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Software Engineer Work-Life Balance: What You Should Know

Software engineering is an excellent profession with high job satisfaction and great work-life balance. Having a healthy work-life balance is essential for professional success in the field. Without it, engineers can quickly become overwhelmed by their workloads and burn out before they reach their full potential.

This article will discuss what software engineer work-life balance looks like and how to achieve it. We’ll also explore some of the benefits of achieving such balance, including improved productivity, better relationships with colleagues, and fewer stress levels overall. With this information in hand, readers should be equipped to make meaningful changes in their lives so they can enjoy greater job satisfaction from day to day.

What Is the Definition of Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance is an important concept in our busy lives. It refers to the ability to manage the workload and obligations of our professional lives while still making time to enjoy the activities and interests that bring us joy and satisfaction in our personal lives.

Achieving a healthy work-life balance means ensuring that work and responsibilities do not consume all of one’s time, leaving little or no room for leisurely pursuits.

On the flip side, it is also important to recognize when one’s job has become too demanding, encroaching on personal life to the point of burnout and stress.

Properly balancing work and life requires both discipline and intentionality so that one can live a full life without sacrificing enjoyment or success.

How Is the Work-Life Balance for Software Engineers?

Let’s start by stating that work-life balance in the software engineering world varies highly depending on the company. That said, software engineers usually enjoy excellent work-life balance.

From good working hours to great employee benefits and perks, software engineers have everything they need to lead a satisfying and unburdening lifestyle.

Let’s review some points that make software engineering one of the least stressful tech careers.

1. Stress Levels Are Usually Low

Generally speaking, the role of a software engineer is not overly demanding or stressful.

The nature of the job and level of responsibility can vary greatly depending on the organization and position, but engineers usually enjoy quite reasonable working hours and a relaxed atmosphere.

Plus, software engineers are often allowed to work remotely, allowing them to further reduce stress and find more balance in their lives.

2. Flexible Working Hours

Software engineers have the luxury of flexible hours.

In most cases, engineers have the freedom to choose when and how they work, as long as their tasks are completed in a timely manner.

This flexibility allows software engineers to determine their own work-life balance and find the perfect equilibrium between work and personal life.

3. A Variety of Interesting Projects

Software engineering is an evolving field, and it’s common for engineers to jump between different projects and roles.

This can help keep things interesting, and it also means that engineers can take on tasks that are more fulfilling and enjoyable, making software engineering anything but boring!

This variety of work can help maintain a healthy work-life balance, as engineers don’t get stuck working on the same mundane tasks for too long.

4. Great Pay and Benefits

Finally, it’s no surprise that software engineers are paid well for their work.

In addition to competitive salaries, many companies offer additional benefits such as flexible working hours, generous vacation allowances, and even unlimited sick days.

These benefits can help reduce stress levels and make it even easier for engineers to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Software developers enjoying great work-life balance
Photo by Mimi Thian @ Unsplash

How Many Hours Do Software Engineers Actually Work?

The amount of hours that software engineers work varies greatly depending on the company, project, and individual.

Some companies may require their employees to work 9 to 5, while others may allow their software engineers to work as little or as much as they want.

In general, most software engineers work 40-45 hours a day. However, some engineers may work more than that when deadlines require it.

Overall, software engineering offers excellent work-life balance to its practitioners. With flexible hours, interesting projects, and great pay and benefits, it’s no wonder that so many people are choosing this career path.

Do Software Engineers Work on Weekends?

Weekends are usually free for software engineers.

Most companies don’t expect their software engineers to work on weekends, except in cases of urgent deadlines or emergencies.

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That said, some engineers may choose to work on weekends if they want to get ahead of a project or finish something quickly.

In any case, it’s important to remember that maintaining a good work-life balance is essential for software engineers, and working on weekends should be avoided whenever possible.

By taking advantage of the many benefits and advantages that software engineering offers, engineers can enjoy a fulfilling and balanced career.

