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Published:Dec 28, 2021

How To Boost Developer Happiness at Work (and why it matters)

Did you know that happy employees can be 20% more productive than their less satisfied peers?

When employees are happy, companies thrive. For example, the stock prices of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” increased by 14% over 7 years, compared with the 6% of those that were not on the list.

The Benefits of Happy Employees in Your Development Team

Keeping your development team happy creates a win-win situation:

Increase Job Performance

In a study, subjects made happier by various intervention methods showed an increase in productivity. Meanwhile, less happy subjects were less productive.

An analysis of over 200 scientific studies found that happy employees are more creative, perform tasks more accurately, and demonstrate better analytical and problem-solving abilities.

Improve Employee Retention

As the cost of hiring continues to rise in today’s tight labor market, employee retention has become more important than ever.

Research suggests that satisfied employees are less likely to leave their employers. Plus, the loyalty and relationships grow stronger over time.

Increase Motivation and Resilience

This study found that individuals who are happy at work are more engaged and motivated. They’re more likely to commit the time and effort to exceed expectations.

Meanwhile, an experiment showed that subjects who experienced positive emotions are more capable of overcoming stressful events and adversity.

Lower Costs

Gallup’s global health study found that unhappy employees take more sick leaves, adding up to 15 extra sick days per year compared with their happier counterparts.

Unhappy employees can also increase the costs associated with presenteeism because they’re less focused, productive, and motivated at work.

The Benefits of Happy Employees in Your Development Team

What Does It Mean to be Happy at Work?

You need more than ping pong tables and catered lunch to boost employee happiness.

Harvard Business Review found that close work friendships increase employee satisfaction by 50%. Meanwhile, employees who get support from employers to improve their mental and physical wellbeing are happier.

Although job security and stability contribute to job satisfaction, employees are happiest when given the opportunities to control how they work, apply their skills, and create meaningful outcomes.

In short, freedom and autonomy are the keys to unlocking employee happiness.

By empowering employees to take control of their work, successful companies like Patagonia, Ritz-Carlton, and Shake Shack benefit from increased employee engagement and loyalty.

In fact, micromanagement, the opposite of autonomy, impacts morale and costs businesses $450 billion to $550 billion per year. It diminishes trust team members have in their supervisors, and this can be detrimental to the company culture and lower employee retention rates.

“Freedom” and “autonomy” sound great! But what do they look like when the rubber meets the road? How does it work within the context of a software development team?

You need a way to empower developers to set their goals, choose their schedules, and hold themselves accountable for their outcomes.

What Does Autonomy Look Like For Developers?

Here’s how to foster autonomy in the workplace:

  • Allow team members to make decisions for themselves without running everything by their managers or supervisors. When they feel in control, they become more accountable for their responsibilities.
  • Encourage employees to contribute ideas frequently, and show your appreciation for their contribution. Executing these ideas can help foster innovation and creativity as you boost morale while solving tricky problems.
  • Limit supervision because micromanagement and frequent intervention send the message that you don’t trust your team. This, in turn, impacts their morale and motivation.
  • Empower team members to determine their responsibilities and how to get the job done. For example, by delegating some work, collaborating with others, and choosing their work schedule.

How To Gain Autonomy in the Workplace

Gaining autonomy starts with taking control of your work, assuming the appropriate level of responsibility, and managing your schedule.

As such, you need the ability to accurately determine how long and how much effort each work item will take you. That starts with tracking your time and analyzing the data.

We created 7pace to help developers record and manage their time. You can see where you spend time, how you can make changes to master your skills, and what you can do to improve the quality of your outcomes.

It’s not a time tracking application for paper pushers or micromanagers.

You have complete control over your data, and you can always tap into the insights to help you better manage your work —whether you’re working as a freelancer or for an organization, even when you change jobs.

You can choose to share the relevant information with your supervisor to build trust and make informed decisions about your workload. The software is designed to help you take control of your productivity, focus on what matters, and gain more autonomy at work.

Learn more about 7pace and see how it can help you take control of your happiness at work.

Free eBook

Rethinking Timekeeping for Developers:

Turning a Timesuck Into Time Well Spent

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