How to Tell if a Software Developer is Overworked

Mark Koschmeder
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Software development is a painstaking, detail-oriented process, and it is crucial that your employees are on their game; even a small mistake can be costly, both in terms of time and money. By watching out for the signs that your software developers are overworked, you can intervene early and head off issues before they become serious problems.

When it comes to spotting signs of overwork in your software developers, observation is key. When an employee suddenly starts behaving differently, it should be an immediate red flag. One of the biggest signs, according to Forbes magazine, is an employee suddenly experiencing a drop in productivity or quality. When a developer has too much work, he may start making uncharacteristic mistakes in coding. Keep an eye out, in particular, for the sudden appearance of elementary errors; if your developer starts missing basic tags or forgetting to comment his work, it can indicate that his attention is being pulled in too many directions at once.

For software developers, it is common to work on multiple projects at once. When one of your developers starts to feel like his workload is out of control, stress can manifest in multiple ways. For some employees, it becomes easier to call in sick than to deal with an outsized workload. For others, the stress actually causes illness. In most cases, a sudden spike in sick days from an otherwise reliable developer should merit further investigation.

The process of developing new software programs requires careful time management and collaboration with other departments. To be successful, software developers must stay in communication and manage a variety of deadlines. When one of your developers starts to miss deadlines, it can indicate that he has too many responsibilities to manage at once. Another sign is a change in behavior toward other employees. If an otherwise mild-mannered, professional developer starts arguing with graphic designers or getting into tiffs with engineers, it can mean that the pressure is too high.

For many overworked employees, it is impossible to maintain a positive attitude. When one of your software developers begins to show signs of negativity, pay attention; it may point to high stress levels. Negative comments and grumbling are a significant warning sign, though the content of the comments may have nothing to do with the workload. Instead, the developer might grumble about the lack of feedback on a project, a client's lack of understanding about coding, or other team members. They may find a measure of relief in verbally expressing stress.

Overworked employees should not be taken lightly; over time, high stress can lead to high turnover rates and a decreased quality of work. By keeping tabs on your software developers, you can ensure that they are happy and challenged without being overwhelmed.

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