With the right approach, software engineers can ensure that their work remains interesting and rewarding while still having plenty of time to enjoy life outside of work.

Software Engineer Job Satisfaction

What about job satisfaction among software engineers? Do they enjoy fulfilling their duties and responsibilities on a daily basis?

The PayScale survey report reveals a 4 out of 5-star job satisfaction rate among software engineers. It’s clear that these professionals are content with their current working conditions and benefits, which include competitive salary packages as well as comprehensive health plans for vision, medical, and dental coverage. Thus, it is no surprise why so many software engineers have high levels of job satisfaction.

Another survey conducted by Indeed revealed that an overwhelming majority of U.S. software engineers, 63%, are content with their financial compensation due to it affording them a comfortable lifestyle. Furthermore, they have access to not only salaries and bonuses but also health coverage, vision insurance, relocation benefits and even long-term rewards such as stock options too!

Overall, with such high job satisfaction rates and great perks, it is no wonder why software engineering remains one of the most sought-after professions. With its attractive benefits, interesting projects, and potential for growth and career development, software engineering is an excellent choice for those looking to build a rewarding and successful career.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com

How Much Do Software Engineers Make?

Software engineers are in high demand and can often command salaries that are well above the national average.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average software engineer makes $109,020 annually in salary. However, this number can vary based on experience level and location.

For example, the average salary for software engineers in Silicon Valley is significantly higher than the national average, with many engineers making a considerable amount of money and even becoming millionaires!

Generally speaking, the more experience and knowledge a software engineer has, the higher their salary will be. Therefore, it is important for software engineers to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in order to remain competitive and secure a lucrative salary.

Can You Work 4-Day Weeks as a Software Engineer?

It is possible to work four-day weeks as a software engineer.

More than 200 companies in the US offer flexible working schedules, allowing their software engineers to work four days a week instead of five.

This flexible setup allows for more time to be spent on projects outside of the office, such as hobbies and other activities, while still providing a competitive salary.

Furthermore, shorter working hours also equate to fewer distractions for software engineers, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Overall, a four-day workweek presents software engineers with the opportunity to find a better work-life balance, allowing them to be more productive and engaged in their work.

Work-Life Balance When Working from Home

As we have mentioned, software engineers are among the professionals who enjoy remote work benefits the most.

While this is an excellent opportunity to get extra sleep in the morning, avoid the rush of leaving home early, and skipping the stress of daily commute, working from home is also known to take a toll on setting boundaries between work and home life.

According to DigitalOcean’s report, an astonishing number of remote developers (66% in total and 82% specifically in the United States) have reported symptoms of burnout. This is often due to the constant blurring of boundaries between work and home life, which can lead to fatigue and lack of motivation.

According to the report, the risk of burnout is 2% higher for remote developers than for in-house employees. However, with the right instruction, remote work can lead to a better work-life balance, especially for remote developers. The same report shows how those working remotely rate their work-life balance at 7.02 out of 10; on average – on-site developers score lower at 6.95.

To ensure a healthy work-life balance, software engineers should establish clear boundaries between their working and leisure time. This could include setting specific times when they are available to take calls or respond to emails as well as taking regular breaks throughout the day.

Additionally, software engineers should ensure that their home office set up is conducive to productivity. This can include making sure there are no distractions and that the space is well-lit, comfortable, and organized.

Taking these steps can help to ensure a good work-life balance while working from home.

Software engineer work-life balance when working from home
Photo by Nicole Wolf @ Unsplash

Best Work-Life Balance Companies for Software Engineers

When it comes to finding the best work-life balance, software engineers should consider working for companies that prioritize the well-being of their employees.

If you’re looking for a great work-life balance, Glassdoor’s recent survey of employee reviews found the following companies to be the best places to work as a software engineer:

  1. Zoom
  2. Procore Technologies
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Facebook
  5. Google
  6. Salesforce
  7. Hubspot
  8. DocuSign
  9. Ultimate Software
  10. Paylocity
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Unsurprisingly, two of the above are FAANG companies, which are often regarded as the best places to work for. These companies understand the importance of focusing on employee well-being, offering generous benefits packages and competitive salaries.

