During the covid-19 pandemic, working from home has become more common than ever across all industries, including engineering. However, in the wake of the spreading virus, it was found that engineering firms were one of the least prepared sectors for working remotely (report here). Possibly due to the nature of many engineering roles or the technology required, engineering is not the most applicable discipline for home working.
In this guide we give examples of some popular engineering jobs that can be done from home, as well as listing some of the skills that suit working an engineering role at home. You can find out more about how covid-19 will impact engineering with our recent blog.
Work from Home Engineering Jobs
Many engineering jobs can be done from home. In fact, in a poll conducted in March 2020, 75% of engineers polled said they could perform their job roles from home (poll here). As a nod to the ‘new norm’ in the industry, the term “telecommuting engineer” has been coined to describe the work from home era of workers.
Of all STEM roles, engineering is one of the most work from home-friendly. Some engineering roles are restricted by practical approach, such as construction engineers, electrical engineers, and production technicians, but the vast majority can be done remotely. As long as engineers have a computer, internet connection and any specialist equipment required, they should be able to effectively work from home.
See more: Tips for Engineers Working from Home
Engineering is an expansive field with lots of nuanced specialities within it; civil, mechanical, chemical, environmental, materials, nuclear, aerospace and more. For these disciplines, there are many jobs available to engineers across a range of employers, from government agencies and consultancies to contractor companies and scientific organisations. Overall, these various disciplines and employers result in a wide range of engineering roles, most of which are suitable for work from home.
Examples of common work from home engineering roles include:
- Software Engineer – Requiring a computer and internet connection to get started, software engineers increasingly work from home.
- Mechanical Engineer – This role can be remote as it is often very software-related, i.e. robotics development.
- Chemical Engineer – Growing in frequency, chemical engineers are increasingly working from home.
- Computer Engineer – As above, a computer engineer requires minimal equipment and can work remotely simply.
Managerial, advisory and senior positions are perhaps more applicable to working from home as the roles these positions undertake can be done remotely, including planning, project management, and other admin.
Engineers Working from Home Skills
Considering the number of engineers now working from home, and the likelihood this trend will stay for many years, it is key that engineers adopt relevant skills for remote work. Also, as remote work becomes increasingly prevalent for the in-demand engineering jobs of 2021, any engineering candidates should highlight work from home skills they possess upon job application.
Good communication is vital for effective remote working. Engineers will rely on calls, emails and video conferences to convey messages, update others on progress, and stay on top of projects. Those who are responsive and good at effective communication will suit home working more.
As with any salaried work, engineers working from home will be paid to work the allotted hours stipulated by bosses. If a job is a regular 9-5 then an employee must be ready, present and working during those hours. Working from home can disrupt the usual work/life balance and result in distractions from work or even overworking. Engineers working from home should try to stick to the hours of their job.
Engineers working remotely may not have their boss peering over their shoulder but it’s important to maintain the same high level of work. If the quality of work deteriorates while working from home then employers may feel less confident in employees and their ability to work remotely.
Following the pandemic, many businesses may reduce physical contact between staff, even giving up offices and saving on overheads. Many engineering businesses may take a blended approach, offering a flexible agreement of some days onsite/in the office, some days at home. Therefore, engineers should be open to blended work habits, or make it clear what their working condition preferences are.
Get Started with BMR Solutions
As experienced recruiters specialising in engineering, manufacturing and technical jobs, BMR Solutions help engineers land their ideal role. From work from home jobs to contractor work, we have a range of jobs on offer covering a variety of fields and specialisms. Working with businesses across the UK, we match employers to the ideal candidates.