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4 Mental Health Tips for Developers Dreading a Return to the Office

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 3 years ago
  • Author: Jon Armstrong

With the end of COVID restrictions in sight, 41% of software engineers are done with the remote-working life and ready to go back to the office… but 34% never want to go back, according to Rollbar.

Coding and bug-fixing is easier when you can talk face to face, and with unprecedented demand for software during COVID, many developers have been feeling the strain. 19% say remote working has affected their mental health.

But for the 34% who love it, the end of remote working could be just as damaging. If you’re in that cohort, here are four tips to help you survive.

1. Communicate

There’s a reason “communication is key” is usually tip 1 in these lists. It’s the first thing you need to do if you’re feeling anxious, uncertain or depressed.

Tell your manager your concerns. Touch base with them often about how you’re feeling and what you’re finding difficult or helpful. Unless your workplace is completely toxic, they will want to know.

Another point to remember is that masks, well, mask our facial expressions. That means you’ll need to use your words with colleagues more than usual.

2. Seek support

Unless you work for a tiny start-up, there will be mental health support available, and again, they will want you to use it. Talk to HR about what’s on offer. Set wellbeing goals with your manager and let them know how they can support you.

If there aren’t any resources available at work, check out the Mind website and the Mental Health Foundation for ways to get support outside work.

3. Look after yourself

In times of upheaval, self-care often gets relegated to an optional extra – but it’s crucial to maintaining mental health. Make time for self-care both at work and at home. This can be as simple as focusing on your breath for a minute, going for a mindful walk, creating a commute playlist, or taking a break to get a warm drink.

4. Focus on the positives

Even if you’d rather be at home, remember there’s still plenty to appreciate about being back in the office. Coding and bug-fixing are team sports that become easier when you can communicate face-to-face. You’ll probably have fewer distractions and clearer boundaries between work and leisure time. And you can always bring some of your favourite home-working routines back to work with you, whether that’s eating a healthy lunch or enjoying a walk.