The COVID-19 pandemic forced most businesses to dismantle their entire concept of the traditional workplace – almost overnight. Most firms were extraordinarily quick in implementing an operational set-up that would under normal circumstances have taken years.

The focus was on simply getting people working without the infrastructure of their offices, often at the expense of risk management. While the end of pandemic restrictions heralded a very welcome return to normalcy, it left many firms struggling to adapt to a new way of working, often incompatible with regulation that no longer meets reality. Yet reverting to pre-pandemic working models is no longer an option.

Critical risks regarding tax and social security, IT security etc. must be urgently addressed and many firms are finding challenging to reconcile new employee expectations with compliance. Aside risk management, there are also other areas such as real estate, facility and infrastructure management and space optimization that need attention.

KPMG Post-COVID 19 Survey

With the rise of flexible working arrangements post-pandemic, employers are faced with a need to formalize or overhaul their work policies. To get a first-hand picture of how Swiss Firms are dealing with the changing landscape, we surveyed 108 leaders in HR, Tax, Finance and Legal roles in Switzerland about their current struggles and successes and also on their vision of the future workplace

Furthermore, the survey highlights some key risks business leaders should look out for when going hybrid and appropriate action to mitigate those risks. 

Survey period: May – August 2022, online

Key findings

Go hybrid and win the talent war

Not surprisingly, the majority of firms surveyed have a flexible working policy in place that lays out where employees may work and only a very few plan to reverse this trend. Hybrid working settings – where possible –  are here to stay, especially against a backdrop of talent scarcity in the market. 

Flexibility vs employer risks

Working from anywhere generates risk. Currently, a major preoccupation for firms surveyed surrounds Company Culture, difficult to maintain when working locations are fragmented. Tax compliance, costs and digital infrastructure are also creating further complexity and concerns.

Last but not least, firms clearly see potential cyber-attacks as a real risk to business and operational stability.

To-do list - Clear policies are a must

A majority of the survey participants have laid out clear rules and policies for remote work and some of them monitor closely where their employees are working. 

A very Swiss issue: Cross-border employee risks

With remote working, several social security and tax issues arise when employees work across borders. Almost half of the firms surveyed admitted they have not fully addressed this currently. 

The very purpose of office space in the balance

Firms need to have a clear vision of their future office concept. Respondents were adamant: On the one hand, office space will decrease and on the other, employee perception of the actual purpose of the office will continue to change. The real estate strategy of a firm will need to address this.

The expectations of the respondent regarding the development of real estate costs per desk are divided.

Key outcomes - what should employers do?

As businesses navigate a disrupted, changing landscape and growing demand for flexibility from their workforce, they’ll need to adapt in order to remain competitive and strengthen company culture.

Flexible work is here to stay – as the results of our survey clearly show – and challenges need to be tackled and monitored  carefully to anticipate future changes.

Contact us to discuss our findings

Our experts are available to discuss the survey’s findings in detail and to provide you with a tailored analysis of your risks and blind spots.

They can support you in shaping, adapting and communicating your work policies and accompany you through your future workplace strategies to drive value in mobility, tax, social security, digital transformation, real estate and legal.

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