One of the greatest changes in the modern workforce is remote work options. There are many personal benefits to working remotely like less travel or commute time, more time available for yourself and your family, and better mental health. There are also benefits to leading a remote proposal team like the ability to rapidly form, execute, and disband teams; reduced costs; and less time wasted waiting for resources. Forming a virtual team also allows you to select the best talent available—no matter their location.
Although remote work allows all these advantages, you must carefully navigate the potential negatives to have successful outcomes.
Team Management Is Key
Companies around the world are progressively using virtual proposal teams to prepare and submit bids. While this allows a lot of personal benefits to proposal contributors, it can be a headache for proposal managers if they do not manage the virtual team effectively.
Virtual teams face unique challenges like isolation to team members, lack of trust, and more opportunities for confusion. You can mitigate some of these challenges by clearly establishing roles and tasks at the proposal kickoff. Make sure your writers’ packets define each person’s responsibilities and clearly explain where to find necessary resources. Then when the proposal development is underway, communicate frequently with your team.
Over-Communicate with Your Team
Proposal teams lose trust in a proposal manager who does not communicate. This is a more pressing issue for virtual teams, where physical distance gives you fewer opportunities to touch base.
Communicate with your team—communicate too much. Keep your messages short and to the point, but make sure you are frequently communicating with your team. This helps track the proposal’s progression and increases the team’s trust in you. If your team knows that you will response quickly to their messages, they will be more comfortable asking vital questions. This will make your proposal better.
Make It Convenient to Meet Across Time Zones
If you are meeting with a team spread out in different time zones, try to pick a time that is convenient for everyone. For teams based solely in the United States, this may be as simple as starting at 10am central time. For international teams, it may mean splitting one full day of training into short sessions over multiple days to respect everyone’s working hours.
Use a virtual meeting platform that is easy to use and that team members are familiar with, if possible. Establish ground rules including the following for virtual meetings to ensure they run smoothly:
- Make attendance mandatory.
- Have an agenda for all meetings.
- Define all roles and responsibilities of each role.
- Ask your technologist to be available for every meeting.
Try to limit web conferences to 30 minutes and never exceed 50 minutes. If you need more time than that, take a break and resume or schedule another meeting.
When you are working with personnel in different countries, it can take a full day before you get an answer to a question—no matter how simple the question is. If you’re scheduling meetings with people in other countries, you may end up with the short stick and have a meeting scheduled early or late in your local time. You must be flexible when you are working with an outspread or a global team.
Internet connections may be weak; content management systems may be confusing to operate. Support your team by having back up plans and being flexible as you work through issues.
There are many benefits to working with a remote proposal team, but it also comes with unique challenges. When you manage a virtual proposal team, mitigating potential issues from the start strengthens the proposal team and the work they do for the final proposal. This maintains a high standard of work and increases your chances of winning.