Four in 10 software engineers wish to return to the office once it's safe to do so, according to data released by software company Rollbar on Thursday. The survey consulted 950 U.S.-based software developers and engineers.
By contrast, over one-third (34%) of developers prefer to continue working remotely after the pandemic subsides. Despite the difference in workplace preference, a majority of developers (78%) still misses face-to-face collaboration with their teammates.
"Those who have grappled with isolation, and balancing work and home life, are especially keen to return to shared workspaces," said Brian Rue, CEO and co-founder at Rollbar, in a release accompanying the findings.
Though employers are taking a cautious approach to policy changes, the CDC update loosening restrictions for fully vaccinated adults could have implications for how companies envision the next stage of work.
Many companies have spent months preparing for office re-openings. Prior to the update, HR professionals already expected about half of the workforce to want a return to the office some of the time once a vaccine was made widely available, according to Gartner data.
The next step is to enable an equal experience between in-office and remote workers. Companies embracing hybrid work had previously focused on enabling collaboration between employees to make them as effective in their day-to-day work as possible, according to Stuart Downes, senior director analyst at Gartner.
To support software developers, leaders need to enable effective interaction with code repositories and participation in Agile teams regardless of specific locations, said Downes.
"The problem and the challenge is they don't know where users will be," said Downes. To manage flexibility, companies must use a range of cloud-hosted collaboration tool sets and ensure clear policies around how work will be performed.
The onus is on employers to support hybrid work, if they want to meet employee desires. It's a response to employee preference: Nearly six in 10 knowledge workers said their psychological well-being improves under hybrid work arrangements, according to a Salesforce report.
Amid a tightening tech labor market, an upper-hand awaits companies that can successfully operate under a hybrid work model. Half of companies have already done away with or loosened location requirements from job postings, opening up the roles to more candidates.
"The big challenge for organizations is: How do you end up with a level playing field?" said Downes. "How do you design the environments in such a way that you don't end up with disadvantaged participants in any collaboration activity?"