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Engineers and best practice dealing with COVID-19

Engineers and best practice dealing with COVID-19

Engineers are not immune when it comes to experiencing COVID-19’s impact. PWC reported at the end of March that a range of challenges will be presented to the industry, which could deepen, “…depending on the severity and length of the crisis in the US and globally.”

While there has been a clear delineation between what essential (go to work) and non-essential (stay at home) workers should be doing, there remains a question among engineers: what is essential and what isn’t essential work for engineers in Australia? Fortune magazine listed engineers among the workers the U.S. government deems ‘essential’ amid the coronavirus.

Many an engineer’s job can be carried out remotely using various online technology, including MS Teams and Zoom. During this increase in engineers online, onsite, and construction-related activities will continue and by-and-large cannot be conducted remotely, thus making them – from an industry perspective at least – essential.

Working from home advice

If you are remote working as an engineer in Australia, make the most of your working-from-home status. Setup an office space (if you can) and do your best to ensure it’s quiet; learn how to use ‘mute’ if there are noises coming from your immediate environment (kids; lawnmowers; pets).

Remember that you’re ‘at work’, even though you’re not technically ‘at’ work. Attend meetings and remember to use normal meeting etiquette. Ensure you set up a schedule, stick to your goals, and regularly check in with your colleagues. One tip many ‘working from home’ pros have is that the way you dress will inform how you go about your day (not getting out of your pyjamas will reflect your general standard of work).

Health and safety on site

If your role still requires you to show up at a site or office, it’s important to remember the following: the federal Health Department has advised that the best practice remains the same for people who are working in offices or on-site, which means washing your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet, covering coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues, and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and if unwell, avoiding contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

Observe local social distancing and cleaning guidelines as prescribed by Safe Work Australia. Further industry guidance has been provided by Engineers Australia. Stay safe, keep calm, and carry on.