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Credit Suisse launches pioneering model: The Way We Work

Credit Suisse to give employees more flexibility on working hours and choice of workplace

COVID-19 has changed the way we work. In particular, the pandemic has highlighted the benefits both of working remotely and of working face-to-face with colleagues in the office. Reflecting this change in the work habits and needs of employees, Credit Suisse is launching The Way We Work – a new model that gives employees greater flexibility and choice when it comes to their individual working arrangements. The aim of this global initiative is to improve work-life balance. In Switzerland the model will be implemented on a gradual basis and in line with the Federal Council's current recommendation to work from home.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to between 70% and 90% of Credit Suisse employees in Switzerland working from home in the past year, the bank has gained crucial insight into new forms of working, the pros and cons of remote working, as well as the importance of face-to-face collaboration in the office. As well as changing the way we work, the pandemic has also altered the way we think about work, productivity, teamwork, social interaction, and responsibility. At the same time, the pandemic has posed a big challenge for everyone and left its mark on our work-life balance as well as the mental well-being of many individuals and families.

Over the past several months, many employees have expressed a growing preference for more flexible working models and a better balance between their work and private life. This was confirmed by a bank-wide survey conducted in Switzerland involving more than 3,800 participants.

Positive impact of working from home on productivity and greater employee satisfaction
As part of the New Ways of Working (N-WOW!) study, Credit Suisse employees from all business areas across Switzerland tested different work models – both with and without restricted office presence – between July and December 2020. The results of the study were overwhelmingly positive, proving that being present in the office is not necessarily essential to working effectively. On the contrary, the study found that employees with the most flexible work models were the happiest and wanted to spend two-thirds of their time working from home or another non-office location in future. It was also shown that productivity is highest among employees who opted for the most flexible work models. In addition, the study revealed that the new ways of working also bring new challenges. The importance of virtual collaboration will continue to grow in future and, although managers and team members can develop management qualities while working from home, the study highlighted concerns about the potential negative impact of remote working on performance evaluation and career development.

Flexible work options and freedom to choose enable better work-life balance
With the global The Way We Work initiative, Credit Suisse is laying the foundations for flexible, agile ways of working across the bank and introducing a pioneering work model. That means that Swiss Universal Bank employees will be able to choose a work model that gives them maximum flexibility, depending on their area of activity, and allows them to determine for themselves, in conjunction with their teams and line managers, how and where they wish to work.

André Helfenstein, CEO of Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd.: "As we prepare for a post-pandemic world, our aim is to become more flexible and agile when it comes to working arrangements. The Way We Work is our pioneering work model, giving employees greater flexibility and freedom of choice. As a modern employer, we want to play our part in further improving the work-life balance of our employees."

Together with their teams and line managers, employees will be able to decide what percentage of their time they want to spend outside of the office and which days they wish to spend working in the office. That way, their individual needs, plans, and life stages can be even more closely aligned with their working life. The office will continue to play an important role as a place of work, not least due to social factors such as face-to-face collaboration, social contact, and workplace discussions. Additionally, the bank is developing other technology-based tools and guidelines in order to extend collaboration – whether in an office setting or via remote access.

The Way We Work will be implemented in Switzerland on a gradual basis and in line with the current recommendation of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to work from home. Rollout of The Way We Work in other geographic regions in which Credit Suisse operates will be governed by country-specific guidelines in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.