For years this is a question for me, because I work like freelancing and coding at home. I do it like this:

1 to 1.5 hours coding, 1 or 2 hours free time. then repeat like that. Maybe I repeat this procedure for 5 to 6 times in a day and finally I was coding usefully for 5 to 6 hours in a day.

Also, maybe I do it for about 2 weeks for a project, then have one week rest and free time to recovery for the next project!

But now, I want to hire two-three other programmers and create a team and establish a small company to do more advanced and bigger projects. But I don't know how other programmers work at workplace? Do they 8 hours coding continuously and usefully? (It's hard for me to imagine this type of work because I think a person can not do really useful work in 8 hours continuously! also repeat it everyday for long time without recovery times between them).

May you explain or compare the two types of the work I mentioned and do it clear for me to know how is it going in programming offices and corporations?

  • 3
    As far as 8 continuous hours and still being useful. I have heard that a rule of thumb is you should plan and to get 6.5 useful hours for every 8 hours a person is paid for.
    – Anketam
    May 26 '18 at 11:32
  • @Anketam source? interested to read the study for that
    – bharal
    May 26 '18 at 13:50
  • It is not clear to me whether you take week-ends off ?
    – Laurent S.
    May 27 '18 at 9:07
  • 1
    Many developers have a zone. You could enter the zone and work for 16 hours non-stop with total concentration and not even remember to eat. Unless disturbed. But in a workplace you cannot count on that, as it is dependent on many factors like being undisturbed, having a task you really enjoy, or learning a new language on the fly while having a total understanding on how the task should be done. May 27 '18 at 9:56
  • Don't forget that often there are meetings scattered in a day. These can be considered breaks from coding, and still classified as "productive" time. Meetings could be with clients, or with internal project team members. Planning sessions for the next sprint, etc. Employees would appreciate random 30 minutes of games or other activities as a positive company culture (and a good team building exercise).
    – Phil M
    May 31 '18 at 18:25

First of all I am not sure if I got the question right. Correct me if not.

This kind of working can be ok at home, if you are the person who really can do that and wants to do that. You really don't know how office working looks like?

If I calculate that, 6 times 1.5 hours of coding and 5 times 1.5 hours break in between, this is 16.5 hours a day. How could a person be this time at the office each day?
What recreation effect is in leisure time that you spend at the office, if it's only small portions and you absolutely don't know what to do there and always have the rest of your work in mind? This is pure stress, not recreation.

So the answer is

Do they 8 hours coding continuously

Yes, most of them do, let's say they are there and more or less work continuously.

and usefully

Well ... probably not usefully.
As example I guess the portion of work that someone does in half of the time, say 4 hours instead of 8, is more than half the work he/she does in full time. But you can't split work so that everyone only works a little time on it.

You should not ignore that lots of breaks mean a lot of time to get into work again. You don't just go on where you left, you have to think about what you did, how to continue, what you had in mind before and so on. So I think you shouldn't break work scheduled by the time but by the topics you are working on.

  • When working remotely, that 16.5 h thing is totally doable. Even preferrable, as having regular breaks keeps the mind fresh. May 27 '18 at 9:59
  • Yes for a certain period it does. But after some days most of us would feel exhausted because one has no real leisure time on such a day. You wake up, go to work, have a little break - always with the next working step in mind, go back to work and so on... then you go to bed. This takes more of freshness away than the breaks can give.
    – puck
    May 28 '18 at 14:18

You should aim at 8 hours working a day. More will in the long term drop your productivity. And not 8 continuous hours, but with some breaks - you can't work 8 hours non-stop. The amount of breaks that you take is too much in my opinion.

And if you hire people, then you are their manager, and it's to a large extent up to you how much of the eight hours is productive work and how much is not productive (meetings, reporting, filling out forms, listening to the boss having great monologues, and so on). There can be to much or too little of that.

You also determine how many interruptions there are. Interruptions cost a lot, lot more than just the time of the interruption. Five ten minute interruptions can be handled in the first hour of the day, or distributed over the whole day they will be much more costly.

  • 8 Hours working != 8 Hours coding or even close to that which is where the real question comes in.
    – Joe W
    May 28 '18 at 16:39

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