Half of developers still at screens even during breaks

Going for a walk: Good. Doomscrolling: Bad

What are your peers doing to stave off burnout? Research from Stack Overflow suggests about half of developers are still spending their breaks in front of a screen.

The Q&A programming resource surveyed 800 devs, and found most of the top five things they do when they need a break involve screens: listening to music (46 percent), visiting Stack Overflow (41 percent), browsing social media (37 percent), and watching videos (36 percent).

Actually talking with fellow humans did not make the top five, and 4 percent of respondents had some other outlet for stress (possibly angrily banging some really terse comments into the source).

Unsurprisingly, another of the takeaways from the survey was that the happiest developers had an employer that encouraged wellness, both physical and mental.

Sixty-two percent of respondents' employers encouraged physical and mental wellness at work, and 75 percent of developers who described themselves as "happy" had just that type of employer. Alas, those figures mean that 38 percent of employers were not.

So, how should one relieve stress?

Physical exercise is a good solution and half of those polled took a walk or did some other activity when a break was required.

"It's one thing for an employer to encourage wellness; it's another for people to actually change habits to achieve their own wellness," noted the Stack Overflow team. Eighty-eight percent of developers surveyed were interested in improving their physical wellness, while 83 percent wanted improvement in their mental wellness.

However, there is a difference between wanting improvement and actually taking steps to do so. After all, there are a good few gyms that seem to have business models based on users signing up and then never troubling a treadmill again.

As for the developers quizzed, 57 percent were trying to improve their wellness by simply drinking more water or improving their diet. Slightly fewer were prioritizing exercise while others intended to socialize with friends and family.

Stack Overflow cited research showing that two out of five workers (of more than 32,000 surveyed between January and September 2021) showed a high risk of burnout. Sixty-two percent felt physically and emotionally drained, while 42 percent were considering quitting.

"Preventing burnout in a fast-paced industry is always going to be challenging," observed the team. Employers can encourage workers to take breaks and prioritize wellness, but with more than a third of developers spending their breaks scrolling through social media, avoiding burnout means more stepping back from the keyboard is needed.

A trio of boffins last year advised software developers to partake in mindful breathing to ameliorate their sense of well-being.

Unsurprisingly, it's not just folk in software that are feeling the squeeze of working long hours under immense pressure: in 2020 nearly one in five infosec pros considered quitting their job due to overwork or burnout. ®

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