How developers are starting to prioritize wellness at work

New data from Stack Overflow has found that despite many employers encouraging employee wellness, not all software developers are following their advice.

A stressed user holds his face in his hands.
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New data from the developer question and answer hub Stack Overflow has identified some of the ways that software developers are starting to prioritize their mental and physical wellbeing while at work.

Earlier this year, Stack Overflow surveyed 800 software developers to see if they are happy at work and what they are doing to maintain or improve their wellbeing, with an 88% majority of those surveyed wanting to improve their physical wellness, and 83% interested in improving their mental wellness.

When asked what they were doing to improve their health and wellbeing, drinking more water (57%), eating a healthy diet (56%) and prioritizing exercise (47%) were the top three answers given by respondents. Additionally, 25% said they were actively reducing the number of hours they worked.

When asked what activities they do to take a break from work, most developers are still racking up their screen time, be it browsing social media (37%), watching videos (36%) or playing games (27%). Exactly half of respondents are getting away from their desks though, with 50% of those surveyed saying they take a walk or get some exercise.

The research also found that while 75% of respondents said their employers encourage physical and mental wellness at work, 60% of those same workers had never taken a mental health day.

This supports findings from developer wellbeing specialist Yerbo’s 2022 State of Burnout in Tech report, where two in five tech workers were identified as at high risk of burnout, with the industry facing a potential crisis if it does not do more to help improve wellness amongst employees.

Burnout has been classified by the World Health Organization as a legitimate mental health problem, that can lead to loss of energy, negativity, and a sense of worthlessness.

David Gibson, senior data analyst at Stack Overflow said that preventing burnout in a fast-paced industry is always going to be challenging. However, by encouraging employees to take regular breaks and prioritizing their personal wellness, the industry can take steps towards ensuring developers are happy and healthy at work.

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