Besides the above, large non-tech companies such as banks, government offices, and consulting firms are also known to offer great work-life balance for software engineers. These companies often have more established processes to follow, which can be ideal for those looking for a more predictable schedule.

If you are not sure whether your target company has a good work-life balance, make sure to ask WLB-related questions during the interview and look for other direct and indirect evidence.

Work-Life Balance at Big Tech Companies

Big tech companies are often known for offering competitive salaries and great benefits packages. However, it is important to remember that the work-life balance at these companies can vary greatly. Let’s review some examples of work-life balance at tech giants.


  • Headquarters: Mountain View, California
  • Entry-level engineer compensation (total): $183,329
  • Work-life balance: 4.3/5 (90% recommend)
  • Employee Perks: Comprehensive healthcare benefits, generous vacation time, flexible work schedules, tuition reimbursement

Google has long been committed to offering employees a healthy work-life balance and flexible working hours. The company offers its engineers unlimited vacation time, flexible hours, and comprehensive healthcare benefits.

Google still keeps its number one spot among the best FAANG companies to work for. It is also one of the most popular companies for software engineers, with a reported satisfaction rating of 4.3/5 and 90% recommending it as a workplace.


  • Headquarters: Redmond, Washington
  • Entry-level engineer compensation (total): $151,666
  • Work-life balance: 4.2/5 (91% recommend)
  • Employee Perks: Generous vacation time, flexible work schedules, tuition reimbursement

Microsoft is another tech giant renowned for its employee-friendly culture. The company offers a great work-life balance, with generous vacation time and flexible hours. Microsoft also offers a tuition reimbursement program to help employees stay up to date on the latest technologies in their field.

Microsoft has a reported satisfaction rating of 4.2/5, with 91% of employees recommending it as a workplace for software engineers.


  • Headquarters: Seattle, Washington
  • Entry-level engineer compensation (total): $168,168
  • Work-life balance: 3.4/5 (74% recommend)
  • Employee Perks: Generous vacation time, flexible work schedules, tuition reimbursement

Amazon has a reputation for being a demanding workplace. The company is known to have long hours and high expectations of its employees. However, Amazon still offers generous vacation time, flexible hours, and tuition reimbursement for employees.

Amazon has a reported satisfaction rating of 3.4/5, with 74% of employees recommending it as a workplace for software engineers. It is important to note that Amazon can be demanding, and may not be the best option for those looking for a more balanced lifestyle.


  • Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
  • Entry-level engineer compensation (total): $171,971
  • Work-life balance: 3.6/5 (78% recommend)
  • Employee perks: Pet-friendly office, free meals, generous PTO policy

Meta/Facebook offers a great work-life balance for software engineers. The company’s pet-friendly office and free meals are just some of the perks that make Meta/Facebook a great place to work. In addition, the company offers generous paid time off policies to help employees maintain a healthy balance of work and life.

Facebook has a reported satisfaction rating of 3.6/5, with 78% of employees recommending it as a workplace for software engineers. Among the FAANG companies, it is considered to be relatively stressful in its work-life balance and culture.

Overall, the work-life balance at Big Tech companies can vary greatly. It is important to consider the company culture before committing to a position. Doing your research on the company’s policies and employee benefits can help you make an informed decision about whether or not a tech job is the right fit for you.

Software engineer work-life balance at FAANG companies
Photo by Rajeshwar Bachu @ Unsplash

Why Work-Life Balance Is So Important for Software Engineers

Work-life balance is an important factor to consider when choosing a job. Working long hours can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing, so it’s important to make sure that the company you work for offers policies and benefits that help you maintain your balance.

