Home office is one of the megatrends that has unfolded during the pandemic. Could Liechtenstein take over a pioneering role, not only in terms of home office, but alternative work models in general? Why not; the country provides an excellent environment to experiment.
Home Office. Nothing has changed the work world more in the last years. The COVID-pandemic has made it impossible to access workplaces and moving staff to home office was the last resort for many businesses.
And while the pandemic has certainly speeded up this trend, it has not created it, at least not in Liechtenstein. Manuel Beck, who recently organized a workplace workshop with Liechtenstein University, believes many Liechtenstein-based businesses were ready for home office long before the COVID-pandemic.
“Many businesses in Liechtenstein were prepared for home office or other work models from a technological perspective already before the crisis,” he said in an interview with the local newspaper Liechtensteiner Vaterland. “But they were not willing to give it a chance.”
What will remain after COVID?
COVID has forced businesses to switch to home office, but has it changed their attitude towards the workplace? Not if you ask Karin Frick, trend researcher at Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut in Rüschlikon near Zurich. She believes most companies will go back to business as usual after the pandemic. Home office was just a “quick win” during the pandemic, to keep on working, she believes.
But it doesn’t have to be office vs. home office. Beck explains that home office is just one of many alternative work models. It is also the easiest and the fastest to implement. But flexible working hours and mobile working are just as important.
Likewise, coworking spaces could become a feasible alternative to the home office. Beck believes many businesses in Liechtenstein already have the technological infrastructure to implement these ideas but hesitate because corporate leadership and the employees are still stuck in their old ways. To move on, it needs brave leadership to capitalize on the many opportunities already out there.
Liechtenstein as a workplace pioneer?
Beck also points out Liechtenstein’s unique position to pioneer alternative work models. “Liechtenstein is small, and most employers are accessible for their staff,” he says. “I also believe we have good basic wages. And there are indeed some companies that – already before the corona pandemic – have allowed innovative work models such as home office or flexible or mobile working.”
But he also adds, “Unfortunately, that’s not the majority, and there are many businesses that still have to get ready for the future of work.” Beck recommends businesses to seek advice from experts, for example, at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut, or contact him and his team.
Another reason why Liechtenstein, in particular, could benefit from home office is that many employees working in Liechtenstein commute from neighboring Switzerland or Germany. Home office could thus save time and result in less traffic. Also, Liechtenstein has the fastest internet speed globally, meaning the technological infrastructure would not be a roadblock for most companies.
Beck believes, Liechtenstein could be a global pioneer for alternative work models if businesses will be brave enough to give them a chance. “The implementation would be easy in Liechtenstein,“ he says.