5 ways to improve mental health for software developers

5 ways to improve mental health for software developers

With World Mental Health Day just behind us, I thought about how the tech industry can be a difficult place to stay mentally well. Working remotely, especially under unprecedented circumstances, can make a difficult situation worse. I have worked remotely in technology for over a decade, and I’ll share my tips for how fast-paced technical startups can take good care of their software development talent.

Software development at its best is a creative endeavor. Developers need a certain level of comfort to be able to produce quality work. Boring tasks, noisy offices and too many meetings can impact productivity even in the best of times.

However, health is something more fundamental, almost on the lowest level of the hierarchy of needs, which includes mental health. Software developers need their brains in good shape to do the work that they do, and sometimes when things aren’t going well, we can see it in our colleague’s code before the real problem is even communicated.

The distributed nature of remote startup teams makes this more difficult. When you work remotely, the features of the office that can help you to support your team’s well-being are missing. Not only the free fruit and coffee or the bean bags; it can also be harder to notice when a colleague is having a hard time. When we aren’t in the same place, it’s harder to spot who is coming in late, leaving early or just seems a bit … flat.