Do You Know How Your Developers Are Feeling?
Recent survey reveals developer response to global health crisis
May 18, 2020

Tim Hall
InfluxData

The unprecedented global pandemic required organizations around the world to move their workforce almost completely remote — some in a matter of days. While many startups and organizations previously had a culture where employees were enabled to work remotely, that was not the case for all organizations. As a result, many employees are adjusting to a new way of working, including one audience some may not have expected: developers.

In April 2020, InfluxData conducted an online survey to learn more about how developers are feeling as they adjust to a new way of working. A total of 324 respondents from around the world self-identifying as software developers/engineers responded to the survey anonymously.

Like many other positions, it is no surprise that 91% of respondents are currently working from home. What may come as a surprise is that 50% of developers rarely or never worked from home prior to the pandemic. This has required a new approach to work for many developers — one that is being felt across the globe. 

Since the move to a remote working environment, developers are learning more about the best time to work. While 35% of developers were used to working outside standard working hours, 27% noted that the shift in work has upended their schedules as they’re now working outside of the typical 9-5 schedules to juggle work and home life. The most common change is that 39% find themselves working later into evenings, followed closely by 33% of respondents working more hours overall. However, despite the additional hours, 31% of developers reported feeling less productive. 

Like everyone else, developers are navigating the "new normal" — both professionally and personally — and are finding ways to pass the time at home on activities outside of work, including:

■ Connecting with family and friends via video chat (46%)

■ Exercising (41%)

■ Participating in virtual learning activities (39%)

■ Reading (38%)

■ Playing video games (37%)

On the other side, there are concerns among developers that are a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis, including 39% of respondents noting loneliness and feeling isolated. Other worries that could impact developers include:

■ Too much snacking 35% 

■ Job security 32%

■ Poor network bandwidth 31%

On the whole, developers have mixed feelings about the new normal they’re living and working in, and while many may be making the best of it, many are also learning to find the best way through.

Within the survey, some developers shared useful tips for navigating the crisis and making the best use of their time:

■ Write down a plan of what you need to do, it will help not to be distracted so easily.

■ Take a break when you feel unproductive. If you have a standing desk, change your position more frequently — it helps you stay focused. Go for a short walk.

■ If possible, always use video during meetings. It makes the conversation more natural and helps a lot with communication.

■ Stay connected to your friends, family and coworkers however you're comfortable. Don't isolate yourself further than you need to.

■ The most important thing is to have discipline: start meetings on time, communicate with team members frequently via communication platforms, have a stable and comfortable environment to work.

■ Working from home and working at home during a crisis are very different. It's important to recognize that we are all dealing with a lot; reach out to offer support in any way you can.
 
■ Have an abnormal amount of patience, understanding, and compassion for others.  You simply don’t know what they are going through or what their specific circumstances might be.

While we know that this crisis is not a permanent one, it will likely impact the way we work in the long run — making it more important than ever to understand how employees are feeling, ways to improve productivity and how to maintain culture among team members. 

Tim Hall is VP of Products at InfluxData
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