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Pandemic Programming: How COVID-19 affects software developers and how their organizations can help

by   Paul Ralph, et al.
KAIST 수리과학과
The University of Adelaide
University of Bari Aldo Moro
Design and Development by:
Monash University
Nara Institute of Science and Technology
New York Institute of Technology
Peking University
Göteborgs universitet
Dalhousie University
Delft University of Technology

Context. As a novel coronavirus swept the world in early 2020, thousands of software developers began working from home. Many did so on short notice, under difficult and stressful conditions. Objective. This paper seeks to understand the effects of the pandemic on developers' wellbeing and productivity. Method. A questionnaire survey was created mainly from existing, validated scales. The questionnaire ran in 12 languages, with region-specific advertising strategies. The data was analyzed using non-parametric inferential statistics and structural equation modeling. Results. The questionnaire received 2225 usable responses from 53 countries. Factor analysis supported the validity of the scales and the structural model achieved a good fit (CFI = 0.961, RMSEA = 0.051, SRMR = 0.067). Findings include: (1) developers' wellbeing and productivity are suffering; (2) productivity and wellbeing are closely related; (3) disaster preparedness, fear related to the pandemic and home office ergonomics all affect wellbeing or productivity; (4) women, parents and people with disabilities may be disproportionately affected. Conclusions. To improve employee productivity, software companies should focus on maximizing employee wellbeing and improving the ergonomics of employees' home offices. Women, parents and disabled persons may require extra support.


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