The Future of Work – Switzerland

The Swiss working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of Swiss workers compares to those in other markets:

Swiss workers perform in a moderate working environment

Generally, the working dynamic in Switzerland is similar to that of other European markets. Swiss workers most commonly report feeling contentment at work (35%). A slightly smaller proportion report feeling productive and motivated (both 32%) indicating a sense that respondents feel engaged in their work.

However, just 12% report feeling loved and 16% supported. Furthermore, feelings of exhaustion (27%) and frustration (19%) are also present, although felt higher among females. Just over three in ten (31%) of the female workers surveyed report feeling exhausted compared to 23% of males. Similarly, over a fifth (23%) report feeling frustrated compared to 15% of males.

Despite this, females appear to be equally as engaged in work as their male counterparts; 32% of the female workers surveyed report feeling motivated, which is the same proportion as males. Similarly, a third (33%) of females report feeling productive, almost identical to the 32% of males who feel the same way.

Reassuringly, the findings showed few cases of poor wellbeing. Just over one in ten say they feel sad or anxious (both 11%) and exactly one tenth (10%) report feeling overwhelmed.

Workplace culture

Men more comfortable than women asking their boss for a pay rise or promotion

When it comes to workplace issues, a sizable minority of Swiss workers surveyed feel comfortable talking to their boss.

Two fifths (39%) of Swiss workers surveyed say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to a quarter (25%) who feel uncomfortable.

Similarly, two in five (43%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to 18% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, three in ten (31%) agree that they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons, higher than the European average (19%).

Looking at career related discussions, almost two in five (39%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise, compared to 30% who feel uncomfortable. Similarly, over a third (36%) feel comfortable asking for a promotion, compared to just over a quarter (27%) who feel uncomfortable doing this.

There are noticeable gender differences when it comes to asking for a pay rise or promotion. Over a fifth (44%) of male workers feel comfortable asking for a promotion dropping to a third (33%) of females. Similarly, while two in four (40%) male workers feel comfortable asking for a promotion, just 33% of women feel the same way.

Do Swiss workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Two thirds say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, but do Swiss workers think it’s realistic?

Across the sample, two thirds (66%) agree reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, with 71% of females agreeing with this compared to 62% of males. Furthermore, almost three fifths (58%) think they’d be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

Two fifths (41%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if it’s implemented.  

Nevertheless, despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day working week not all of the Swiss respondents think it’s realistic. Almost half (46%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and nearly three fifths (57%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

Compared to other markets, Swiss workers are slightly more likely to report concerns around automation and cybersecurity. One in three (31%) are worried their role could be replaced by automation compared to almost a quarter (23%) of the European average. Similarly, 28% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite notable concerns among the Swiss workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, a third (34%) of Swiss workers think it will be a good thing overall.

Click here to find out more about the Future of Work in other countries.