More than a quarter of Swiss employees spend at least half a day a week working from home, a study from consultancy firm Deloitte has revealed. Of the 72% who do not currently have such flexible working arrangements, nearly a third say they would also like home office time.
“The daily trek to the office and fixed workplaces are becoming less common,” Michael Grampp, chief economist at Deloitte Switzerland stated in a press release accompanying the study.
Deloitte surveyed 1,000 employees from a total Swiss workforce of 4.9 million. The study found that 28% of those questioned work a minimum of one half day a week at home. Most (85%) said they wanted to keep that arrangement or even to extend it to more hours working outside of the office.
Deloitte calculates that the proportion of employees that work home office days could significantly increase in future. This is because 29% of respondents who did not currently work at home said they would like to do so.
A quarter of the survey respondents were freelancers, indicating an increasing trend in this area and further pointing to further flexibility in the workforce, according to Deloitte. And the changing nature of work, driven largely by the digitalization of the workplace, could also benefit employers too.
The report concluded that such flexible working arrangements could have a double-headed benefit. First, it could increase the efficiency of office space, and on the other side of the coin, promote attractive working conditions among current employees and for hiring future staff.
Home office policies vary from company to company, according to the study’s authors. But it is a trend that is catching on, the report concludes.
“Most companies promote working from home, and some endorse their employees working in co-working spaces or even rent their office space to external users. This trend should strengthen in the future, with more large corporations offering flexible workplaces to start-up companies, freelancers and employees of other companies,” the press release stated.
Labour force pressures
The Swiss Employers Association believes that flexible working conditions could help ease the expected shortfall in workers in coming years as more workers retire than enter employment.
In particular, the lobby group welcomes any measures that could entice more women into the workforce whilst allowing them juggle family commitments.
But this needs to be balanced against specific needs of individual companies, not all of which can offer as flexible working arrangements as others. "Judging whether to allow home office can be tricky when considering organisational issues, accessibility of employees or data security," the association said in a statement.