When we discuss things like workplace flexibility, remote workers, work/life balance, and burnout, we are typically talking about the generic employee. Each industry, however, has unique issues and challenges. Today, we are going to look at developers, those hardworking individuals who build and create software and applications. They work in virtually every industry but share many of the same challenges and concerns.
A recent report from DigitalOcean, which surveyed more than 4,500 developers worldwide, illuminates the specific challenges and issues that developers face.
Generally speaking, the number of remote workers has grown drastically over the years—and, by all accounts, will continue to do so. Developers are not immune to this trend. Within the last year, 35% of remote workers reported moving from a central office to working remotely. Another 47% said that switch happened between 1 and 4 years ago. Only 14% said that happened 5–9 years ago.
How many developers work from home? Eighty-six percent of those surveyed reported working from home to some degree. Among those who do not work remotely, the majority (62%) said it was because their company did not allow it—indicating that many more would work from home if they were allowed.
When asked if they work primarily from home, the number one response (33%) was “yes.” Another 28% split their time, and 25% said they only work from home in isolated circumstances.
You have likely heard remote workers describe their experience as isolated. This survey, however, showed that was not necessarily true. Due to advances in worker connectivity, developers reported that they generally still felt connected. On average, 68% of those surveyed reported that they did feel connected to their company’s community when working remotely. Men were more likely (71%) than women (64%) to feel this way.
When asked what programs or policies helped them feel connected while working remotely, 73% of respondents said access to communication channels like instant messaging or business collaboration. Sixty-five percent indicated companywide meetings and events helped them feel connected.
Of course, some respondents do feel disconnected—32% on average. Among those, 61% said they feel excluded from offline team conversations. Another 49% said they don’t feel integrated into the company’s culture. Finally, 24% said they are not able to communicate easily with their team.
Burnout is not new, but awareness of the issue has increased. While workers might feel more positive about the value of working from home (76% said they believe that remote work helps improve their work/life balance), a small but significant slice of remote workers are not experiencing that improvement. Indeed, 37% of respondents say that remote work has worsened stress, frustration, and anxiety. Part of that has to do with working longer hours, which was indicated by 52% of respondents. Another 40% said they feel that they are expected to contribute more work when working remotely.
Developers are hard workers, but they are susceptible to problems and issues just like anyone else. Take a look at the full results for more takeaways here.