Most software engineers do work from home, with 86% now working remotely all of the time. The number of software engineers working remotely has skyrocketed since the pandemic and at least two-thirds of developers want it to stay this way going forward. The work-from-home culture is here to stay and is thriving throughout the development community.
The tech industry was an early adopter of work-from-home. Many employees would do it at least once or twice a week and 19% worked remotely all of the time. However, the pandemic propelled this even further and more people became used to working remotely 100% of the time. After releasing the amount of time and money you save, many developers don’t want to go back to work every day.
Working from home is a trend that is sweeping the globe and in the U.S. 4.7 million employees now report working from home at least 50% of the time, and 70% of full-time workers occasionally work remotely.
Let’s explore working from home as a software engineer, look at how many developers are doing it, and why it has become so popular.
Can software engineers work from home?
Software engineers can work from home and 86% of developers work 100% remotely. The number of developers working remotely has exploded in the past few years with only 19% working full remote before 2020. The trend of software engineers working from home is here to stay and has become a driving motivation behind job choices.
Working from your laptop has always had major benefits in terms of being location-independent. However, it was usually the attitudes of the business that prevented people from working at home more often. The pandemic forced businesses’ hands and everyone realized that productivity didn’t take a hit. In fact, most people report feeling more productive at home and companies have been reaping the rewards.
Returning to the office has become a point of contention in many offices. Software developers are rightly arguing that there is no need to be in the office every day. Some recruiters are even poaching talent from companies that are enforcing mandatory office work.
Working from home is here to stay
The reality is that software engineers working from home are here to stay, the tide has now turned in their favor. Around a third of developers want to work remotely all of the time while 71% want a hybrid of home and office work.
Arguably, the most telling statistic is that one in three developers would quit their jobs if they were no longer allowed to work from home – with a further 18% still undecided. It’s a massive change in attitudes that companies are going to have to accommodate if they want to keep their employees happy.
Only a quarter of companies globally are fully remote, so there is still some work to do. But after working remotely for two years people have more than proven it can be done with little negative impact. A lot of companies are now beginning to post record profits after a long period of remote working, so it’s proof being stuck at a desk doesn’t correlate to a well-functioning team.
It also appears that many organizations handled the shift to remote work effectively—74% of engineers say their companies adapted well to remote work. Due to these positive results, 76% of engineers would be happy working fully remotely most of the time or more.
Returning to work
A lot of companies have taken a staggered approach to returning to the office. Some people don’t feel comfortable going back into a crowded office for health reasons, while others are just enjoying the extra time and money they save. Commuting costs a lot so being able to avoid it is great for the wallet.
Most people working at home have returned to the office with 73% going in at least once a week. For most knowledge workers, not just those in software development, one or two days a week seems to be the preferred dose. Nearly 80% of people say they feel more included at the office, so it’s no surprise people want some human interaction.
It’s important to note that 57% of developers prefer working from home full-time so it’s likely companies will have to accommodate this moving forward.
Why do software engineers work from home?
Software engineers work from home because it saves time and money, increases productivity, and improves overall happiness. 76% of software engineers now want to work from home permanently. The pandemic has illustrated to many developers that there isn’t a need to go into the office every day to effectively function as a team.
The desire to work from home isn’t complex. For most people, it saves an incredible amount of money while allowing them to spend more time with their loved ones. But let’s take a closer look at the main reasons why software engineers work from home.
The resistance to working from home by management was based on the assumption that people would be less productive. The fear was that no work would get done and people wouldn’t deliver as expected. However, the opposite has been true. 90% of workers believe they are as productive or more when working remotely.
No office means less chatting with colleagues and wasting time in meetings. It means fewer people stopping by to ask random questions or interrupt your flow. Businesses have reaped the rewards. Profit margins for U.S. companies are at levels not seen since the 1950s. Programmers and other workers have been providing incredible value to companies that are seeing the difference in their bottom line.
Commuting is stressful. You either have to take public transport to keep costs low or navigate hours of traffic on the road. By the time you arrive at the office, your temper may have already flared a few times on the way in.
It is no surprise that 84% of employees state that working remotely long-term will make them happier, with many willing to take a pay cut. People have begun to realize that earning slightly more money just isn’t worth the hassle of going in every day.
Time & money
The amount of time and money you save working from home is just incredible. Gone are the one or two-hour commutes that cost a fortune. You can forget gas for your car or money for the train. Instead, you can open your laptop a few minutes before work and get going – the difference is remarkable.
People have so much more access to their own lives. It’s easier to take up hobbies or see friends midweek when you have an extra couple of her per day to spare. For the money-conscious, the ability to stash their cash rather than spend it on transportation has been transformational.
The average American will spend anywhere between $2000 and $5000 per annum of commuting. Working from home puts the money straight back into your pocket.
Do a lot of software developers work from home?
A majority of software developers now work from home. Nearly 90% of software engineers are fully remote or at least on a hybrid working schedule. Going forward at least three-quarters of developers want to work from home most of the time. The transformation has been thick and fast but working from home is thankfully here to stay.
Working from home was prevalent in the software community before the pandemic with around 20% working remotely. However, since 2020 this number has more than quadrupled. Development is similar to other engineering disciplines and knowledge work, there has been a general trend in people resisting the workplace full-time. Many have taken a stand against their employers and only want to come in on a needs-must basis.
It’s been a different story for trade jobs and other industries where working from home isn’t possible. As knowledge workers continue to be able to work from anywhere, unfortunately, other sectors haven’t been so lucky.
Thankfully for many industries, the trend of working from home is only going to increase, as is the ability to travel while working.
What are the problems with software engineers working from home?
Working from home is, without doubt, a net positive for both employee and employer. It makes workers happier and improves overall productivity. However, nothing is perfect and it does come with its own set of challenges.
The problem with software engineers working from home include:
- Loneliness – working from home all the time can lead to loneliness due to lack of interaction. The small water cooler conversations each day and collaborating with your team help to build a sense of belonging.
- Culture – it is hard to build a team or company culture when nobody gets to know each other or meets up. Culture is bit by experience and if nobody is interacting face to face it can be a serious issue.
- Team building – you’ll work closely with people even when you work from home. However, team building is very difficult to do remotely. There are only so many quizzes you can play or online activities to do. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned off-site activity paid for by the business to bring people together.
- Career development – around 30% of software engineers worry that working from home decreases their visibility within the business which can hurt progression. However, it’s yet to be seen whether this is the case, and software engineers still get promoted a lot.
- Working overtime – it’s been widely reported that stepping away from your computer at finishing time is something people struggle to do when working from home. Software engineers already work a lot of overtime and it’s potentially exacerbated by the inability to just leave the office.
Nathan Britten, the founder and editor of Developer Pitstop, is a self-taught software engineer with nearly five years of experience in front-end technologies. Nathan created the site to provide simple, straightforward knowledge to those interested in technology, helping them navigate the industry and better understand their day-to-day roles.