Yes, structural engineers can work from home, although certain aspects of the job may require face-to-face interaction.
Keep reading to learn pros and cons of working from home as an engineer and whether this might complement your lifestyle.
Learn what percentage of engineers do work from home and how they really feel about doing so.
Can A Structural Engineer Work From Home?
Structural engineers are a subset of civil engineers. As such, they often have highly detailed and sometimes stressful jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 309,000 civil engineers in the country. Many of them serve as structural engineers designing assets such as:
- Parking garages
- Building renovation
- Building design
- Retaining walls
Since many structural engineers work in the construction industry, working at home may prove challenging. However, with the right technology and communication in place, these professionals can complete the work, maintain productivity and balance work and family life.
Whether they work on houses, commercial buildings, or road structures, structural engineers play a vital role in designing and maintaining American infrastructure.
Here are a few tips that structural engineers can use to stay on top of their projects while working from home:
- Make sure you have the right equipment. CAD software often takes tremendous resources in terms of computing power. So, it’s important to have the right setup for the programs used to design and plan various structures. A beefed-up work laptop and robust desktop apps such as Citrix can facilitate connectivity and communication as well as prevent network lag and drag. Additionally, some structural engineers take their office CAD station home or use a VPN to access and update sometimes massive CAD files so things stay secure.
- Use the right communications software. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts make it easy to collaborate with coworkers and clients. Because of the technical nature of their work, structural engineers often need to explain concepts and issues face to face to ensure understanding.
- Focus on workflow. By identifying points of contact in key departments, structural engineers can get a clear picture of progress, problems, and important milestones.
Can You Work At Home As A Civil Engineer?
Absolutely! With the right equipment and a quiet work area, civil engineers, including structural engineers, can accomplish all aspects of their jobs remotely.
Balancing work and family time can become a major challenge in technical fields. So, civil engineers have to remain vigilant to ensure a clear separation of work and home life.
Certain aspects of the jobs, such as inspecting projects, may require in-person assessments.
Can Aerospace Engineers Work From Home? Find out the pros and cons of doing so.
What Can A Civil Engineer Do At Home?
Civil engineers can complete administrative and design tasks and much of their work from the comfort of home.
Getting the right hardware and software, such as Autocad 2d/3d and BIM modeling applications, allows Civil Engineers to complete their work remotely.
Civil Engineers can also conduct administrative tasks and meetings from home.
These professionals should also reserve a quiet room or niche for their work area to enhance productivity.
Is Working From Home Productive?
According to an article by SHRM, 800 employers overwhelmingly (94%) reported high productivity rates among employees working from home during the pandemic.
Allowing workers to adjust their schedules around children and family time can lead to even greater productivity results, according to the article.
So, with the right tools and best practices, engineering firms can thrive with structural engineers logging in from home.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Working From Home?
Structural engineers who work from home essentially work as their own boss. This may sound good on paper, but there are some disadvantages to trying to design bridges or perform complex calculations from your couch, including:
- Distractions. From barking dogs to laughing children, the home environment presents many distractions that structural engineers must learn to tune out.
- Risk of overworking. Working from home requires a lot of discipline. That includes knowing when to turn off the computer for necessary rest and relaxation.
- Isolationism. Working far away from colleagues and supervisors can make it difficult to stay motivated and communicate.
You can also refer to “Can Petroleum Engineers Work From Home?” for a wider understanding of the WFH challenges engineers face.
What Are The Advantages Of Working From Home?
Sometimes, it’s hard to focus in a busy work environment. Therefore, working from home may provide a more serene work environment for structural engineers.
No commute! WFH setups allow engineers and other workers to reclaim the time spent in traffic to and from work.
More time to organize your home. With zero commute time between the bedroom and office area, those who work from home can use their break time to load the dishwasher, vacuum, or do laundry.
Do Employees Support Working From Home?
Feedback in professional forums such as Reddit or Quora shows mixed feelings on the WFH front.
Those who support working from home indicate that having the right tools and employer support makes a huge difference.
Hear from engineers in various fields how they feel about working from home.
Where Can Structural Engineers Work?
Structural engineers traditionally worked in a professional setting, such as an office building or similar workspace.
Since the pandemic forced many workers to complete their jobs from home, structural engineers have had to adjust accordingly.
Today, many structural engineers have the ability to remotely access complex CAD and other files needed to design complete structures.
How To Find Jobs To Work Remotely?
Specialty employment platforms such as Ladders.com and Ziprecruiter.com allow job seekers to specify “remote” or “WFH” in the search boxes to find jobs.
LinkedIn and Engineering.com are also great places to network for remote engineering and other opportunities.
What Do You Need To Work From Home?
At a bare minimum, you’ll need a reliable internet connection, powerful laptop, and communication tools, such as a camera and quality microphone, for meetings.
Structural engineers typically require advanced software and hardware to ensure that they have the processing power they need to work on, update, and share their designs.
An ergonomic office chair, sit-stand desk, and desk can make working from home more comfortable.
What Percentage Of Engineers Work From Home?
Many engineers worked from home during the pandemic, and that shift has not yet reverted.
For example, ASME estimated that the number of engineers working at home increased from 13% prior to COVID-19 to 74% following the pandemic.
Working from home as a structural engineer has both advantages and disadvantages. Companies that allow responsible employees to work from home may find they have an advantage over employers with stringent requirements regarding facetime in the office.
Structural engineers require powerful computers and the ability to communicate quickly and clearly with coworkers and clients. However, some engineers find it easier to focus on work in a quiet home environment.
Ultimately, it’s up to both employers and employees to determine whether working from home meets the needs of all parties.