Why Switzerland’s work-from-home obligation is not working

Why Switzerland’s work-from-home obligation is not working
Has the working from home obligation changed your habits? Photo by Marc Mueller from Pexels
Despite an obligation to work from home for more than a month, there has been no net decrease in mobility. Why?

On January 18th, Switzerland put in place an obligation to work from home. 

EXPLAINED: What are the rules of Switzerland's new working from home obligation? 

The rules require everyone who can work from home to do so all across Switzerland.

In practice however, there has been little change in mobility, a new study has found. 

The study, by the ETH Zurich and the University of Basel, found that mobility is much higher than in the first wave of the pandemic. 

“A significant decline like that after the first lockdown is currently not in evidence,” the authors write. 

A consequence of the working from home obligation is that people now have more time, which they are using to go outdoors or even to the mountains. 

“People on short-time work actually travel a little more than the others. People working from home travel less than those who have to drive to their workplaces. However, the difference is not as great as one would expect,” the authors write. 

The researchers did however find that the other aspects of Switzerland’s coronavirus lockdown – including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and cultural facilities has had an impact in reducing mobility. 

There has also been a downward trend in public transport usage, with levels at between 40 and 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. 

Bicycle use – which increased during the first wave of the pandemic – has also fallen slightly, although the authors believe this to be due to the cold weather. 

Cycling has grown in popularity considerably since the start of the pandemic, with some manufacturers warning that Switzerland may run out of bikes. 

READ MORE: Why Switzerland is running out of bicycles 


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  1. Think the title is misleading. If home workers are still mobile to go to the mountains or their bikes, they are still not sitting in closed office spaces hence contributing to transmission.
    So home office obligation not working against what?

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