The coronavirus pandemic has forced engineers to work from home, while having to deliver critical products, especially to help the frontline workers. It’s been a challenge as many product developers have not had the same access to machinery and operating equipment required to evaluate prototypes or test products in a lab. So, it’s not surprising this was the number one hurdle facing engineers in the Work-From-Home era, according to a recent survey conducted by Onshape.

Almost 43 percent of respondents said their biggest issue today is the inability to evaluate physical prototypes as they have limited access to testing equipment. More than 38 percent of people said managing supply chain volatility is the second biggest challenge of having to work remotely. And another 19 percent voted speed-to-market as the next hurdle -- a critical capability that helps companies maintain their competitive edge.

Indeed, COVID-19 has forced many professions, including engineers, to think about what work will look like on the other side of the pandemic. Will it make sense for more product development projects to be conducted from home? Are physical offices as necessary as they once were? Hard to say for sure. But the current situation has certainly demonstrated that working remotely is a very viable option for many in today’s hyper-connected era.

In fact, in a recent Onshape webinar, engineering leads from various industries discussed how they are evolving their product innovation process to adapt to the changing work environment to ensure their team stays safe. Will Tiller, engineering lead at Dixie Iron Works, said his company is working to provide every engineer with a 3D printer for their home, so they can print tangible items, speed up the process of vetting ideas, and getting products to market faster.

“The current situation has proven to us that is the right direction to go and we probably need to accelerate toward that end,” Tiller said.

“If there were any companies on the fence about how remote working could work out, these past few weeks have definitely pulled the band-aid off,” he added.

How is your company pivoting to meet the new normal? Send us a tweet @onshape and let us know what you’re doing differently right now to maintain business continuity.