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Can Aerospace Engineers Work From Home?

In the past, designing aerospace components would seem implausible. But the coronavirus pandemic changed all that. 

Currently, Work-From-Home (WFH) models abound in almost every industry, including the engineering field. 

Below, we will look at whether the WFH approach is possible and tenable in the aerospace engineering sector.

Can Aerospace Engineers Work From Home?

Yes. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations that employ aerospace engineers (such as governments and airlines) had to cut down their operations and adopt WFH programs. 

Ironically, the WFH model is better suited for aerospace engineering than for other engineering fields since engineers perform most tasks con a computer. 

Engineers working to build innovative propulsion systems, for instance, can easily do that from their homes. Indeed, that’s exactly what engineers working for airlines did when most air travel-related operations ground to a halt when the pandemic started.

The WFH revolution did not leave behind engineers working with NASA either. The agency announced its shift to a teleworking system in March 2020, just weeks after the discovery of the coronavirus. 

The shift meant that even engineers working on the ISS launch module had to work from home. Suffice it to say the agency successfully transported astronauts to the international space station (ISS) during the pandemic. 

People who oppose WFH for aerospace engineers claim that their work requires too much collaboration and communication to have individuals working from home. However, the development and subsequent success of videoconferencing tools like Zoom and Slack easily put that argument to rest. 

Learn more: Can A Mechanical Engineer Become An Aerospace Engineer?

Is Working From Home Really Productive?

Yes. One study by Standford University indicates that people who work from home are 13% more productive than those who commuted. 

Researchers attribute the increase in productivity to the quieter environment and reduced distractions.

Why Are Employers Against Working From Home?

In the aerospace sector, employers don’t love the work from home trend. Here are three reasons why:

  • Increased Information Security Risks – There are legitimate concerns that engineers working on sensitive designs may divulge important information saved outside the employer’s secure firewalls. For instance, bad actors can steal or damage laptops or hack data stored in home office setups.
  • High Initial Costs – The work that aerospace engineers do requires rather advanced computers and network equipment. Companies with engineers working from home have to factor in the costs of acquiring computers, mobile phones, and secure internet connections. For some employers, the overhead costs can bust their budgets.
  • Difficulty Monitoring Performance – Some managers prefer workers to remain under their gazes. This is because it is difficult to know what a worker is doing, and the manager may have a hard time getting their direct reports to focus on their tasks.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Working From Home?

Working from home may have some negative repercussions for both the worker and their employee. These include:

  • Home Distractions – Workers who have young kids or no dedicated working spaces may find it hard to avoid the ceaseless distractions. 
  • Potential Burnout – WFH easily blurs the lines between home and work life, which can lead to workers working for longer hours than they would at the office. This, as one study shows, can lead reduce productivity, in addition to causing health problems.
  • Low Morale – Aerospace engineers are mostly used to working in groups, whether with other engineers or other types of technicians. Some engineers may thus find it hard to stay motivated when they have to work on their own.

What Are The Advantages Of Working From Home?

Below, find some advantages of working from home as an aerospace engineer:

  • Saves on Costs – WFH saves both the employer and employee from the costs of commuting, office supplies, and office utilities.
  • Convenience – Employees don’t have to incur the hassles of getting to and from their offices, which means they don’t have to over-extend themselves financially, physically, or materially.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction– According to research, more than 70 percent of people working from home consider it less stressful, and thus more satisfactory, than the traditional work model. High job satisfaction in turn leads to less burnouts and higher productivity.
  • Better Work-Life Balance – As mentioned above, not having to commute to work can free up a bit of money and time. This can be used to improve one’s life since you will have more time to sleep, go to the gym, or visit your friends.

Do Employees Like Working From Home?

Yes. Most employees enjoy, and actually prefer working from home as opposed to commuting to the office. 

One study, conducted by Airtasker found that people who work from home are so satisfied that they spend less time avoiding work. They are also more productive, and take more breaks in general, than their peers who work in the office.

Where Can Aerospace Engineers Work?

Aerospace engineers mainly work with airlines and space research agencies like NASA. They may also work for militaries or defense companies that design or build missiles and other spacecraft. 

Some also find work as consultants for the federal government. To see how a career in Aerospace Engineering compares to Electrical Engineering and other careers, check out other posts on WorkWut.

How To Find Jobs To Work Remotely?

There are plenty of remote working sites from which aerospace engineers can find, and apply for remote jobs. 

These include both the better-known platforms like Upwork, LinkedIn, and Indeed, and the more niche sites like Glassdoor and TheLadders. 

If you are looking for more localized jobs, your local newspaper or online magazine may contain some relevant ads.

What Type Of Engineers Can Work From Home?

Generally, any engineering job that doesn’t require physical or on-site input can be done remotely. This covers the fields of aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and software engineering. 

However, teleworking is neither suitable for nor sustainable in more “handy” jobs like mechanical and electrical engineering.

On a related topic, find out whether Quality Engineers can work at home.

What Percentage Of Engineers Work From Home?

According to a report titled State of Remote Engineering prepared by engineering/tech platform Terminal, more than half of engineers are working from home. This is especially so for software engineers whose jobs can be entirely done on their home PCs. 

Further, more than 80 percent of all engineers want to have the option of working remotely in the future. This will potentially increase the rate of teleworking in the sector.

Final Thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic triggered seismic waves in many different economic sectors, with the hardest hit being the air travel industry. 

As a consequence, many airlines and aviation companies adopted a  WFH, or at least hybrid working systems which are still used to date. 

From the look of things, aerospace engineers will only need to go to the office just a few times a year in the coming decades, which as we’ve seen, is a pretty good thing.