales)
Abhilasha is a certified APMP Practitioner with over 20 years of experience. She has been spearheading the Presales team at Firstsource since 2008 with primary focus on supporting new business deals, building the breath of new sales pipeline and positioning Firstsource as thought leader through conferences and global networking events.