To home base or not to home baseQuestion by: Dawn Osborne
I am group Bid manager for a Print solutions company currently going through acquisition.
The new company are looking to have all the Bid Team based in their Head Office, this will mean that the existing team will be made redundant and their less experienced team will be in place to respond to the complex bids and Public Sector requests we currently work on.
Having worked in many sectors for a fair few large corporates I am of the opinion that the location of the Bid Team is not the issue, for me it is flexibility and adaptability which gives the greater success rate.
I am proposing to the new company that the existing team could be home based and have legs.
Are there any case studies out there or based on your experience what are the industry best practices?
Hi Dawn – thanks for your question and sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Its been one of those months!
The problem you raise is a common one. As far as I am aware there are no specific studies looking at industry best practices on homeworking. Our last salary survey gathered some data which showed that 45% of the UK workforce was permanently office based and 10% had full homeworking status. Hence, 35% had some mix of office and home working. (https://bidsolutions.co.uk/wp-content/documents/2015_Final150715.pdf – Slide 16).
Its fair to say different industries typically have different approaches. IT and Telco organisations tend to be much more flexible. Professional Services (Law / Finance etc) tend to be more office based.
I think the maturity of an organisations sales / business development team often dictates the level to which a bid team can work remotely. If the team need lots of hand holding, then organisations go for the safe option and keep the bid team on hand at all times. Also, if the bid team is seen as a sales admin function as opposed to a strategic sales enabler, this can determine how (in)flexible the working arrangements can be.
In my opinion, the question should not be can the team work from home. The question should be what you need to do to win the deal. Sometimes it needs a tight-knit team in a war room environment for many weeks to get into a winning position. At other times it may simply need you to complete an online questionnaire.
If your company is not giving you objective reasons as to why you can’t support the business remotely, then I would suggest that they do not fully understand your role, and how to get the best out of the team. Maybe an internal PR exercise to showcase the full skills within your team and how they can get the best out of it, may help shift the culture…
I hope that helps.