As the VP of Engineering at DigitalOcean, I work with developers around the world. We’re a company that prides itself on allowing employees to work wherever they want — from different regions, to different personal setups in their homes and more. And it’s no secret that this trend extends beyond our walls (or lack of walls!). Across the industry, workplace flexibility is undoubtedly on the rise.
With this in mind, DigitalOcean’s sixth and latest installment of our Currents research series explores everything related to remote work within the developer community. With insights from more than 4,500 developers, the report provides an inside look into how developers work (whether remote or in office), their experiences working remotely, how they stay connected to the community, and how they maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Key findings include:
Seventy-one percent of respondents feel connected to their company’s community while working remotely. This is primarily due to advances in workplace communication tools, as there is an increasing number of channels for employees to engage through regularly. On a scale of one to five, developers most prefer using business collaboration software and least prefer video conferencing.
In addition to their colleagues, the broader developer community connects with each other through local events or meetups, online forums, and conferences — in the last 12 months, 77 percent have attended an industry event.
Despite most developers feeling connected, issues of isolation still exist for nearly a third of remote workers, so it is important that companies proactively connect and include remote employees. Forty percent of respondents indicated that their employers don’t have specific programs or policies in place to include remote workers.
Of these respondents who were aware that their company had a remote-employee programs, 88 percent said they have a positive impact. This disparity highlights a valuable opportunity for companies to invest in connecting their employees.
Globally, burnout is present in the developer community with 66 percent of respondents indicating they’ve experienced work fatigue — whether they work remotely or not. This number is even higher in the U.S., at 82 percent of respondents.
Remote work is seen as one solution to this stress. The majority of developers who work from home (76 percent) believe that it helps them improve their work-life balance.
Developers — and their managers, co-workers alike — need to be aware of the signs of burnout and take advantage of employer-sponsored stress-reduction and mental health programs. Remote workers in particular need to disconnect and create separation between their personal and work environments.
This includes finding time to work out, foster their social circles, take vacations, and cultivate hobbies. Our survey found that outside of work, developers turn to family and friends, physical activity, video games, reading, or playing music to de-stress. Many companies are also now offering longer paid leaves to support people during significant life transitions and milestones.
A majority of respondents believe remote work helps improve work-life balance, as it eliminates the stress of commuting and gives people the flexibility to work from wherever they’d like to live. A quarter of respondents reported remote work had no impact on work-life balance. The remaining 11 percent said remote work worsens work-life balance, most frequently citing the issues of working longer hours at home and feeling expectations to contribute more. Remote work expectations could be an area for improvement, as companies make efforts to implement remote-work policies and programs.
DigitalOcean Currents highlights the latest trends among developers in the cloud.
If you would like to be among the first to receive Currents each quarter, sign up here. You’ll also be able to share ideas on what topics we should cover and participate in our next survey.
Read more about these and other findings in the full Currents report.