Hint: What's good for your CAD designers is good for you.
What would the impact of remote CAD working be on your organisation? Over the past few years, a growing number of companies have started to let employees work from a distance and it’s increasingly becoming the norm for staff to be able to work from home – at least some of the time.
However, until recently this just wasn’t an option for engineers, designers, draftsmen or architects who depend on CAD to do their work. Other businesspeople can use relatively ‘light’ cloud-based applications for word-processing, email or using productivity apps when working remotely. But for the kind of heavy data-processing that CAD software typically requires, designers have always needed to use dedicated machines at their desks, in the office.
Nonetheless, with cloud-based CAD tools improving every day, the possibility of remote CAD working has become reality for architects, designers and Engineers.
What is remote working?
Remote working is about letting employees to do some – if not all – of their work from outside the company’s main office. Using the internet, these employees usually work from home and do much the same job as they would if they came to a physical location.
Remote working isn’t a completely new trend – for many years staff in certain industries have been able to do some of their work from outside the office. Nonetheless, improvements in WiFi, mobile technology and a proliferation of secure cloud-based apps have all made remote working a lot easier. Today, about 5% of workers in Europe work from home some of the time (similar figures are seen in other major economies) – although in countries like The Netherlands, as much as 14% of people opt for this approach. In the United States, these numbers are even higher.
Although the technology is widely available, many managers have concerns about allowing staff to work remotely – they understandably worry about productivity and team cohesion. All the same, there is a gradual change in culture and we’re seeing yearly increases in its prevalence.
What are the benefits of remote CAD working?
Remote CAD working involves designers using cloud-based CAD software to perform the same work they would at your company’s office. The job is no different to what they would do if they commuted every day – the worker just doesn’t happen to be in the office. And there are plenty of benefits to this approach:
While managers may fear that remote CAD working is an excuse for staff to ‘slack off’, the opposite is in fact true. Multiple studies have shown that remote workers are in fact more productive than office staff. It’s obvious when you think why – there are fewer distractions at home, no aimless gossiping, lengthy meetings or annoying background noise. Instead, the individual employee can focus all their energy on work, and work alone.
Improved morale and retention
One 2018 study found that an incredible 97% of employees would like a flexible job where they can work from home at least some of the time. Once again, it’s fairly obvious why. No one likes commuting, and remote work allows people to improve their work-life balance. It lets them spend time with family, perhaps fit in a visit to the gym when it’s less busy during the day, and it gives them a greater sense of responsibility. All of which means that staff who can work remotely are happier and more likely to stay at your business.
Saves you money
From your company’s finance perspective, a serious benefit of remote CAD working is the capital expenditure saving. If you need less office space, you can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. What’s more, if your employees provide their own computers and you use a affordable-cost cloud-based CAD platform, your outgoings are even lower.
Expand your talent pool
If you choose to go down the remote CAD working route, you can also potentially increase your talent pool for staff significantly. Imagine you found the ideal designer for your next project, but she lives the other side of the country – in most cases you’d not be able to hire her. But, with remote CAD working, that person could become a permanent member of your team without having to relocate.
Remote CAD working – key considerations for success
Remote working offers countless benefits to engineers, architects, designers and any companies which use CAD. However, you need a strategy in place to make sure it is successful and that you harness the technology for the best:
- Be conscious of potential drawbacks – some employees get lonely or find it hard to motivate themselves when working alone, so you will have to plan for this.
- Think about the other technology that will be needed to make remote CAD working a success. You’ll need online collaboration tools, chat apps and to ensure that staff have good quality WiFi. You may also have to think about providing desks, office chairs and similar equipment.
- You will need a plan for communicating more fluidly too. Remote CAD workers often benefit from one or more daily catch up calls which imitate the kind of informal conversations about work that they’d have with colleagues during the day.
Whether you decide to go all out with remote CAD working, offer it as a limited weekly perk, or allow it on an ad hoc basis, a key ingredient is the software itself. At designairspace we built the world’s first pure-cloud CAD environment, which lets your employees create high quality designs wherever they’re based. For a demo or free trial, contact us today.