Flex Your Job
Credit Suisse Perspectives

Flex Your Job

Time has always been a scarce resource. Credit Suisse aims to help its employees to find the right work-life balance by offering flexible job arrangements. The options range from part-time positions to home office, a personalized work schedule or sabbatical leave – whenever possible.

As Credit Suisse's workforce evolves and diversifies, work patterns beyond the traditional full-time position are becoming increasingly important. Offering flexible job models not only suits the needs of employees juggling work and family responsibilities, studies, hobbies or community service. It also results in greater commitment, productivity and retention as staff have more control of their time and accountability for achieving excellent results. This flexibility also reduces unplanned absences and improves employees' health and well-being. "Credit Suisse tries to accommodate the needs of employees at all levels, and hence offers flexible work arrangements where it is feasible in terms of the job content," says Tali Zimmerman-Baer, the bank's Global Head of Internal Mobility and Diversity Recruitment.

Beyond the Usual Part-Time

On top of the most popular flexible work arrangements such as 50 percent part-time positions or working from home once a week, Credit Suisse offers a variety of other options. "In Switzerland, many people request a 90 percent role, meaning they have a day off every other week or a half-day off every Wednesday, for example. This slightly reduced work load is tremendously appreciated and helpful for many," according to Claudia Segers, the bank's Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion.

In the Asia Pacific region, working from home on an ad hoc basis is the most common solution. "This allows employees the flexibility to balance work and family responsibilities, an option greatly appreciated by working mothers. But this is not just something that is utilised by working mums. Many of our staff work across different time zones. A personalized work schedule enables them to respond to the needs of clients or colleagues based in different parts of the world, and to communicate with them via conference or video calls," points out Kwee Bee Teo, from the bank's Asia Pacific Diversity and Inclusion team.
Job sharing, when two or more workers do similar work or have complementary skills and share one position, as well as paid or unpaid sabbaticals, are among the other options available. Occasional flexible working is also offered and a popular option with employees facing a family emergency, those involved with a local charity, as well as some Muslim employees during the fasting period Ramadan.

The options just mentioned, however, depend on the laws and regulations in place in the various countries and regions where Credit Suisse operates. "We recognise that our employees are aiming to achieve a work-life balance and try to support this where possible," notes Michelle Mendelsson, Head of Diversity and Inclusion in the EMEA region.

Generational Differences Emerge Regarding Flex Job Needs

Younger employees in their twenties often request part-time work to continue their higher education and complete their degrees. They sometimes also ask for reduced hours to pursue their outside interests. "One employee, for instance, used a part-time arrangement to train for the discus competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games," explains Mendelsson.

The next age bracket, those between 30 and 50, generally requests flexible working arrangements to be able to combine their professional commitments with raising a family or caring for elderly family members. Some also ask for part-time work to support the career development of their partner. When it comes to the bank's older workers, some reduce their work load to transition more smoothly into retirement. "We are really offering a very broad range of opportunities when it comes to flexible working , depending on the job, the position and the department's needs," underlines Paula Langer, who works at the bank's Swiss Diversity and Inclusion team.

Another trend is the increasing number of men adopting a flexible job, even though they remain a minority. "The days when women took all the responsibility at home are over. Younger men, who often only saw their own dads at the weekend, want to be around more while their children are growing up," says Langer.

Flexible Jobs Expand the Talent Pool

"Flexible working is often one of the main things attracting a potential employee to Credit Suisse," says Kwee Bee. "There are more job candidates when flexible and agile working arrangements are offered, and this is true not just for working mothers but also for millennials," she adds. "The bank would be at a disadvantage, particularly against tech companies competing with us for talented candidates, if it didn't embrace flexible working options. We include this ‘open to discussing flexible/agile working' wherever possible in our job advertisements," explains Mendelsson. 

In Switzerland, where it is still tough to combine a full-time position with bringing up children, the Human Resource department receives up to 60 percent more applications if a role is advertised as potentially part-time. "We open up a much larger talent pool when we state that part-time is an option," notes Segers.

The implementation of flexible work practices is clearly a win-win situation for the bank and our employees.