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Remote work setup?

lougallolougallo Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,786
edited March 27 in General
Hi Everyone  - 

I know since the very beginning of Onshape I have enjoyed being part of this amazing community and seeing how everyone uses Onshape and helps one another.  Due to our current circumstances with COVID-19 and so many of us working from home (with our whole families in some cases), I was curious to know how everyone is set up and dealing/enjoying this change in how we work everyday.  I personally have been with Onshape since before we had a public product and I have never worked in Boston where Onshape is headquartered and live in Phoenix, Arizona.  I have been working remote regularly for the better part of a decade and find this method of working very freeing and productive.  For me, my entire team is remote, my meetings are remote, and all the work that I do is done with cloud-based tools. My wife is also a remote worker and we both have found ways to stay out of each other's hair while being very productive.  Here are some of the things that I do to try to make myself and my team feel like I am "present" on a day to day basis:

  1. I have a home office with a desk where I have my computer setup and my wife has a standing desk on casters so she can work in any room of the house.  This gives us designated places to do our thing and not get in the way of each other.

  2. We use Slack as our internal nervous system to communicate one on one and with public and private groups.  We also do video meetings and screen sharing with this as well for those quick impromptu meetings.  Having some sort of chat/group meeting tool is key to us making everyone on our team with live status and feedback.

  3. When people are in the office I use a robotic controlled iPad that I stream video on all day so that I have a virtual presence at all times in a specific place in our office.  Most of my team is there so if they need to talk, I am available when possible. This does take some getting used to on both sides but I have found it a very powerful way to be close to my team.  With everyone working remotely, we sometimes start a meeting and have everyone join muted so we can basically ask questions when things come up. Co-working is a good way to mimic that in office banter around a project.

  4. Most of our tools we collaborate with are cloud based.  This makes sharing and collaborating on work very easy using Google Docs and Office365 share and passing links (typically via Slack).

  5. Although email is used, it is NOT the method our highly collaborative teams work.  Email can be a time suck, as we all know, and something that I check more periodically vs realtime.

Working remotely does take discipline and good task/time management but once you figure out what works for you, remote work becomes less of a concern and I often find it more productive.  How are you getting adjusted? Have you found ways to adjust and get used to not being in the office everyday? As always, we are here to help and hard at work on the next build of Onshape!  ~Lou

Lou Gallo / PD/UX - Support - Community / Onshape, Inc.


  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 2,716 PRO
    edited March 28
    Being an mmo gamer, i've grown used to communicating and coordinating with people remotely. Slack is a great tool, but it is still lacking.

    I've set up a virtual office using discord. 
    For those who don't know what discord is, it is basically a Slack clone, but prioritizes voip and screen sharing. 

    To assist everyone who was not used to the idea of a voice chatroom. I gave everyone their own channel and named it thier desk. 

    So if you want to chat witb someone you just click on their desk and it's like you walked up to them for real. Then they can share thier screen and it's like your standing behind them looking at their computer. 

    No need to start a gotomeeting or webex. 

    Then i set up some text only chat rooms and labled them for each active project. That way information stays organized that should be written down. 

    Even the old dogs are getting a hang of this fairly quickly. 

    And unlike slack, i haven't seen a message limit in the years i've been using this free app. 

    Although, now i spend 18 hours straight everyday in the same chair. Wearing my headset. It's starting to leave a permanent divot in my head.. LoL

    Yea I know, overdue for a shave and a haircut.. 

  • alnis_smidchensalnis_smidchens Member Posts: 42 EDU
    For our robotics team, we use Slack, in large part because we are not-for-profit, so we can use one of their "paid" tiers for free. Some big features we like are threads (so it's easy to discuss something that was mentioned earlier in a busy channel) and the ability to upload big (100+ MB) files for quick sharing. There are members who prefer Slack and members who prefer Discord. Both are good--I definitely like discord voice channels over Slack calls. It's a very controversial topic on our team, but I'm personally fine with either (leaning towards Slack, but often also use Discord).

    On the actual working from home topic, one thing I'm trying to do to stay healthy is to set up an hourly alarm as a reminder to get up, stretch, exercise, etc. I usually do a few push ups along with some stretching exercises, and I'm also trying to make a habit of walking ~5 miles per day while observing social distancing from other pedestrians. It's really easy to start working on a project and look at a clock only to realize 4 hours have passed and I haven't even gotten up  :|

    On a side note, sending sldprt on discord and making file copies :# I've heard good things about a certain web-based collaborative CAD software known as "Onshape"  :D
  • sebastian_glanznersebastian_glanzner Member Posts: 168 PRO
    Nice idea using discord to create "virtual desks"! What is the "away from desk", is it a channel for small talk?
  • john_mcclaryjohn_mcclary Member, Developers Posts: 2,716 PRO
    It is a mute channel to let people know you are not available, like out to lunch or letting the dogs out.. Etc
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