Work Smart Week: Deloitte study confirms home working trend

The week of 12 September is Work Smart Week, an event organised by the Work Smart Initiative that numerous Swiss companies take part in. The week focuses on flexible workplace models – an increasingly important topic for companies.

The growing significance of knowledge-intensive jobs and digitalisation is enabling more and more employees to work on a mobile basis with no restrictions in terms of location. This allows companies to make more efficient use of workplaces and office space and save costs by offering home office and co-working in combination with hot desking. Implementing flexible workplace models such as these also makes employers more attractive: anyone who is reliant on young, skilled specialists would be well advised to offer more than just one workplace.

More than a quarter of Swiss people work from home

A representative survey of 1,000 Swiss residents of working age published in February showed that Swiss companies have recognised this trend and that flexible workplace models are no longer a purely theoretical idea: 28% of those surveyed indicated that they worked from home at least one half day a week. Of the remaining 72% who did not yet work from home, 29% would like to do so.

On top of the benefits for employees and employers, the increasing flexibility of workplace models also has a positive effect on society as a whole. The greater the number of people who can work without restriction in terms of location and time of day, the lower the burden on the road and rail infrastructure, which in many places is now chronically overloaded at peak times. This is a key aspect of the current debate surrounding mobility, which Federal Councillor Leuthard stepped up a few months ago with her proposals on mobility pricing.

Reduction of traffic congestion on Fridays

As most commuters have long been aware, this effect is already clearly evident on Fridays, when trains and S-Bahns are considerably less busy at peak times.

Between Monday and Wednesday, 69% of people work at their employer’s premises. This figure falls to 67% on Thursdays and 62% on Fridays. Meanwhile, the proportion of people working from home rises to 16% on Fridays. The proportion of people not working at all also rises due to the number of part-time employees, albeit less sharply compared with the proportion who work from home. This is demonstrated by new findings from Deloitte’s “The workplace of the future” study published in February 2016.

If we extrapolate these figures to the total of 3.8 million employees in Switzerland, the 7 percentage points difference between Mondays (69%) and Fridays (62%) equates to some 270,000 people. Of these, around 190,000 can be attributed to the home working effect.

Although this is already an impressive figure, the potential offered by home working is still far from being exhausted. In total, around half of all employees in Switzerland could be working on a mobile basis or from home. The more firms that recognise this potential, the greater the likely reduction in peak time traffic congestion, even on other weekdays.

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