ZenHub Explores Developer Happiness and Productivity
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Developers are happiest and stay at their jobs longer when allowed to focus on building code. This wisdom comes from Zenhub after conducting an in-depth survey aimed at  understanding how developers view their world and what makes them happy and fulfilled in their careers.

More than 8,000 software teams across the world use Zenhub's productivity management platform, which provides automated agile features, real-time roadmap visibility, and team productivity insights, to build better code and ship it faster.

The survey of 380  English-speaking software developers took place in March 2022 and forms the basis of its inaugural Software Developer Happiness Report which provides insights into what software developers look for in their careers, organizational culture, and the tools they use to complete their jobs. Those surveyed work for companies with 500 or fewer employees ranging from startups to ones that have been in business for more than 20 years and across a variety of industries. With developer experience of a couple of years to more than 20 years, all the developers surveyed were experienced with tools that automate developer workflows and projects and improve productivity. 

Top of the report's key findings is: 

  • Good work-life balance encourages developers to stay at their current job for longer periods of time, while poor work-life balance accelerates the hunt for another job.

Given the chronic shortage of technical talent reported by hiring managers increasing developer happiness so that they are not tempted to throw in the towel and look for other opportunities is paramount. Zenhub has guidance based on its research findings and proposes: 

zenhub recs

The top recommendation is to let developers focus on coding. From the survey results Zenhub found strong correlation between job satisfaction and time spent working on working on software design, coding, and debugging. On the other hand time spent on non-coding tasks can get in the way of developer productivity and 44% of developers report spending too much time in formal meetings.

With regard to where they want to work, the survey found that 39% wanted to work entirely in the office, 29% wanted to work entirely remotely while 33% favored hybrid working - a mix of both office and elsewhere with over three quarters of this group preferring to be in the the office 2 to 3 days a week. 

zenhub week

The developers survey were divided about meetings with 44% believing they spend too much time in meetings while 46% believe the amount of time devoted to meetings is about right. When it comes to meeting with their teams, online communication is preferred to in-person meetings.


While meetings are one impediment to developer productivity, waiting for feedback is another and the survey found that 74% of developers experience some delay while waiting for feedback from management or stakeholders and of that 74%, nearly 70%  report losing a minimum of 3 hours per week. Adopting productivity tools is considered a good way to improve communications between management and developers and can also increase increase developers' job satisfaction.

The report, which runs to 78 pages, has many more insights and can be downloaded here:

zenhub reportsq 

More Information

Software Developer Happiness Report 

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On the Unhappiness of Software Developers 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 September 2022 )