Swiss companies ban home working on Fridays over productivity concerns
After dominating the workplace during the COVID pandemic, according to a report by 20 Minuten, a number of entrepreneurs and employers in Switzerland have turned against home working. The report found that some business owners are starting to ban working from home on Fridays and Mondays because of productivity concerns.
Monday and Friday the most popular home working days in Switzerland
In the report, the newspaper said that of the companies they spoke to, Mondays and Fridays are by far and away the most popular day for remote working in Switzerland. After peaking in popularity during the enforced COVID lockdown, a large number of people still do some of their work at home and many businesses have started to include hybrid work clauses when offering jobs.
This is backed up by data from local public transport, with a spokesperson from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) noting that passenger numbers drop dramatically on both days while peaking on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The phenomenon is so strong that SBB spokesperson Frédéric Revaz confirmed that the company is now offering cheap pre-booked public transport tickets to tempt people onto quieter services.
Swiss companies restrict and ban hybrid work on popular days
Now, a number of companies - none of which wanted to be named - are restricting or completely banning working from home on Mondays and Fridays. According to 20 Minuten, most employers believe that workers use the home office to create a quasi “long weekend” and aren't as productive as they should be - a theory popularised by tech magnate Elon Musk after he took over Twitter.
Speaking to the newspaper, HR expert Jörg Buckmann said he understood why companies are choosing to ban the practice. “Many people like to work from home on Mondays and Fridays and it’s hard to reach them on those days. You don't have to expect an answer on Friday afternoon…I just can't imagine that productivity on Friday is as high as it is on Tuesday," he noted.
Buckmann argued that, even if workers are productive at home, the employer has no way of knowing whether someone is working and reachable if something urgent comes up. “Scepticism about working from home doesn’t make entrepreneurs bad bosses, on the contrary, [many] look after their people extremely well and are generous employers. There are really quite a few understandable arguments against working from home,” he concluded.
Home working can increase productivity, expert claims
On the flip side, Hartmut Schulze, Professor of Industrial Psychology at the University of Applied Sciences in Northwestern Switzerland, said that people can be extremely productive when working from home, especially in creative industries. “It's a different kind of productivity, you can work undisturbed and longer…you save travel time and can practically start work from the breakfast table without having to get dressed properly.”
"Of course, it can also happen that someone says: I've worked so much this week, now I'll do a little less on Friday," he admitted, but said that periods of less productivity are good for mental well-being and a majority of studies suggest that hybrid work contracts improve productivity. “Where does this distrust - and the idea that people in the home office are having fun at the employer's expense - come from?" he questioned.