Monday, March 19, 2012

Working from Home

This question comes up all the time during training sessions. Some firms cut it off at the knees, "No work at home, sorry". They don't allow employees to take work (at least computer files and such) home at all. You still take your brain with you (hopefully) so it's not like you can't be thinking your way through a problem eh? You'll just have to commit it to digital in the office.

First question I ask, "Is anybody else involved?" Usually the answer is, "Yeah, probably, maybe..?"

There are a couple solo options, meaning if you go home and want to work AND there are other people involved you can't leave until they ALL finish and you have to be the first one back in the office in the morning. Everybody else needs to be aware you intend to work on the project this way.

If more than one of you want to do this on the same evening...skip to the end for the Remote Desktop option.

Brute Force Technique (aka - "It's my world, you're just living in it")

Heading Home
Copy the file and any necessary linked models and go home
Open the project file using Detach from Central
Save the file using a new name
Fix any broken links
Work till you drop - copy the file(s) to flash drive

Heading to Work
Copy the file to your flash drive
At the office open the project file using Detach from Central
Save the file using the original central file name
Fix any broken links
Work till you drop and go home

Keep in mind that if anyone else does this too, on the same evening, the first one that gets into the office and creates the new central file wins, the other loses. You'll be stuck trying to copy/paste your changes into the project.

Slightly Less Brute Force Technique
You can also do essentially the same thing with your local file if you wait until everyone else uses SwC and leaves.
In your local file open the Workset dialog
Check all the workset types so they are all listed above
Select them all and make them editable
You'll own all the worksets which means nobody will be able to do anything until you return. (This means you can just take your local file home and work "at risk" because the central file can't be found but nobody else can borrow a workset anyway, you've got them all.)
Return to the office in the morning
Put your local back in place
Use SwC to relinquish all the worksets and update the central file.

Same warning stands, only one of you can do this and get back to the office and succeed with SwC, the second place user will get a unhappy message that Revit can't reconcile changes.

The Multi-User from Home Scenario
The better way to do this is to use Remote Desktop and leave your office computer on when you leave. Use Remote Desktop to run Revit on your office computer from your home computer. This lets you leave everything at the office except for you. Performance may vary but it is usually workable if you have a wired connection to the internet. It really depends on how your house and office are connected to the internet but only keyboard and mouse clicks are passed back and forth along with screen data.

Remote desktop (or something similar- computer access/sharing tool) takes a bit more EyeTee savvy...


Steve said...

I reader wrote to me to remind me that Citrix is an option too, though slightly "heavier" overhead in the tech department for the average computer user.

I might as well also mention the idea of the Cloud, BIM9 offers services to establish a private cloud server that could let your users access a project from anywhere, much more efficient after the initial setup and investment.

Advance2000 is another such service except they provide hosted applications and technology versus BIM9's approach to helping you setup and manage your own.

The more money and tech savvy you have the more options you have. This post is aimed more at the "average bear" that probably doesn't have significant resources to throw at the problem.

BD Mackey Consulting said...

Steve I have also set up clients who are using Revit server. The individual installs a Revit Server on their laptop and when they SWC it is a central on their laptop and the central file links to the Revit Server. Seems to be working great for the clients who are using Revit Server.

Devin C. said...

I have a few other options to throw in the ring.

1. This one depends on the nature of your Workset organization and is a tweak on the local file process (Less Brute Force). Let's say you are working on a multifamily podium project with a concrete garage and podium and wood structure on top or highrise with core and skin. If you seperate your worksets as such, one user could own the garage (or core) portion and one could own the podium and up (or skin). A few potential issues, but doable if needed.

2. If you are lucky enough to have a mobile worstation (lucky me) you can go this route for small to medium projects and patience (think file size and internet connection). Basically you just VPN into your work network and work like you normally would. you might want to SwC less (or more) frequently based on your connection speed and what type of interaction you have in a multi-user setting. This one makes my 1.5 hour train ride much more productive...

Anyway, my two cents.