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Work Patterns of Software Engineers in the Forced Working-From-Home Mode

by   Darja Smite, et al.

The COVID-19 outbreak has admittedly caused a major disruption worldwide. The interruptions to production, transportation and mobility have clearly had a significant impact on the well-functioning of the global supply and demand chain. But what happened to the companies developing digital services, such as software? Were they interrupted as much or at all? And how has the enforced Working-From-Home (WFH) mode impacted their ability to continue to deliver software. We hear that some managers are concerned that their engineers are not working effectively from home, or even lack the motivation to work in general, that teams lose touch and that managers do not notice when things go wrong. At the same time, some companies, like Twitter and Facebook, announce their permanent remote-work policies. In this article, we share our findings from monitoring the situation in an international software company with engineers located in Sweden, USA and the UK, by analyzing archives of commit data, calendar invites and Slack communication, as well as the internal reports of WFH experiences and 18 interviews. We find that company engineers continue committing code and carry out their daily duties without major disruptions, while their routines have gradually adjusted to the new norm with new emerging practices and various changes to the old ones.


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