Why are Swiss companies cracking down on home-working?

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 27 Jan, 2023 Updated Fri 27 Jan 2023 11:44 CEST
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If it's Friday or Monday, some home-workers are in a weekend mode. Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

The beginning and end of the week are the most popular times for employees to work from home. But some companies in Switzerland are now banning this practice.


Home working, also called ‘tele-work’ or ‘home office’, became widespread during the first wave of the Covid pandemic in 2020, when Swiss authorities recommended that people leave their residences as rarely as possible to curb the spread of infections.

At a certain point during the pandemic, the Federal Council even made working from home compulsory whenever possible. 

Though no longer needed from the public health perspective, the home-working trend has become more commonplace, with many companies in Switzerland still offering their employees this option, at least some of the time.

However, a number of employers have now come to regret this flexible work pattern.


The reason is that beginning and end of the week are the most popular times for employees to work from home. 

But some companies have discovered that human nature has replaced the work ethic, as home-based employees are often caught slacking off rather than actually working.

As a result, some Swiss employers have banned home office work on Monday and Friday, on the grounds that employees are less productive on those days.

Working from home on Mondays and Fridays presents "the temptation to take a long weekend," Human Resources expert Jörg Buckmann told 20 Minutes news platform in an interview.

“I just can't imagine that productivity on Friday is as high as it is on Tuesday," he said, adding that trying to reach employees at home on those days and getting them to answer the phone is futile. He himself gets at least 50 percent fewer emails on Friday than on other days of the week.

“The employer can’t see who stops working when, and employees can’t be reached if suddenly urgent work comes up.”

Hartmut Schulze, professor of occupational psychology at the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland, conceded that many home-base workers are still (or already) in the weekend mood on Mondays and Fridays.

But there is nothing wrong with slowing down and relaxing on these two days, he pointed out.

“It can happen that someone says, 'I've worked so much this week, I'm going to do a little less on Friday.' But there is nothing wrong with that — on the contrary, these ‘withdrawal phases’ are necessary.”

READ MORE: Should Switzerland implement a four-day work week?



Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2023/01/27 11:44

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