Impact of remote work on Portuguese software professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ana J. Almeida Universidade do Minho
  • Jácome Cunha Universidade do Porto / INESC TEC
  • João M. Fernandes Universidade do Minho


Although remote work was already possible and used in some contexts, the COVID-19 pandemic made it normal and, in some situations, even mandatory. This was the case in Portugal and in particular in its software industry. Given this abrupt change in how we work, it became pressing to investigate the impacts of this profound change to remote work, so that we can cope with the potential negative consequences (professional, personal, etc.). Thus, the goal of this work is to study the impact of the referred change to remote work, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on software professionals in Portugal. To achieve this goal, a survey was prepared and distributed via email, LinkedIn, and Instagram. In total, 176 valid answers were collected from software professionals working in Portugal from 38 different companies. After the performed statistical analysis on the targeted population and focusing on the 10 elaborated research questions, two major findings can be concluded with certainty: (i) having worked in a remote regime before the pandemic period has a strong relationship with a higher frequency of use of teleconference tools after this period, and (ii) participants who do not feel safe about coming back to a fully on-site regime are more likely to prefer a fully remote regime than the ones who feel safe, while the latter group is more likely to prefer a hybrid regime.

Palavras-chave: COVID-19, remote work, software engineering, survey


Akoglu, H. (2018). User’s guide to correlation coefficients. Turkish Journal of Emergency Medicine, 18(3):91–93. DOI 10.1016/j.tjem.2018.08.001.

Almeida, A. J. (2022). Analysis of the impact of remote work on portuguese software professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Master’s thesis, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.

Bao, L., Li, T., Xia, X., Zhu, K., Li, H., and Yang, X. (2022). How does working from home affect developer productivity? — A case study of Baidu during the COVID-19 pandemic. Science China Information Sciences, 65(4):142102. DOI 10.1007/s11432-020-3278-4.

Bezerra, C. I. M., de Souza Filho, J. C., Coutinho, E. F., Gama, A., Ferreira, A. L., de Andrade, G. L. a., and Feitosa, C. E. (2020). How human and organizational factors influence software teams productivity in COVID-19 pandemic: A Brazilian survey. In XXXIV Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering (SBES 2020), p. 606–615. ACM. DOI 10.1145/3422392.3422417.

Chinnaiah, P. and Smt.Chythra, P. (2021). Challenges of working from home in persistent Covid-19 environment. International Research Journal of Business Studies, 14(1):85–97.

Ford, D., Storey, M.-A., Zimmermann, T., Bird, C., Jaffe, S., Maddila, C., Butler, J. L., Houck, B., and Nagappan, N. (2021). A tale of two cities: Software developers working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. ACM Transaction on Software Engineering Methodology, 31(2). DOI 10.1145/3487567.

Guler, M. A., Guler, K., Guneser Gulec, M., and Ozdoglar, E. (2021). Working from home during a pandemic: Investigation of the impact of COVID-19 on employee health and productivity. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 63(9):731–741. DOI 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002277.

Hill, E. J. and Fellows, K. J. (2014). Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research, chapter “ “Telecommuting””, pp. 6599–6600. Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2985.

Machado, L. S., Caldeira, C., Gattermann Perin, M., and de Souza, C. R. (2021). Gendered experiences of software engineers during the COVID-19 crisis. IEEE Software, 38(2):38–44. DOI 10.1109/MS.2020.3040135.

Miller, C., Rodeghero, P., Storey, M.-A., Ford, D., and Zimmermann, T. (2021). How was your weekend? Software development teams working from home during COVID-19. In 43rd International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2021), p. 624–636. IEEE Press. DOI 10.1109/ICSE43902.2021.00064.

Nguyen-Duc, A., Khanna, D., Greer, D., Wang, X., Zaina, L. M., Matturro, G., Melegati, J., Guerra, E., Le, G. H., Kettunen, P., Hyrynsalmi, S., Edison, H., Sales, A., Rutitis, D., Kemell, K.-K., Aldaeej, A., Mikkonen, T., Garbajosa, J., and Abrahamsson, P. (2022). Work-from-home and its implication for project management, resilience and innovation: A global survey on software companies. arXiv.

Oz, T. and Crooks, A. (2020). Exploring the impact of mandatory remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. SocArXiv.

Russo, D., Hanel, P. H. P., Altnickel, S., and van Berkel, N. (2021). The daily life of software engineers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 43rd International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering in Practice ICSE-SEIP 2021, p. 364–373. IEEE Press. DOI 10.1109/ICSE-SEIP52600.2021.00048.

Russo, D., Hanel, P. H. P., and van Berkel, N. (2021). Understanding developers wellbeing and productivity: A longitudinal analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic. arXiv.

Šmite, D., Moe, N. B., Klotins, E., and Gonzalez-Huerta, J. (2023). From forced workingfrom-home to voluntary working-from-anywhere: Two revolutions in telework. Journal of Systems and Software, 195:111509. DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2022.111509.

Šmite, D., Tkalich, A., Moe, N. B., Papatheocharous, E., Klotins, E., and Buvik, M. P. (2022). Changes in perceived productivity of software engineers during COVID-19 pandemic: The voice of evidence. Journal of Systems and Software, 186:111197. DOI 10.1016/j.jss.2021.111197.

Watt, R. and Collins, E. (2019). Statistics for psychology: A guide for beginners (and everyone else). SAGE Publications.

Wohlin, C., Runeson, P., Höst, M., Ohlsson, M. C., Regnell, B., and Wesslén, A. (2012). Experimentation in software engineering. Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-29044-2.
ALMEIDA, Ana J.; CUNHA, Jácome; FERNANDES, João M.. Impact of remote work on Portuguese software professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. In: CONGRESSO IBERO-AMERICANO EM ENGENHARIA DE SOFTWARE (CIBSE), 26. , 2023, Montevideo, Uruguai. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2023 . p. 191-205. DOI: