Swiss companies consider a return to full home working to save energy

Swiss companies consider a return to full home working to save energy

As Switzerland braces for the possibility of energy shortages this winter, and the government announces its plan for how people can save power, a new report by Beobachter has revealed that many international companies and domestic businesses are debating a return to full-time remote work.

Swiss businesses may return to remote work to save power

The report found that in the event that authorities ration, quota or restrict power usage for companies - a measure threatened by the government if current voluntary rules fail - businesses will begin to look at alternatives to the office. Pharmaceutical giant Novartis told Beobachter that it was considering a return to hybrid and remote working models for workers, alongside reducing the heating inside their buildings.

Speaking anonymously to the paper, other companies said they would make their decision on what to do closer to the time, with many already making estimates as to how much energy they could save if they leave offices empty, and how it would impact their bottom line. However, many also made the point that it may not be enough, as the heating and energy savings made by sending office workers home would not be as significant as if, for example, a logistics hub were to shut down. 

Remote working needs to be properly reimbursed, say experts

Speaking to Beobachter, employment expert Katharina Siegrist said that, as there is no legislation on the matter, companies are free to switch their workers to the “remote office” whenever they like. "In exceptional situations, workers should accept temporary teleworking," she noted.

However, Siegrist said that remote work needs to be properly reimbursed and compensated. "The best thing to do is to establish in advance, in a written agreement, the definition of a home office and the activities related to it... [for example] entrepreneurs cannot pass energy costs onto their employees," she concluded.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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