Developers Task Satisfaction and Performance during the COVID-19 Pandemic

16 Jul 2021  ·  Daniel Russo, Paul H. P. Hanel, Seraphina Altnickel, Niels van Berkel ·

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, software engineers' daily life was disrupted and they were abruptly forced into working remotely from home. Across one exploratory and one confirmatory study (N = 482), we tested whether a typical working day is different to pre-pandemic times and whether specific tasks are associated with task-specific satisfaction and productivity... To explore the subject domain, we first run a two-wave longitudinal study, where we found that the time software engineers spent doing specific tasks (e.g., coding, bugfixing, helping others) from home was similar to pre-pandemic times. Also, the amount of time developers spent on each task was unrelated to their general well-being, perceived productivity, and other variables such as basic needs. In our confirmatory study, we found that task satisfaction and productivity are predicted by task-specific variables (e.g., how much autonomy software engineers had during coding) but not by task-independent variables such as general resilience or a good work-life balance. Additionally, we found that satisfaction and autonomy were significantly higher when software engineers were helping others and lower when they were bugfixing. Also, contrary to anecdotal evidence, software engineers' satisfaction and productivity during meetings is not lower compared to other tasks. Finally, we discuss implications for software engineers, management, and researchers. read more

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