The pandemic has brought many devastating changes – but also some surprisingly positive opportunities. Read on to discover what engineering could look like post-Covid.
The way engineers responded to the crisis was inspiring. Organisations from across the sector put rivalry and profit aside and worked together to build ventilators, make PPE, and create new hospital capacity.
These new connections are likely to survive the pandemic. In fact, Covid-19 created ideal conditions for the engineering perspective to flourish. Engineers have always worked on principles of support and collaboration, but now those principles have spilled out into wider circles. Having had this experience, nobody is likely to forget it; networks in the engineering sector will be permanently transformed.
During the pandemic, engineers have shown just how fast they can work when freed from regulatory red tape. For example, ventilators were rushed into mass production in about a month when it would normally have taken two or three years to make all the decisions, requalify all the components, and source everything in the supply chain.
Of course, some of that red tape will be stuck right back down when the crisis is over, but with other emergencies like climate change looming, regulators and governments would be well advised to leave engineers with more freedom than before.
Engineers are an independent and adaptable lot: according to a Professional Engineering survey, 18% said working from home had no impact on their efficiency, and a similar number said their ability to carry out technical engineering tasks was unaffected. With this data in hand, engineering companies may want to allow some employees to carry on working from home.
For those who are going back to the workplace, it’s likely to look very different. For instance, some companies might bring in wearable devices to help workers maintain social distancing.
After the pandemic has died down, governments will want to make sure that this never happens again. That will translate into greater demand for engineering that treats or prevents diseases, such as temperature monitoring devices, ventilators, anti-bacterial surfaces and other innovative solutions.
With many non-healthcare companies having quickly and successfully made the jump to producing healthcare products, it’s possible some may stick with their new métier and continue helping to save lives after the pandemic.