Friday, 13 December 2019

Working overtime

Participant average weekly work hours (StackOverflow, 2019). 
Most people who work on projects will be familiar with being under the pump towards the end of the project when everything is rush-rush-rushing towards delivering before deadline... and avoiding late penalties. Everyone on the team throws all they have at completion, including late nights and weekends, in order to get the job done. 

This project focus applies to many fields, including software development where 100 hour weeks is not uncommon (Heath, 6 August 2019).

We know that prolonged overtime makes us less productive. We know that we start to lose our edge if we try to keep working punishing hours without a break. We know that error rates increase the longer we work. 

With huge hours, we might also assume that people might start to lose job satisfaction, but that doesn't seem to be so, according to the latest StackOverflow (2019) survey of 90,000 developers. The survey appears to find "no significant spike in job dissatisfaction among devs working 60 hours a week, with satisfaction levels not really dropping off until developers hit 80-hour weeks" (Heath, 6 August 2019).

But there might something more going on behind the prima facie apparent high satisfaction with huge hours. It appears that 52% of developers don't average more than 44 hours each week, and in fact 65% of developers work 44 hours each week or fewer (see accompanying image). 

Only 2% of developers work over 70 hours a week, and this tiny group may be skewing the results. Heath (6 August 2019) reports:
Julia Silge, data scientist for Stack Overflow, says a complicating factor in interpreting the data is that "some of the types of developers who work long hours are also among those who earn the most and also have the highest job satisfaction". The Stack Overflow survey found these high earners typically reported being "very or highly satisfied" with their role, as was the case for 77% of senior executives, 70% of engineering managers, 69% of site reliability engineers, 68% of data scientists and 68% of DevOps specialists.
So. Some love the long hours, and their love of their work keeps them engaged. 

It is always wise to cross-tab the data :-) 


Sam


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