Research - 22.06.2021 - 00:00 

Hybrid Work Compass for Switzerland

Interviews with more than 150 CEOs, board members, and HR experts revealed that the future implementation of hybrid work models in Swiss companies is not a question of “if” but “how”. In a large-scale survey study (access link below), researchers from the University of St.Gallen, together with Novu Office and HR Campus, seek to learn about companies’ future goals and key challenges to develop an open-access Hybrid Work Compass for Switzerland.

22 June 2021. Never in history have we seen a shift in the way we work as rapid and radical as we did after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the trend towards more flexible work models is anything but new, many organizations were hesitant towards adapting their traditional modus operandi, arguing that increasingly flexible and remote work models could never work. The “lockdown”, however, has forced virtually all Swiss companies to allow their employees to work remotely and, from one day to the next, establish the provisional infrastructure required for the execution of this new reality.

“Employees and employers prefer a hybrid work model.”

Curiously, 83% of employers concluded that the shift to remote work was a success for their organization. Similarly, only 12% of Swiss employees want to return to the office in fulltime after the Corona crisis, while 88% envision a “new normal” that includes at least one day of remote work. Of note, a closer look reveals that most Swiss employees prefer a hybrid work model (62%), rather than working fully remotely in the future (26%).

A hybrid work model is a work style that enables employees to blend working from different locations: the office, home, or a third place (e.g., a co-working space). Hybrid work models offer tremendous benefits to organizations, such as increased talent pools or cost savings due to reduced office space, employees, such as better work-life balance and reduced commute frequency, as well as the society at large, including an improved national climate footprint and the replacement of private office space with public recreational areas in Swiss cities.

“Hybrid work models: Not a question of IF but HOW.”

With pandemic concerns receding, Swiss companies find themselves at a crossroads: on the one hand, they remember the traditional, office-bound model that undoubtedly was a success story for several decades. On the other hand, employees and employers do not want to let go of the newly gained flexibility. Hybrid work models offer the promise of merging both roads.

Over the past six months, the researchers involved in the Hybrid Work Compass project have talked to more than 150 Swiss CEOs, board members, and HR experts. The good news is that most organizations expressed strong excitement towards hybrid work models and plan to intensify their application in the future. The bad news, however, is that almost all organizations face great uncertainty and at times even lack of orientation when it comes to the question of “how” such models can be implemented: How do we ensure long-term health and productivity in hybrid setups? How do we reimagine a hybrid corporate culture? And, most fundamentally, what do such hybrid work models actually look like?

“The goal: A Hybrid Work Compass for Switzerland.”

To provide answers to these questions, the researchers have launched a large-scale survey study, in which they seek to learn about companies’ future plans and key challenges: Do Swiss companies aim for office-focused, hybrid, or remote work models? How advanced are organizations in planning and implementing these models? How should organizations support their employees in this process? The goal is to develop an open-access Hybrid Work Compass that prototypes, benchmarks, and supports the implementation of hybrid work models in Swiss companies.

For the researchers to draw a representative conclusion, your help is needed: Are you a CEO, board member, HR leader, or project representative in charge of the implementation of hybrid / remote work models in your organization? Then we cordially invite you to take part in the 5-8-minute survey study. In return, you are provided with an actionable summary of the study’s key findings. Please click here for more information and for accessing the survey.

Image: iStock / Zaripov Andrei

Discover our special topics