Happy developers are more engaged and productive in the organization. They are more creative and less likely to quit.
But, does developer happiness only come from the fair compensation provided to them? While it is one of the key factors, other aspects also contribute to their happiness.
As the times are changing, there has been a shift in developers’ perspective too. From ‘What we do for a Living’, they now believe in ‘How we want to live’. Happiness is now becoming a major driving force in their decision whether to take, stay, or leave a job.
In this blog, let’s delve deeper into developer happiness and ways to improve it in the organization:
What is developer happiness?
In simple words, Developer happiness can be defined as a ‘State of having a positive attitude and outlook on one’s work’.
It is one of the essential elements of organizational success. An increase in developer happiness results in higher engagement and job satisfaction. This gives software developers the freedom to be human and survive and thrive in the organization.
Below are a few benefits of having happy developers in the workplace:
Happy developers have a positive mindset toward their jobs and organization. They are most likely to experiment with new ideas and contribute to creative solutions. They are more likely to take calculated risks and step out of their comfort zone to foster innovation and try new approaches.
Faster problem resolution
Having a positive mindset leads to quicker problem-solving. When software developers are content, they are open to collaboration with other developers and increase communication. This facilitates faster issue resolution, anticipates potential issues, and addresses them before they escalate.
Ownership and accountability
Developer happiness comes from a positive work environment. When they feel valued and happy about their work, they take responsibility for resolving issues promptly and align their work and the company goals. They become accountable for their work and want to give their best. This not only increases their work satisfaction but developer experience as well.
Improves code quality
Happy developers are more likely to pay attention to the details of their code. They ensure that the work is clean and adheres to the best practices. They are more open to and cooperative during code reviews and take feedback as a way to improve and not criticism.
Health and well-being
A positive work environment, supportive team, and job satisfaction result in developer happiness. This reduces their stress and burnout and hence, improves developers’ overall mental and physical well-being.
The above-mentioned points also result in increased developer productivity. In the next section, let’s understand how developer happiness is related to developer productivity.
How developer happiness and developer productivity are related to each other?
According to the Social Market Foundation, Happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees on average.
Developer happiness is closely linked to developer productivity.
Happy developers perform their tasks well. They treat their customers well and take their queries seriously. This results in happy customers as well. These developers are also likely to take fewer sick leaves and work breaks. Hence, showcasing their organization and its work culture in a good picture.
Moreover, software developers find fulfillment in their roles. This increases their enthusiasm and commitment to their work. They wouldn’t mind going the extra mile to achieve project goals and perform their tasks well.
As a result, happy developers are highly motivated and engaged in their work which leads to increased productivity and developer experience.
Three core aspects of developer happiness
Following are the three pillars of developer happiness:
Right tools and technologies
Tools have a huge impact on developer happiness and retention. The latest and most reliable tools save a lot of time and effort. It makes them more effective in their roles and improves their day-to-day tasks. This helps in creating the flow state, comfortable cognitive leads, and feedback loops.
Passionate developer teams
When developers have more control over their roadmaps, it challenges them intellectually and allows them to make meaningful decisions. Having autonomy and a sense of ownership over their work, allows them to deliver efficient and high-quality software products.
Positive engineering culture
The right engineering culture creates space for developers to learn, experiment, and share. It allows them to have an ownership mindset, encourages strong agile practices, and is a foundation for productive and efficient teams that drive the business forward. A positive engineering culture also prioritizes psychological safety.
Ways to boost developer happiness in the workplace
Use relevant tools and technologies
One of the main ways to improve developer happiness is to invest in the right tools and technologies. Experiment with these tools from time to time and monitor the progress of it. If it seems to be the right fit, go ahead with them. However, be cautious to not include every latest tool and technology that comes your way. Use those that you seem are relevant, updated, and compatible with the software. You can also set policies for how someone can obtain new equipment.
The combination of efficient workspace and modern learning tools helps in getting better work from developers. This also increases their productivity and hence, results in developer happiness.
Flexible work arrangement
When developers have control over their working style and work schedules, it gives them a healthy work-life balance. As in changing times, we all are changing our perspective not everyone is meant for 9-5 jobs. The flexibility allows developers to when their productivity is at its peak. This becomes a win-win situation for developer satisfaction and project success.
For team communication and collaboration, particular core hours can be set. I.e. 12 PM – 5 PM. After that, anyone can work at any time of the day. Apart from this, asynchronous communication can also be encouraged to accommodate varied work schedules.
Ensure that there are open communication channels to understand the evolving needs and preferences of the development team.
Keep realistic expectations
Ensure that you don’t get caught up in completing objectives. Understand that you are dealing with human beings. Hence, keep realistic expectations and deadlines from your developers. Know that good software takes time. It includes a lot of planning, effort, energy, and commitment to create meaningful projects. Also, consider their time beyond work as well. By taking note of all of these, set expectations accordingly.
But that’s not all! Ensure that you prioritize quality over quantity. This not only boosts their confidence in skills and abilities but also allows them to be productive and satisfied with their role.
Enable deep focus
Software development job is demanding and requires a lot of undivided focus. Too many meetings or overwork can distract them and lose their focus. The state of flow is important for deep work. If a developer is working from the office, having booths can be helpful. They can isolate themselves and focus deeply on work. If they are working remotely, developers can turn off notifications or set the status as focused time.
Focus time can be as long as two hours to less than half an hour. Make sure that they are taking breaks between these focus sessions. You can make them aware of time management techniques. So, that they know how to manage their time effectively and efficiently.
Promote continuous learning
Software development is an ever-changing field. Hence, developers need to upskill and stay up to date with the latest developments. Have cross-sharing and recorded training sessions so that they are aware of the current trends in the software development industry. You can also provide them with the necessary courses, books, and newsletters.
Apart from this, you can also do task-shifting so they don’t feel their work to be monotonous. Give them time and space to skill up before any new project starts.
Appreciation and recognition
Developers want to know their work counts and feel proud of their job. They want to be seen, valued, heard and understood. To foster a positive work environment, celebrate their achievements. Even a ‘Thankyou’ goes a long way.
Since developers’ jobs are demanding, they have a strong emotional need to be recognized for their accomplishments. They expect genuine appreciation and recognition that match the impact or output. It should be publicly acknowledged.
You can give them credit for their work in daily or weekly group meetings. This increases their job satisfaction, retention, and productivity.
Improves overall well-being
The above-mentioned points help developers improve their physical and mental well-being. It not only helps them in the work front but also their personal lives. When developers aren’t loaded with lots of work, it lets them be more creative in solving problems and decision-making. It also encourages a healthy lifestyle and allows them to have proper sleep.
You can also share mental health resources and therapists’ details with your developers. Besides this, you can have seminars and workshops on how health is important and promote physical activities such as walking, playing outdoor games, swimming, and so on.
Fostering developer happiness is not just a desirable goal, but rather a driving force for an organization’s success. By investing in supportive cultures, effective tools, and learning opportunities, Organizations can empower developers to perform their development tasks well and unleash their full potential.
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