Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, software engineers’ daily life was disrupted and abruptly forced into remote working from home. This change deeply impacted typical working routines, affecting both well-being and productivity.
Moreover, this pandemic will have long-lasting effects in the software industry, with several tech companies allowing their employees to work from home indefinitely if they wish to do so.
Therefore, it is crucial to analyze and understand how a typical working day looks like when working from home and how individual activities affect software developers’ well-being and productivity. We performed a two-wave longitudinal study involving almost 200 globally carefully selected software professionals, inferring daily activities with perceived well-being, productivity, and other relevant psychological and social variables.
Results suggest that the time software engineers spent doing specific activities from home was similar to when working in the office.
However, we also found some significant mean differences. The number of time developers spent on each activity was unrelated to their well-being, perceived productivity, and other variables.
We conclude that working remotely is not per se a challenge for organizations or developers.
How COVID-19 has accelerated software development?
Unlike most other sectors, the software industry has weathered the COVID-19 storm reasonably well. While stay-at-home restrictions and business closures have devastated industries that rely on physical services and in-person customers (namely hospitality, arts and tourism), tech businesses appear to be emerging from the crisis relatively unscathed. In fact, with the coronavirus increasing our daily screen time by a third, and speeding up businesses adoption of digital technologies by several years, the events of the pandemic have led some facets of the software industry to perform better than they were previously. But why and how has this been made possible?
As the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out throughout the UK and new post-COVID dawn appears somewhere on the horizon, we believe now is an excellent time to reflect on how the unique circumstances of the past year have contributed to the boom in software development. From the switch to remote working to a greater need for innovative, digitally-driven solutions, in this article, we’ll explore five different ways that COVID-19 has accelerated software development, before taking a look at what might be next for the software industry. But first, what is digital transformation, and why are businesses turning to it in their time of need?
COVID-19 AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
As defined by The Enterprisers Project, digital transformation is “the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business”, which fundamentally changes the way businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. The four primary areas of digital transformation include technology, data, process, and organisational change, with each domain relying on the other to help businesses establish themselves within the digital economy.
By scaling back manual practices and recognising the strategic importance of technology, businesses owners are better able to streamline their operations and respond to issues more effectively. While this shift has been taking place since the late 1990s, the events of the coronavirus pandemic have rapidly sped up its adoption, with a survey by Software AG revealing that almost all businesses worldwide have undergone some type of digital transformation project in the last year. Stay-at-home measures have only reinforced the importance of technical infrastructure, and as we move into the future, it’s likely that businesses will only depend on these tools more.
So, with digital transformation fundamentally changing the way that business is being done, and providing SMEs with immeasurable opportunities for growth, it’s essential to look at what industries it depends upon. Additionally, while many tech-focused industries support the rise of digital mediation, it’s safe to say that it couldn’t be made possible without one vital activity – software development.