In our Interview with Orhun, we chatted briefly about developer burnout, and he shared how he handles burnout. It's such an important subject, we wanted to come back to it.

Orhun begins with identifying that he’s burnt out to begin with, then making sure he is dedicating time to take a break from software and prioritizing time to consume different types of art/media, such as watching a movie, reading a book, and exploring new music.

For programmers who contribute to open source or code in their free time, in addition to coding for their ft job, finding the balance between work and hobby is a blurred line, considering their work is incredibly similar. Understanding code, writing code, debugging and reviewing PRs.

And added pressure from the current state of the economy can also be a contributor, even if you’re focusing all of your programming energy on your FT: layoffs, lean teams, and pressure to perform and stand out in the crowd. It can be hard to justify taking time for yourself when your income is at risk.

What does burnout look like?

So what does burnout even look like? (and feel free to share your signs in this thread - the more we can share our identifications, the more we may be able to help our fellow developers and community members from burnout):

  • fatigue,
  • irritability,
  • stress,
  • insomnia,
  • sense of self-doubt,
  • helplessness,
  • loss of motivation.

These symptoms can also manifest on a micro level: feeling like you can't step away for meals or restroom breaks, can’t take stretch breaks, or where you don’t feel you can go on vacation, day after day after day.

But the benefits of dedicating time to take care of yourself far outweigh the benefits of grinding beyond burnout. Seriously.

What does taking care of yourself look like?

Taking care of yourself can look like:

  • spending time with loved ones,
  • snuggling up with a book,
  • binging the latest show on netflix,
  • spending time with nature,
  • volunteering,
  • staying nourished,
  • exercising, and/or
  • getting 8 hours of sleep.

Employers also have a responsibility, even at times of market uncertainty like this, to give employees the space to recharge. In fact, it is in their best interest to make sure their employees don’t experience burnout because, long-term, it contributes to high churn rates, low productivity, low enthusiasm, lack of creativity, toxic work culture, and, ultimately, unhappy employees.

How can employers support their employees?

Here are only a few ways employers can support their employees:

  • Promoting work life balance - managers, we’re looking at you. Take your vacations, spend time with your family, and make sure your team knows it is ok for them to do the same. Encourage employees to use their earned vacation time.
  • Prioritize workplace wellness: creating spaces for employees to focus on their wellbeing. Whether that be recharge days, or physical spaces in an office for them to unplug.
  • Offer Employee Assistance: financial and retirement resources, gym memberships, mental healthcare.
  • Placing performance expectations and metrics within an employee’s control.
  • Reduce noise and interruptions for your teams by providing them with tools and resources that help them do their work faster and more efficiently.
  • Create goals and enable career growth.
  • Welcome employee feedback and back it up with actions. Use employee feedback to drive your culture roadmap.

How CodeSee prevents employee burnout

At CodeSee, our internal initiatives to prevent employee burnout are:

  • Weekly down downs (our version of wine-downs)
  • A 6 week time off policy
  • Birthday gifts
  • Team activities, like a painting class for the entire organization
  • Holiday events this year we sponsored $300 gift or experience (on us)

Checkin: Are you experiencing burnout?

If you made it this far, have you checked in with yourself?

  • Are you feeling any of these symptoms?
  • How are you taking care of yourself?
  • What initiatives does your employer provide that support you?
  • How can this community support you?