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Swiss workers put in about 42 to 45 hours a week on the job, if they are working full time; but an increasing number choose to work less, often for family reasons.

A job offered at 90% typically means two days off a month (work nine out of ten workdays). A 50% position could mean two days of work one week, followed by three the next. Exactly how the time is divided up can be determined between the employer and employee.

Work ethics

There is a great tradition of craftsmanship and workmanship, and sloppiness is frowned upon. Young people also come to subscribe to these attitudes.

Strikes are rare in Switzerland. Antagonism between workers and management, where it exists, is often kept within bounds.

Punctuality is important. Being late, even by just a few minutes, can be regarded as bad form.

Gender equality

Switzerland is still a male-dominated working world. Women are more likely to have a traditional role of stay-at-home mothers, though this is changing. But North Americans in particular will not fail to be surprised at the frequent separation of the sexes in the working world: men in industry, women in service roles.

Top management is still pretty much a man’s domain. Many company executive boards have no female representation.

Flex time

Flexible work time has become the norm in industrial and commercial life, which means that you often clock in and out but you can decide independently your time of arrival and departure. Still, Swiss people tend to be early risers, and most people begin their working day early, between 7am and 8am.

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