University of Oulu

Maëlick Claes, Mika V. Mäntylä, Miikka Kuutila, and Bram Adams. 2018. Do programmers work at night or during the weekend?. In Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 705-715. DOI:

Do programmers work at night or during the weekend?

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Author: Claes, Maëlick1; Mäntylä, Mika V.1; Kuutila, Miikka1;
Organizations: 1M3S, ITEE, University of Oulu, Finland
2MCIS, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-01-04


Abnormal working hours can reduce work health, general well-being, and productivity, independent from a profession. To inform future approaches for automatic stress and overload detection, this paper establishes empirically collected measures of the work patterns of software engineers. To this aim, we perform the first large-scale study of software engineers’ working hours by investigating the time stamps of commit activities of 86 large open source software projects, both containing hired and volunteer developers. We find that two thirds of software engineers mainly follow typical office hours, empirically established to be from 10h to 18h, and do not usually work during nights and weekends. Large variations between projects and individuals exist. Surprisingly, we found no support that project maturation would decrease abnormal working hours. In the Firefox case study, we found that hired developers work more during office hours while seniority, either in terms of number of commits or job status, did not impact working hours. We conclude that the use of working hours or timestamps of work products for stress detection requires establishing baselines at the level of individuals.

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ISBN: 978-1-4503-5638-1
Pages: 705 - 715
DOI: 10.1145/3180155.3180193
Host publication: ICSE '18 Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering
Conference: International Conference on Software Engineering
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The first three authors have been supported by Academy of Finland grant 298020. The third author has been supported by Kaute foundation
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 298020
Detailed Information: 298020 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE '18). DOI: