What does the post-Covid workplace look like - and how can businesses thrive?

Posting date: 13 October 2020

In the US, 41% of the workforce is expected to continue working partly remotely beyond Covid-19, compared to the 30% prior to the outbreak. A similar trend is expected to sweep over the globe, meaning that in the post-Covid landscape companies that are ‘remote-friendly’ may gain a competitive edge. Though the damaging effects of coronavirus will be felt for some time, for some industries the pandemic is likened to a double-edged sword. So, can the post-Covid workplace be more productive and enable businesses to thrive?

 

When, where and how?

 The 9-5 working model was one greatly favoured by businesses around the globe, but with commuting times creeping up and taking precious time away from employees’ personal lives a gradual shift towards flexible working was forming even before the virus outbreak. Now, with 80% of employees stating they’ve enjoyed the transition to home working, it’s hard to imagine the age-old working pattern being put back into play.

 

In countries like Wales, the government is exploring new options where cities are no longer the hub of the working world. Instead, smaller co-working spaces will be set up in housing districts – thereby cutting pollution and improving the work-life balance while still creating that sense of community on a smaller scale. As companies strive to keep their culture alive and prioritise the employee work-life balance, new flexible working practices will begin to take root.

 

Similarly, technology has demonstrated its power to create new working practices and has shown business leaders that remote does not equal diminished collaboration. Within days, Zoom confidently replaced client meetings and over weeks conferences moved to the digital space too.


This is a cause for celebration for introverted employees but a challenge for companies to understand their teams’ behavioural drives and examine how to make remote-working work for everyone. As the employee tech stack continues to grow to include more collaboration tools such as Asana and Trello, so will the job opportunities for software developers.

 

The workplace culture

Workplace culture is key when securing top talent and promoting employee engagement, but the remote working model appears to pose a threat to carefully nurtured cultures. However, culture is intangible and a physical workspace is not essential to enforce company values and behaviours.

 

Covid-19 presents the opportunity to fortify culture. To do so leaders need to establish creative solutions that encourage autonomous working and actively engage the workforce, but a one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice. A McKinsey survey found a huge discrepancy amongst remote workers with children or dependents, with 63.2% of males and 38.5% of females revealing they are engaged with their work.

 

Technology will become cemented at the core of all businesses

2020 marked the fifth decade of the Information Age – a period which has seen technology play an increasingly important role in everyday life and business. No period has witnessed such rapid development, with technology transforming the way humans communicate, creating jobs that were unheard of a few years ago and improving the overall quality of life. While coronavirus was a threat to all this and more, it gave technology the platform to prove its value and has propelled the adoption of technology forward two years, paving the way for a more automated working world.

 

How businesses can thrive post-Covid

The ability to thrive hinges on adaptability. Businesses that hire individuals with this transferrable skill and back projects that are centred around this idea will likely survive the pandemic and flourish in the post-Covid world. Where Covid-19 initially forced industries into reactive decisions, now the stance will change to a proactive one. This has drawn out operational inefficiencies and demonstrated how the new world of working can be more productive than before.

 

One example of this is the life sciences industry. Globally, 826 companies have noted a disruption to clinical trials, of which over 50% are US-based and 3.7% located in Switzerland. The banning of nonessential appointments was a challenge for life sciences companies but the response was to take a new approach to study, investing more in digital technologies for remote appointments and using smartphone apps to improve patient care management.

 

Helping you hiring during uncertain times

Since 1999, we’ve been providing unmatchable talent acquisition solutions to Swiss companies and the international market. Hiring in these uncertain times calls for recruitment expertise and this is where Swisslinx can help. Learn about our client services, or if you’re looking for a job take a look at our financial services roles.

 

Get in touch to discuss your needs.

Is Switzerland the smartest country in the world?

The digital age has transformed the meaning of ‘smart’. What was once a nod towards human intelligence is now a reference to a product, service – even a city - that is connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). Data and information are the building blocks of a smart city, where they are captured and transmitted using electrical signals to improve the functioning of the city. The only country to steal two spots in the 2020 Smart City Index is the home of luxury chocolates and high-precision watchmaking – Switzerland. Could this be a signal that Switzerland is the smartest country in the world?   Smart cities ‘Smart’ conjures up the image of multiple wireless connections beaming to form a complex network of signals. These signals are what make a city interconnected but what makes the city smart is when the data is used to make more informed decisions and improve the lives of the residents. In the Smart City Index, Zurich was awarded the bronze medal - only beaten by Singapore and Helsinki – and was recognised for its health facilities, governance and education. However, the citizens of Zurich addressed the need for e-voting and greater investment in mobile apps for car sharing. Meanwhile, Geneva took seventh place for their basic amenities, health, education and social mobility. Air pollution was identified as a problem in this Swiss city and this could be a call for increased investment in smart devices that conserve natural resources.   This continuous investment in new technologies is one of the reasons why Switzerland took first place in the 2020 Global Innovation Index once again, but how has the push towards developing smart applications and devices impacted the healthcare system?   Smart healthcare Despite there being no universal coverage in Switzerland, the nation is renowned for having a high-quality healthcare system. And as the digital revolution sweeps over the country, technologies such as wearables, implanted sensors and smart textiles are beginning to push the boundaries and alter the skillset required for healthcare jobs. In PwC’s Digital opportunity in the Swiss healthcare system report, smart devices are identified as an emerging technology, suggesting that the true potential of Switzerland’s smart healthcare is yet to be seen. These devices are being used to collect patient data and report it in real-time, resulting in both reduced costs and improved operational efficiency.   One of the first uses of smart technology within Switzerland’s healthcare system was Google Glass. Swiss developers created an app to allow paramedics and doctors to use the augmented reality (AR) glasses to improve the quality of treatment, particularly in time-sensitive cases. Several years on,  more applications of AR and VR tools within life sciences are beginning to emerge. The smart devices are now being used to help surgeons to prepare for surgery and assisting patients to perform their therapy exercises at home.   How can Switzerland get smarter? In 2009, the chief technology officer for the District of Columbia (D.C) – Vivek Kundra – announced a competition for software developers to create a mobile app that used the open data made public by the municipality. The purpose of the competition was to take the stores of data that the local government collects and put it to use in a way that benefitted the public. The resulting 47 applications – including a real-time parking app and an app to track a safe route home from any bar in the city – achieving in one month what would have taken years had the government chosen to outsource the work.   Despite the number of software developers living in Switzerland being yet to reach the numbers in the US, and estimates that the shortfall of ICT specialists will reach 40,000 by 2026, the job market is growing. The combination of Covid-19, increased government investment in technology and a booming fintech market have led to a heightened demand for tech and digital skills, with no signs of the trend slowing down. Now, many software developers are trading in their coveted roles in Silicon Valley to relocate to the culturally vibrant Zurich. And with the rise of disruptive technology in Switzerland, more smart apps like those developed in D.C. look to be on the horizon. Perhaps all it will take is a competition to draw out these innovative ideas.   Access our team of market specialists Whether Switzerland is the smartest country in the world remains up for debate, but one thing for sure is that the nation is making a name for itself in the smart technology market. It is trends and technology drivers like these that the team at Swisslinx are committed to keeping pace with, so we can provide you with timely career advice. Contact us to speak to a member of the team or begin the search for your next digital and technology job.

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How a Swiss law change is ushering blockchain and cryptocurrencies into a new era

Switzerland has long been known as an innovator, even earning the title of the most innovative country in the world. The nation has a proud history of adopting new technologies and registering patents, with an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking spirit that permeates businesses all over the country. This has just been taken one step further thanks to the parliamentary passing of new finance and corporate law amendments which officially recognise the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. What are blockchain and cryptocurrency? Blockchain has been a major buzzword in Switzerland – and around the world – in recent years, for many reasons. As a technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency, blockchain provides data security solutions, allowing users to make and confirm transactions without needing a central clearing authority. It has a range of applications within different industries, particularly within banking and finance where it has enormous potential for fund transfers and settling trades. A cryptocurrency, meanwhile, is a digital medium of monetary exchange, using encryption techniques to control the creation and transfer of funds. When most people think of cryptocurrency they’ll think of Bitcoin, which is the name of the market-leading cryptocurrency for which blockchain technology was invented. Cryptocurrency hasn’t always had the most positive public image and has in the past been associated with money laundering and crime, with different countries taking different approaches to the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Switzerland, however, has always been one of the world’s most crypto-friendly nations, with a strong cryptocurrency network in Zug and around 900 blockchain companies calling Switzerland home. What do the new Swiss laws mean? In early September, Swiss Senate parliamentarians passed a set of financial and corporate law reforms, which included the “Blockchain Act”. The Act was unopposed in the House of Representatives which suggests it will likely come into effect as law in early 2021. The ground-breaking law will bring blockchain and cryptocurrency into the mainstream, removing obstacles for applications and creating more legal security and abuse prevention. It will set standards for crypto exchanges, facilitating providers who only serve institutional and professional customers and creating a new framework to limit the risk of distributed ledger technology (DLT) abuse. All of this could potentially create a platform for a decentralised finance landscape, providing plenty of new job opportunities in both the technology and financial services sectors. Switzerland boasts a range of crypto banks, alpine cryptocurrency vaults, different blockchains, digital currency projects and digital stock exchanges, making it perfectly positioned to embrace new blockchain and cryptocurrency laws. If and when the laws are passed, there will be “an established legal basis for exchanging digital-only securities and for reclaiming digital assets from bankrupt companies”, according to Swissinfo, something which Swiss banks will be paying close attention to. After the somewhat chaotic 2017-2018 phase of blockchain start-up crowd funding, more regulations and security will be a welcome change, and banks would be smart to consider how they could incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency in a bid to remain competitive. We’ve already seen Credit Suisse and UBS begin to test the potential of DLT trading, while Julius Bär has established a partnership with crypto bank SEBA, and a handful of private banks are already offering cryptocurrency services to some clients. As the laws look set to usher in a new era for crypto and blockchain, we can expect to see similar moves being made throughout the banking world. Keep informed with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, our company’s roots lie within technology, which means we have a vested interested in keeping ahead of the latest market tends. We have a special interest in fintech and disruptive technologies and organisations, as well as the more established financial institutions in Switzerland and around the world. This makes us ideally positioned to support both candidates and clients in the markets of technology and financial services. Contact us to see how we can work together, or follow our blog to stay up to date with the latest industry news.

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