1. Working longer hours negatively affects performance.

When you work for 60 hours a week, the rate of your productivity is drastically different from those who are capable to only commit 20-hour weeks. Your mind and body start to tire out towards the end of 12 hour days, leaving you with much less quality efficiency in comparison.

Even if we assume that one still has half their original capability within these last four hours, it turns into 50% more time just for 25% additional productivity – which isn’t exactly an ideal ratio. Most individuals will experience a discernible decrease after 40 working hours; hence why many employers stick by 40-hours per week schedules!

2. Burnout results in reduction of output.

While a select few can remain productive for extended periods of time, the majority will begin to feel exhausted, discouraged or less competent at their job when consistently putting in long hours.

With burnout comes not only inefficient performance during overtime but also decreased productivity during regular business hours. Ultimately this could lead to an overall decline in output.

3. Time constraints increase efficiency.

Limiting your work hours forces you to make more informed decisions about how to spend your time, yielding a greater return on investment.

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For example, with an 80 hour week you may be able to fix three bugs; however, by reducing that number down to 40 hours, it’s likely only two will get fixed – but of higher importance and value. You see? Working smarter not harder can accomplish the same results with less effort!

4. Personal time matters.

While work may be a highly-prioritized area of your life, there are plenty of other things to relish in besides the 9-5 grind.

Spending time with family and friends, indulging in hobbies and activities – these should not be neglected just so you can add some extra hours into your hectic week. The effort won’t seem worth it if you disregard what truly matters most outside of work!

woman sits near laptop computer
Photo by Nicole Wolf @ Unsplash

Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance as a Software Engineer

Not everything depends on the company when it comes to your work-life balance. There are a lot of things you could influence on your own that could have an impact on the way you manage your career and life outside of work. Here are a few tips to better manage your work-life balance.

1. Prioritize Your Time

You don’t have to do everything all of the time. Make sure you are focusing on the tasks that are most important and give you the most value. Also try to delegate or outsource tasks that are not as important to you personally and can be done by someone else.

2. Follow a Routine

Develop a routine and stick to it. Having a set schedule for each day helps keep you on track and makes sure that you are taking time out for yourself.

3. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks throughout the day allows you to recharge and come back feeling more focused and productive. Taking a few minutes to get up from your desk and get some fresh air can help clear your head and make you more productive.

4. Set Reasonable Goals

Don’t overload yourself with goals that you know are impossible to reach. Set achievable and reasonable goals that can be accomplished within the allotted time frame. This will help you stay on track and make sure that you don’t burn out.

5. Be Aware of Burnout

Burnout can occur if you are pushing yourself too hard and not taking enough time for yourself. Make sure to pay attention to your stress levels and take time out when needed to prevent burnout.

6. Learn to Say No

Learning to say no can be difficult but it is necessary. Don’t take on more than you can handle and be honest about what you can and can’t do.

7. Enjoy Your Work

Your job is a big part of your life, so make sure that you enjoy it. Find ways to stay motivated and keep your work interesting.

8. Take Vacation Time

Don’t be afraid to take some time off and relax. Taking a break from your job can be the best thing you do for your work-life balance.

Overall, having a balanced work-life is important to maintain physical and mental health. With the right techniques and strategies, everyone can achieve an equilibrium between their professional lives and personal ones. Make sure to take time for yourself and prioritize your time and tasks wisely!


Software engineer work-life balance is considered among the best. With flexible hours, the ability to work remotely, and good pay, software engineering can be a great choice for those looking to balance their career and personal life.

Of course, there will be times when the workload becomes too much or technology shifts make it difficult to keep up. In these cases, it’s important to remember that working in modern software engineering doesn’t have to mean working around the clock.

With organizations and culture that recognize work-life balance, as well as individuals who prioritize their own well-being, software engineers can make a career out of technology and still have time for friends and family.

The key is making sure you know your limits and find ways to take advantage of the opportunities modern software engineering has to offer. With a bit of planning, it is possible to have a successful career in technology and still enjoy the balance in life most of us strive for.