ABSL Partner’s Material – Nowy Styl Group: What do programmers want?

Battle for talents is the everyday reality of many organizations in Poland. On the one hand, it is a big challenge for companies that need to develop, but on the other, the “employee’s market” has had a positive impact too. It has prompted us to take a close look at the work environment in which we operate every day.

The change is particularly visible in the IT industry, which is rapidly growing in Poland. The sector has become a kind of precursor to changes in the work environment, and employers from other industries can learn from IT about effective solutions to challenges brought by employee’s market.

A variety of myths and office legends have grown up around programmers. They are perceived as very demanding, even capricious employees, with expectations that are impossible to meet. Every legend has a bit of truth in it, but people hardly ever ask themselves how much, in fact, does it have to do with reality? The research report “What do programmers want?” prepared by the Nowy Styl Group, shows the picture of a modern software developer and his or her expectations of the office and the employer.

Attractiveness of the employer

Why is an IT company perceived as an attractive employer? Results of the research show that aspects related to organizational culture and atmosphere are rated very highly. The largest percentage of respondents (96%) indicated good atmosphere in the team as one of the most important factors determining a company’s attractiveness. Programmers like it when their work is based on partnership: within their team, with people helping each other out and feeling responsible for the outcome of joint work, and with their boss, who trusts his or her people and allows them to co–decide about the project. Rewarding pay came second (with 93% responses). Equally important are work flexibility – the time and place of performing tasks (91%), working with new technologies (91%) and taking part in innovative projects (89%).

Satisfaction with the present office

In interviews conducted for the study, programmers attached great weight to office space. This indicates a growing awareness of the importance of the office for work efficiency and employee satisfaction. Looking at the overall results of the study, we note that programmers are satisfied (or fairly satisfied) with their current office (65% of responses). This may have to do with the general situation on the IT job market. Due to the high demand for IT employees, companies have started to perceive the office as one of the elements of building a positive image of the employer. Their work spaces are usually better arranged as compared to typical offices of companies in other sectors, and employees are provided with additional equipment to improve their work comfort.

How do programmers work?

It is quite a challenge to arrange a work environment that will increase employee efficiency and satisfaction. It is essential to become aware of the specific nature of the work and needs of an IT specialist. Looking at it in simple terms, a developer’s work relies largely on long periods of concentrated work interspersed with short moments of communication.  They spend less time doing simple administrative tasks such as e-mail correspondence and short phone calls than employees in other sectors.

An IT office is arranged around ergonomic, user-adaptable workstations. Height adjustable desks, allowing work in both sitting and standing position, are an increasingly common sight in Polish offices. Solutions of this kind also permit the user to adjust desk height to their individual needs, eg. to their height. A work station is made complete with an ergonomic chair that utilises modern mechanisms to adjust its parameters such as seat height and depth, backrest counter-pressure, armrest height and position and so on to the posture of the individual employee.

A software developer’s work also involves attending various types of meetings and standups. An efficiently arranged office space should offer multiple spaces for cooperation and communication. In addition to formal meeting areas, informal zones where employees can discuss projects or integrate with colleagues are gaining popularity.

The results of research carried out as part of the “ What do programmers want?” project can be a hint for all those responsible for building a working environment in their companies: executive managers, HR departments and everyone else with a real influence on the shape of the organization.

An ideal office for a ­programmer:

  • Space that allows both focused work and active rest among collaborators
  • working spaces dedicated to­ specific teams working on ­a­ joint project
  • a well-lit workstation that allows you to­ adjust the level of sunlight and the lighting of the monitor, equipped with a­ wide desk (160 cm) with two, preferably three monitors and an ergonomic chair that can accommodate even the most demanding worker
  • space for work in focus, where one can get away from the eyes and voice of collaborators
  • a well-equipped kitchen that is able to­ accommodate all members of a ­given team during a meal, allowing them to­ have off-the-project conversations
  • a green environment that inspires and lets your mind rest, motivating you to­ work while not disturbing you with its presence
  • Dedicated spaces, separate for leisure and entertainment: a space that integrates employees, allowing you to­ forget for a­ moment about your responsibilities
  • A­ space that allows employees to meet regularly, adapted to­ their size and variety of needs


Click here to­ see a­ virtual walk around a­ perfect office for IT employees.