In a PageGroup study to better understand the commuting habits of those in Europe, we surveyed 1,558 professionals in Switzerland to understand what impact commuting has on retention, productivity and work in general. Switzerland is known for having regions well adapted for commuters, whether it is using either private or public transportation and this is reflected in the results. Read on to find out what the picture looks like for employees in Switzerland. 

Switzerland: The golden winner of efficient public transport

Switzerland lives up to its reputation as being the country of efficiency. We discovered that 54% of commuters in Switzerland take public transport (bus, tram, train, railways) to reach their workplace. A staggering 94%, rate the commute as efficient. Both numbers rank in the pole position when compared with other countries in Europe! It’s also the least stressed nation when commuting to work via public transportation. Only 20% of Swiss professionals feel stressed due to the commute itself.

How can companies benefit from such efficiency?

The stress level for using public transport is low and significantly lower than those that commute using private transport. Knowing this, companies should take the opportunity to encourage employees to use public transport. They will benefit from employees feeling more relaxed when they arrive to work and subsequently more positive and productive. For example, companies could subsidise the costs of commuting annually by public transport and contribute to a more sustainable city, which is environmentally friendly.

How stressful is the commute for swiss employees?

Commuting by car has a higher impact on the stress level of professionals in comparison to those taking the bus, tram or train. Whilst only 20% of the users of public transportation feel stressed during their commute, 32% of those feel stressed commuting by car. When selecting multiple choice answers, 87% of professionals commuting cited traffic jams as the main contributor to stress. This is followed by unexpected situations with 67%, and includes accidents and strikes, and along with traffic jams is an impact that can’t be controlled. Professionals in Switzerland are known for wanting to be punctual, so there is a tendency for them to get stressed easily when they are running late. To ensure a calm commute to work, companies can initiate schemes like the “academic quarter” or “flexi-time” to allow employees to arrive within a given period of time.

Companies can also proactively encourage measures such as car-pooling at the workplace, in addition to commuting by public transport in order to reduce cars on the road and to regulate traffic flow in cities. The added value will be a more empowered workforce where employees will feel less stressed upon arrival, subsequently boosting productivity at work.

Relocate for a better commute? 1 out of 2 swiss employees say yes

Almost every second employee in Switzerland is willing to relocate for a better commute. In the French-speaking part it is far more than in the German-speaking part – 57% compared to 34%, a significant difference of more than 20%.  Switzerland has a growing population, particularly in cities such as Geneva and the consequence of this is that it adds further pressure on the existing infrastructure. Transportation is more crowded, there are more traffic jams and it’s noisier – all contributing to a negative impact on a commute, influencing the willingness of employees to relocate.

Interestingly, Swiss professionals who have remote working possibilities are less likely to relocate, with 41% versus 50%. Employers should be mindful of employees willing to relocate in order to better manage expectations. Doing so will help retain and attract talent, and ensure that their HR strategy is realistically in line with those in the region.

Flexibility – A solution for long and stressful commutes

Swiss employees take on average 40 minutes to go to work which is less than the European average. Looking at the Swiss landscape it’s easy to see that in the French-speaking region the area is denser and employees tend to work and live in the same city. This might explain why 63% of German-speaking professionals work whilst their commute.

Additionally, 61% of professionals in the German-speaking region have remote working possibilities and from those, 78% take advantage and use it. Companies seeking professionals should further review flexible working models in their policy given these findings. It is equally relevant for the German-speaking region where the commute is longer and the French-speaking region because of the perceived stress.

Please note that this data is based on 12, 485 responses in Europe, from which 1558 were from those located in Switzerland. For Switzerland this includes 821 in the French-speaking part, 700 in the German-speaking part and 37 in the Italian part.

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