Working with your colleagues at the office provides many advantages for productivity, enabling you to collaborate in real time, share information rapidly and get instant feedback. However, there will likely be times when one of your team members – or perhaps everyone – needs to work remotely.

During regular uneventful times, product development teams are often spread across different buildings, or even across the country or world. Furthermore, beyond the core engineering team, it’s fairly common for suppliers, contractors and manufacturing partners to be located somewhere else.

That’s where Onshape’s greatest strengths come into play.

Onshape is a cloud-native collaboration platform that can be utilized to not only share design workloads on a tight deadline, but also to maintain real-time communication between teams and individuals working in separate locations. No matter the situation, the tools you use to get your job done should be flexible enough to match your “office” for that day.

Here are six tips for taking advantage of Onshape’s built-in features that help design teams remain productive in any flexible working environment.

1. Instant CAD Access


Onshape offers real-time CAD deployment. Whenever a new member is added to a design team, he or she can start working in minutes, on all of their computers, phones and tablets. Onshape runs in an internet browser and with mobile apps (Android and iOS), so engineers can always carry their entire CAD system and their CAD data with them.

Onshape also works with Macs, PCs, Linux or Chromebooks, so you can focus more on your designs versus worrying about your machines.

2. Secure Sharing

Onshape provides multiple tools for collaborating with other Onshape users, as well as with partners using other product design platforms.

You can share an Onshape Document with one or more users, enabling real-time collaboration right in the same Document. You can choose to share with individuals, lists of individuals, teams, and companies, or make a Document publicly available (or private again). The option to share your Document with the Onshape Support team can also speed up the resolution of any technical issues.

Companies can better protect their IP by choosing view-only, commenting or editing permissions for shared Documents – with the ability to instantly revoke those permissions when the project is over.

3. Real-Time Chat and Task Assignment

Most engineers today use screenshot tools and emails to communicate about their designs. And much like emailing CAD files, emailing screenshots back and forth leaves a lot to be desired. When Onshape was created from scratch, we wanted to take a fresh look at not just how engineers design, but how they communicate with each other.

That’s why we created Onshape Comments.

You can use Comments as a simple tool to store notes related to your design, but where they really shine is when working with others. Comments allow you to chat with others in real time in your Document (assuming you have given them permission to comment). You can cut out the frustrating wait time involved with attaching screenshots to emails and sending them back and forth.

4. Notifications and Social Cues

Throughout the entire Onshape environment, there are social cues to make you aware of any colleagues working on the same Document as you. Through the web interface and even the mobile applications, you will see notifications for events such as releases, comments, and task assignments – ensuring that you stay up-to-date as changes unfold.

5. Action Items

You can manage your tasks and release approvals through the built-in Action Items page. With the ability to filter through the type, status, and history of the action items, day-to-day operations and requests can be appropriately managed.

6. Enterprise Analytics and Reporting

Onshape’s Enterprise Plan, meant for companies managing multiple complex teams and projects, tracks more than just Document History. Every interaction with your company's data, by employees or external suppliers, is recorded in detail and presented in dashboards with easy-to-read tables and charts. Executives and project managers can monitor all design activity company-wide, review Document access and better manage their teams and resources.

The Activity Overview dashboard presents a high-level view of your company's design activities. You can see the total number of hours spent on each project per day and per user, which engineers are actively working on which projects, how many release candidates are pending approval, and which Documents have been worked on the most.

Rather than waiting for weekly progress meetings, executives can drill down into each table and chart to get more detailed, up-to-the-minute reports.

To learn more about Onshape’s other Enterprise dashboards and real-time business analytics, or to schedule a product demo, click here.