Rollbar Survey Says Nearly Half of Developers Are Ready to Return to the Office

Vast Majority of Developers Are Eager for Face-to-Face Collaboration with Colleagues

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Research from Rollbar, the leading continuous code improvement platform, shows that 41% of developers want to go back to the office when it is safe to do so. And more than three-fourths of developers said that face-to-face collaboration with colleagues is what they miss the most about the in-office work dynamic.

“We just passed the one-year anniversary of sending employees home to work remotely as a safety measure. What many thought might be temporary has turned into a long-term situation,” said Brian Rue, CEO and co-founder at Rollbar. “Our research shows that some developers have struggled with remote work while others have thrived. But nearly half said that they are ready to head back to the office. Those who have grappled with isolation, and balancing work and home life, are especially keen to return to shared workspaces.”

This research from Rollbar is based on a national survey of 950 developers and engineers, which was conducted by Propeller Insights, an independent survey research firm. Propeller Insights uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies to measure and analyze marketplace and consumer opinions. Survey responses were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region and ethnicity.

More Than Three-Fourths of Developers Said That COVID-19 Significantly Impacted Their Jobs

The vast majority of developers (77%) said that the pandemic has impacted their jobs, and younger developers were more likely to hold this belief than their older colleagues.

Ninety percent of Gen Z developers said that COVID-19 impacted their jobs. A far smaller share, but still a majority, of Boomers (52%) said that their jobs have been affected by the pandemic.

The research indicates that the No. 1 way the pandemic has impacted developer jobs is that it has increased demand for software, requiring developers to spend more time monitoring for and fixing bugs. Nearly a fourth (23%) of the developer survey group cited this challenge. An even higher share (28%) of millennials and Gen Xers noted this time drain during COVID-19.

The Vast Majority of Developers Yearn for Face-to-Face Collaboration with Colleagues

The No. 1 activity that developers said they miss the most is collaborating with their team members face to face. A whopping 78% of developers expressed this sentiment.

The desire for face-to-face collaboration was consistent across all age groups and geographies.

“Coding is a team sport,” said Cory Virok, CTO and co-founder at Rollbar. “It is easier to get someone to review or talk through code in person – you can also whiteboard. This is harder to do spontaneously and over a videoconferencing connection while working from home. The situation is similar when it comes to fixing bugs. Developers want to run through their thought processes in person. It’s always easier to do this in the office than on Zoom.”

At Least a Fifth Said Remote Work Led to Struggles With Work-Life Balance, Elevated Stress

Dealing with stress and striking the right work-life balance has also been challenging for a significant share of developers. A fifth said they are more stressed at work because they have a smaller team, while slightly more than a fifth (22%) said they have less work-life balance.

While 20% said that their hours have been reduced during the pandemic, nearly as many (18%) said that they have been on call for more hours each day, week or month since COVID-19 hit.

Close to a fifth (17%) said their budgets have been slashed. Slashed budgets were most pronounced in the Midwest, where nearly a fourth (23%) of developers noted this challenge.

Developers Clearly Have Mixed Feelings About Remote Work

Working remotely was a new experience for nearly half (48%) of developers. More than a third of developers (34%) said they love it and want to continue working remotely after the pandemic.

This could be good news for businesses that are looking to hire developers, which can be a challenge. As Mary Lee Olsen, head of talent at Rollbar, explained: “Hiring remote developers allows companies to expand their talent pool – not just to new cities, but also into new countries. But when hiring outside of your home country, you need good recruiting agencies. In-country agencies already have a strong network of talent that companies can quickly leverage. Try working with only two agencies per country. That way, you can build a strong working relationship with each agency, and the agencies can recruit the developer profiles you seek.”

However, as the Rollbar research indicates, remote work isn’t for everybody. As noted earlier, an even greater share (41%) want to go back to the office when it is safe to do so. Nearly a fifth (19%) said that remote work has adversely impacted their mental health, and a tenth of developers said that remote work has had negative consequences on their family life.

Younger developers were more likely to want to go back to the office than older developers. Geography may also play a role in developer views about remote work. Nearly half (49%) of developers in the Northeast said they are ready to go back into the office. A much lower, but still significant, share of developers in the South (37%) expressed a desire to return to office life.

To learn more about this Rollbar research, download The 2021 State of Software Code Report.

Rollbar has helped more than 5,000 customers and 23,000 paid users process more than 40 billion errors – resulting in a 9x increase in releases per year. The Continuous Code Improvement Platform has been a game changer for Rollbar customers. With Rollbar, customers are able to resolve errors within minutes, significantly increasing team productivity. Rollbar recently announced AI-assisted workflows powered by its new automation-grade grouping engine. This enables developers to spend less time monitoring, investigating and debugging, and more time creating new products and features that will delight their customers.

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About Rollbar

Rollbar helps developers deploy better software, faster, with solutions that identify, prioritize and resolve coding errors. Rollbar works alongside a development team's existing tool chain to give greater coverage and insights into broken code, across the development lifecycle. Used by thousands of companies, such as Salesforce, Twilio, Twitch, and Affirm, Rollbar has won accolades for its ability to accelerate release cycles, reduce costs and improve software quality. Learn more at or follow us @Rollbar.


Sara Black for Rollbar

Release Summary

Research from Rollbar shows that 41% of developers want to go back to the office when it is safe to do so.


Sara Black for Rollbar