How Engineers are Working Through the Coronavirus Pandemic


July 20, 2020


180 Engineering

As the COVID-19 pandemic grips the nation, engineers are asked to continue to work—whether at home or in the factory. How are they faring, and what are their biggest challenges?

The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the lives and workplaces of engineers around the world. Since engineers are an essential part of our society, however, many have been asked to continue working during these stressful times. To gauge the state of the engineering workforce in these trying times, Mechanical Engineering magazine recently asked our readers how they are coping and what challenges they may be facing.

The initial survey resulted in nearly 500 responses from a variety of engineers. Many told us that they have been able to work remotely for some time, so once this crisis hit, they were ready. When quarantines went into effect where they lived and worked, it was relatively easy to make the transition.

Mechanical Engineering magazine will continue to reach out to ASME members, our readers, and engineers across all industries, and we will have more personal insights to come. ASME has conducted a more extensive research study of the state of the engineering society. That survey will provide insights and analysis of how the coronavirus has affected the mechanical engineering society.

Think of these survey results, presented below, as an initial snapshot of engineering in the time of the coronavirus.

Ready for the Crisis

The responses came from a wide selection of the engineering profession. Approximately 56 percent of those who responded said they are design engineers who hold management positions, while another 15 percent were in academia.

The majority agreed they are keeping things running smoothly and efficiently. Among design engineers working in management, 92 percent reported that they are open for business through some form of remote operations, though 12 percent said they have a modified schedule.

What’s impressive about this number is how quickly companies reacted to the new reality. When asked, only 56 percent already had a plan in place. That means that the other 36 percent who are working remotely had to organize quickly and efficiently.

As might be expected, there were snags. Although 65 percent of respondents said they were already working remotely in some form or another, 13 percent said they still were being trained for the transition. Only about 20 percent either aren’t working remotely at present or are still putting together a plan to do so.

Of those who already had a plan in place, 40 percent of…continue reading article