How to Keep Your Developers Happy and Productive

by | Aug 18, 2022

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic shift in work culture worldwide. Industries have moved (out of necessity) to a work-from-home model that has brought both a surge in production and an increased feeling of work-life balance. However, long-term effects of working from home are starting to re-emerge, and for many companies and employees, the less than desirable aspects are beginning to rear their ugly heads. 

As is typical with fast and dramatic changes, people tend to pendulate while deriving excitement from the new and exciting. For those who relied on an 8-hour office life, an almost obligatory work-from-home statute came as a welcome reprieve. Yet, some companies understand the model may not be sustainable. Why? 

The tech industry has disproportionately fallen victim to this pendulation, and 2021 saw a resignation rate increase of 4.5% compared to 2020. One of the most sought-after niches in the tech industry is developers, so the advice we give in lieu of the Great Resignation is to keep your developers happy. Or conversely, as a developer, understand how to find fulfillment and content in your job role. 

In a fast-changing industry with new job opportunities cropping up at every turn, it is crucial for both employers and developers to understand the value they are each looking for. In this article, we share from our research some of the best ways to maintain happiness and productivity as a developer. 

Feeling Productive

In a well-being survey done by Stackoverflow of 350 developers working hard in the industry, they found the number one source of unhappiness was feeling unproductive at work (45%). There are plenty of layers to this, but the main takeaway is to determine a way to foster a sense of productivity in the projects and work culture. Strategies for this range from things as simple as designing and implementing “checklist” systems with bite-size tasks, all the way to ensuring that projects have a deeper meaning and sense of fulfillment. 

The environment is also an essential aspect of feeling productive. If developers cannot get into a groove, their productivity will suffer. Setting a distraction-free environment can create a sense of flow and lead to increased productivity and quality of results. So with that in mind, let’s talk about setting the environment. 

Environment and Setting

While some industries seem to be struggling with the work-from-home model, it could be for more inconclusive reasons. It is easy to believe that working from home is the main problem, but in the same survey by Stackoverflow, 45% of developers expressed that their home was the ideal work environment. This was compared to the 27% that said the office was the best. So the question is, how do we create an environment most conducive to productivity and happiness? Luckily, we have some tips for this as well. 

Windows and Natural Light

Research shows that the work-from-home model works best when there is adequate natural light in the home office. Having enough natural light has been shown to improve our mood and overall well-being, leading to increased productivity when working from home. This holds even more importance for environments with long, dark winters where natural light is even more important. Natural light during the day also results in healthier and deeper sleep during the night, which is vital for instilling a productive work ethic and avoiding burnout. 


Creating an environment that allows silence is important for many developers. While it may have seemed like a great idea at first for many people to work from home with the kids, the novelty for many quickly wore off when they saw a noisy environment leading to a drop in productivity. Strategies include setting boundaries with family/friends, getting noise cancellation headphones, listening to relaxing music, and removing any unnecessary “sound-making devices” from your workspace. 

Plants and Cleanliness 

Keeping your workspace clean is essential for keeping motivation high. Studies and surveys have shown that when your workspace is clean and aesthetically pleasing, productivity goes up. Adding in some plants can bring a silent sense of calm, energizing color palettes, and air filtering capacities your lungs will thank you for later. 

Designing Work Culture

Work culture is a broad topic, but aspects of it can be designed into a home office environment to ensure morale stays high. Working from home should not replace a work culture but amplify it. Many developers who feel disconnected from their company or work often suffer a loss of contentment. 

Connecting with Other Developers

Learning from other developers fosters a connection and an opportunity for growth. Productivity often goes down when a sense of “stagnancy” sets in, and having opportunities to connect and learn from others in your field can be a firestarter. A proactive work culture should promote connection and learning through weekly gatherings, team-building events, or peer-to-peer challenges.  

Providing Career Progression

Everybody wants to feel valued in their roles, so incentives and progression are vital in ensuring a healthy work culture. Companies should seek to provide career progression, and developers in a rut should seek it out. Hiring a talented developer is only the beginning of a quickly evolving industry. If you want to keep them, it’s essential to ensure they feel valued, challenged, and able to achieve more. 

Flexible Work Arrangements

As employees began to move remote, there was a transition period where people had to set and follow schedules without anyone breathing down their necks. Some found immense satisfaction, while others struggled to keep a routine without accountability. The overall lesson is that everyone functions differently, and providing employees (or yourself) with a flexible work arrangement can pay off. Each person can discover and experiment with what works for them. For developers, being in a “flow state” is often crucial for working solidly. Some may achieve this state easier in the morning, while other night owls might not be able to tap into it until the early morning hours. Having the option to find and maximize personal habits often results in higher productivity. 


As an employee, keeping your developer happy will ensure their work is of the highest quality. As a developer, delivering high-quality work is often a byproduct of ensuring you are fulfilled and comfortable in your role. Regardless of how you look at it, there needs to be a focus on productivity when looking at a work-from-home model.

Written By Cam@MagicMondayz

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